Mauritius has a long history of colonisation, and while most of the island has commercially developed today, there are certain distinct traces of its colonial past still littered across the entirety of the country. Despite being more famous for its beaches and its lagoons and its plethora of watersports activities including scuba diving and even swimming with the dolphins, Mauritius has plenty of old-world tourist attractions as well.
Most of these include colonial-era mansions and buildings that used to the residences of essential officials living during the Dutch, French and British eras. Pamplemousses, a town on the northern side of the island, in particular, retains every bit of its colonial legacy and heritage, and there is a distinct old-world aura in every nook and cranny of the town. Being as richly entrenched in colonial history as Pamplemousses was, you would expect to see quite a few ancient buildings around town that had much to do during the imperial reign. The Château de Labourdonnais is one such building that still stands as one of the most exemplary examples of ancient colonial architecture.
Take a Trip Back in Time to Ancient Mauritius
Built back in the 1800s, the Château de Labourdonnais is a grand Creole mansion which was once owned by Christian Wiehe and his family, but has long since been renovated and is now in use as a heritage tourist spot. Built entirely out of teak and sporting a dual-collonaded gallery, the Château de Labourdonnais gives off a distinct neoclassical vibe, and the exterior, as well as the interiors of the mansion, give off a distinctly Victorian feel. Despite the renovation and the refurbished interiors, the building still retains every bit of its antique feel. Guided tours of the building start with visits to the different rooms of the house (all the vintage furniture has still been preserved) and move on to the old orchards and lush green gardens where you can take a walk amongst the well-maintained exotic trees and shrubs.
The gardens are home to quite a few giant tortoises, and if you’re lucky, you may not only be able to spot one but to pet it as well! The tour ends with a visit to the adjacent distillery, where you can learn about the history and various techniques of production of agricultural rum. You can choose to sample the rum from the tasting bar, or if you don’t want to drink, then you can also choose to taste the locally-produced juices, jams, jellies, and sorbets. The Château de Labourdonnais is home to a boutique and souvenir shop as well, from where you can buy locally crafted handicrafts and products to take back home for your family and friends.