Ideally located along the island's west coast, the small town of Saint-Leu not only has plenty to appeal to holidaymakers in search of leisure and relaxation, but also attracts lovers of cultural heritage. As well as boasting a pleasant sandy beach with shade provided by Australian pines, a peaceful lagoon in which to enjoy a swim and a renowned surf spot, the charming seaside resort of Saint-Leu also has several of Réunion's major tourist attractions within its territory. Examples include the Stella Matutina museum and its exhibitions about the history of sugar cane cultivation and industry on the island; Kélonia, a sea turtle observatory and awareness-raising, research and treatment centre for these endangered species; the Salt Museum, located on the protected natural site of the famous Pointe au Sel; and Réunion botanical garden in the heights of Saint-Leu, a magnificent haven of peace with many native plants and rare varieties.
In the town centre, which stretches along the Indian Ocean, you can enjoy a nice walk around the harbour and the charming Place de la Mairie, where you can admire old buildings from the French East India Company.
Built in 1859 following a cholera epidemic that apparently stopped at the gates of de Saint-Leu, the Chapel of Our Lady of La Salette is perched at the top of a Way of the Cross and attracts many pilgrims who come to commemorate this miracle on 19 September each year.
And to unwind after the visits, head towards the lovely beach of Saint-Leu, where you can choose between bathing in the lagoon's calm waters, napping or enjoying a picnic under the screwpine trees, exploring the sea beds in flippers, mask and snorkel, or paragliding over the lagoon!
On the magnificent, wild rocky coast that runs from Saint-Leu to L'Étang-Salé-les-Bains, you can witness the astonishing spectacle of Le Souffleur (literally meaning "the Blower"), a natural phenomenon caused by the repeated onslaught of the sea swell, with an impressive jet of sea-spray that can reach heights of several metres!