The Royal Botanical Gardens of Pamplemousses is the highlight
of any visit to the north. These world famous gardens were
renamed Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens in 1988
in honour of the late Prime Minister by many locals still
refer to them by the former name.
Pamplemousses is believed to have taken its name from a
citrus plant commonly called the pamplemoucier which was
imported by the Dutch from Java. The fruit which grows in
the area is thick skinned and bitter and resembles a large
grapefruit. The Tamils call it the bambolmas and it is believed
that this is the origin of the French word pamplemousse
or grapefruit. Parking is available close to the main entrance
gate, admission is free
The white wrought iron railings and gates won first prize
in the International Exhibition in 1862 at Crystal Palace
in London. The garden's origins go back to 1735 when Labourdonnais
bought a house in the grounds which he called Mon Plaisir.
What began as a humble self sufficient vegetable garden
developed into a major fresh food source for ships calling
at Port Louis.
|Talipot Palm Alley
In 1768, Mon Plaisir became the residence of the French
intendent and horticulturist, Pierre Poivre who laid the
seeds for its present success as a garden of international
acclaim. He introduced plants from all over the world and
raised indigenous species, the fruits of which can be admired
today. They include 80 palms and about 25 species indigenous
to the Mascarene Islands, amongst them stately palms, fruit
and spice trees, ebony, mahogony, latania and pandanus and
occupy some 60 acres of beautiful landscape.
Allow at least 2 hours to visit the gardens. Amongst the
most impressive sights is the peaceful pond concealed by
the enormous floating leaves of the Giant Amazon water lily.
The flowers open white but fade into a dusky pink by the
end of the second day. The collection of palms is extensive,
amongst them being Royal Palm, Queen Palm from Brazil, Raffia
Palms from Madagascar, Lady Palm from China and the Talipot
Palm which dies after flowering with a giant flower when
it is between 40 and 60 years old.