Reunion Guides: 20 Facts about La Réunion

February 20th 2023 in Facts
Reunion Guides: 20 Facts about La Réunion

20 Facts about Reunion Island

Fact one:

Did you know that Réunion is an Indian Ocean island? The island in the Indian Ocean is also known as Réunion or Reunion. From 1810 to 1848, Reunion was known as Île Bourbon.

Fact two:

Did you know La Réunion is a French territory and one of the country's five overseas departments? It is thus one of two French territories in the Indian Ocean, the other being Mayotte.

Fact three:

Did you know that the largest of the Mascarene islands is Réunion? The Mascarenes include Réunion and the Mauritius islands. La Réunion is about 175 kilometres/109 miles southwest of Mauritius and roughly 800 kilometres/500 miles east of Madagascar.

Fact four:

Did you know that Reunion is approximately 9,180 kilometres/ 5,700 miles from Paris, France's capital? This is more than double the distance between New York and Los Angeles!

Fact five:

Did you know that Réunion has a population of approximately 860,000 people? This means that this island has nearly the same population as the adjacent islands of the independent country of Comoros. In addition, Mauritius has a far greater population than Reunion, despite being a smaller country.

Fact six:

Did you know that Saint-Denis, Réunion's largest city, with a population of approximately 205,000 people? This city is also the most populous of the French overseas departments.

Fact seven:

Did you know that the island of Reunion has its own airline, Air Austral? The Réunionais airline's headquarters are at Roland Garros airport near Saint-Denis.

Fact eight:

Did you know that Diogo Fernandes Pereira, a Portuguese explorer, was the first European to explore the Mascarene islands in 1507? This Reunion was once unpopulated. Since the 16th century, La Réunion has been inhabited and ruled by the French from neighbouring Mauritius. Reunion has been a recognised French possession since 1642, and it became an overseas department in 1946.

Fact nine:

Did you know that as Réunion belongs to France, the island is part of the EU and the Eurozone? It is the territory most distanced from the continental European Union countries.

Fact ten:

Did you know that the island's primary languages are French and Créole? English is also commonly spoken. The official language is French; however, most residents speak Créole at home. The Réunion Créole language is based on French and incorporates several terms from Hindi, Madagascar, Portuguese, Tamil, and Gujarati.

Fact eleven:

Did you know that Réunion is a volcanic island that sits atop a hotspot in the earth's crust? Because the island's centre is lightly populated, most people in Reunion reside in the cities and villages along the circular coastline route.

Fact twelve:

Did you know that two volcanoes are in the centre of the island? The dormant volcano Piton des Neiges, at 3,071 m/ 10,070 ft, is La Réunion's highest point. The name means "mountain of snows" in French.

Fact thirteen:

Did you know that Piton de la Fournaise is the other volcano at 2,631 meters/ 8,632 feet? This 'Mount of Furnace' volcano is one of the most active in the world, erupting regularly. This shield volcano's most recent eruption occurred in April 2020. Three cauldron hollows, known as calderas or cirques, can be explored on foot and from the air.

Fact fourteen:

Did you know that Mafate, Salazie, and Cilaos are the names of the three cirques or calderas of La Réunion? The Salazie cirque is the largest of the three. Cilaos is a town in Caldera with a population of over 5,000 people. La Cirque de Cilaos is notable for its hot springs and is located at an elevation of over 1,214 m/ 3,982 ft.

Fact fifteen:

Did you know that La Réunion boasts various waterfalls, including its own 'Niagara Falls'? The Niagara Falls on the northern side of Reunion Island are beautiful, although only 25 meters/82 feet high.

Fact sixteen:

Did you know that the panther chameleon is Reunion's largest land mammal? The name is derived from the chameleon's markings. The panther chameleon is not native to La Réunion but was introduced from Madagascar.

Fact seventeen:

Did you know that Réunion is famous for its beautiful beaches and sharks in the Indian Ocean? Swimming is permitted in the lagoon and on sheltered beaches, but swimming in open water is prohibited because deadly shark attacks occur annually. Make sure your beach has a safety net, like the one in Saint Gilles shown below.

Fact eighteen:

Did you know that La Réunion has a tropical climate with milder temperatures at higher elevations? The chilly and dry season lasts from May to November when the southern hemisphere is in winter. Summer rainfall can be intense, and the island is occasionally affected by storms in February and March. The east coast of the island is generally wetter than the west.

Fact nineteen:

Did you know that because of the introduction of foreign plant species and cultivation, less than 40% of Reunion Island has native vegetation?

Fact twenty:

Did you know that samosas, spicy triangular fried packets with various savoury and spicy ingredients, are a popular Reunion meal? Spices like chilli peppers and vanilla are frequently utilised in cuisines. Typical Réunionais cuisine includes fresh fruits like pineapples, papayas, and guavas, vegetables like chouchou or potatoes, and fish or poultry.