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Saint-Denis is the capital of the French overseas region of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The city and the whole island have a very mixed population. People have their roots in different countries: Mozambique, India, China, France, Madagascar and the Comoros. The big tourist attractions of Réunion are the Piton de la Fournaise volcano and the beach of Boucan-Canot.
The city has almost 150,000 inhabitants which makes it the largest French overseas city.
Saint-Denis is located in the far north of Réunion, near the estuary of a river of the same name. Réunion lies in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and two hundred kilometers southwest of Mauritius.
Sugar traditionally plays an important role in Réunion's economy. It's the main export product. There are also coffee plantations and ethereal oils are extracted for perfume production. Tourism is of increasing importance for the island.
Saint-Denis' airport is called Réunion Island Airport Roland Garros in full and is situated east of the city center. The airport is easily reachable by rental car. The boulevard along the sea (N2) leads directly to the airport. The route is also clearly signposted.
Apart from city busses regional bus lines run to most destinations on the island. Busses only run between six o'clock in the morning until six o'clock at night.
In addition, a 140 kilometers long tram line along a large part of Réunion's coast is being constructed. If all goes according to plans the first phase of this tram line will be opened in 2013.
Saint-Denis is a busy city and you are best to avoid driving during the morning and evening rush hours. In the city center you have to pay for street parking. You can also park your rental car on one of the guarded parking lots, for example along the Rue du Maréchal Leclerc, which runs parallel to the boulevard along the water. The main road of the island runs along the coast. The part west of Saint-Denis, to La Posesson, is a freeway, the other part is highway. The inland roads are often narrow and extremely winding. Drive carefully here.
Saint-Denis has a good supply of accommodation, but most tourist hotels are found elsewhere on the island, along the popular beaches. You can also rent a chalet in the hilly inland. In this case you need a rental car. We recommend booking your accommodation on Réunion well in advance.
For more information about Saint-Denis we recommend Google and the following sources: