Chateau de Labourdonnais

 Updated May 2015

 

On the road to the north, you can stop at Mapou to visit The château de Labourdonnais.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
The magnificent Château de Labourdonnais
(photo courtesy of the Château de Labourdonnais)

 

The château de Labourdonnais is a stunning colonial house that has been restored to show the lifestyle of the families who lived there in the nineteenth century.

Once past the gate from the parking lot, start by reaching the house from the sumptuous avenue in front of the house.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
The majestic road, surrounded by trees, leading to the Chateau.
(Photo courtesy of the Chateau de Labourdonnais)

 

The garden is magnificent and huge! I could just picture children running and playing around on the grass. So if you have little ones with you, let them have a go at it!

 

Gardens of the Chateau de Labourdonnais
The garden extends its reach beyond sight.

 

 

While you wander around the garden, you will be able to admire a lot of different trees, some of them very old.

 

Trees found at the Chateau de Labourdonnais

 

At the front of the house, there is a round fountain and two lions statues guard the stairs. Two wide doors will let you inside.

 

The fountain
The fountain at the front of the house.

 

Photographs not being allowed inside, we don’t have any of those, apart from the ones kindly given to us by the Château.

Throughout the visit, you will see the furniture, wallpaper, dinnerware and various objects used by the house’s inhabitants.

Here is a photo of the surrounding verandah with a beautiful winding staircase.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
The outside verandah
(photo courtesy of the Château de Labourdonnais)

 

The master bedroom decorated in a Victorian style, which is surprising on an island situated more than 12,000 km from Europe. All the furniture was ordered by Mr Christian Wiehe, but you can sense the feminine touch of his discrete wife, Emile Bourgault du Coudray.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
The master bedroom of the house.
(photo courtesy of the Château de Labourdonnais)

 

A little touch of technology has been added to the visit and makes it somewhat more lively. You will hear children’s conversation in the living room. Upstairs a screening room will let you see how the Château has been restored and you can also view photos on screens while you listen to mini-documentaries using headphones (not all of them were in working condition at the time of our visit though).

After the house visit, you can wander a little bit in the orchard and nursery on the right of the house where you can find a great variety of trees and plants, each labelled. You can also see giant tortoises.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
The tree and plant nursery next to the Château.
(photo courtesy of the Château de Labourdonnais)

 

There is also a restaurant adjacent to the Château and orchard. We haven’t eaten there at the time of our visit, but I’ve had feedback from one of my readers that it was quite nice.

 

The Chateau de Labourdonnais restaurant
The entrance to the Château’s restaurant.

 

 

Next to the restaurant, you can find a tasting bar. Keep your entry tickets to the Château as they entitle you to a tasting of one of the different types of rum produced by the domain’s distillery. (Update: you may also apparently taste the fruit jellies and juices now too.)

 

Tasting bar at the Chateau de Labourdonnais

 

I would encourage you to go for the tasting as the rum is of very high quality, almost liquorish and very delicate on the palate. Unfortunately they are not for sale at the bar, or we would definitely have bought a bottle or two!

Behind the restaurant is the distillery. We had a nice guide who explained the process and techniques of distillation to us. You can also have a stop at their boutique.

You can also rent the premises – garden and restaurant – the time of an evening for a private function (birthdays, corporate dinners, weddings or other function). Although I’ve never been to such a function, the decor looks enchanting.

 

Chateau de Labourdonnais
Hosting a function in the garden of the Chateau.
(photo courtesy of the Chateau de Labourdonnais)

 

During our visit, my son (then three and a half years old) was with us. I wouldn’t actually advice on bringing young children along for the visit. They don’t have as much interest in the history of the place and they easily get impatient. There is quite a bit to read if you want to immerse yourself in the history and it’s not easily done if you are constantly distracted by a demanding toddler.

A strategy if you have young children might be to come in a group and split, taking turns to watch the children play in the garden and visit the Château.

 

Practical information (updated May 2015):

Address: Labourdonnais, Mapou

Tel: 266 9533

Fax: 266 6415

Opening hours: Everyday from 9am to 5pm

Website: http://chateaulabourdonnais.com/en/

Prices:
Adults: Rs 375
Senior citizen: Rs 300
Children: from 4 to 12: Rs 200 and under 4: free

Special prices for groups, schools, residents, etc.

Private functions: Contact the Leisure and Events department on the above phone number or by email at leisure.events@dll.mu

 

Back to museums