The southeast saw the arrival of the Dutch (the first inhabitants of the island) in 1598, and later the French in 1715. The town of Mahébourg, just 10 minutes from Pointe d’Esny, was founded in 1805 and named after the French governor, Mahé de Labourdonnais. In 1810, it was witness to the only French naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars at the Battle of Grand Port.
The picturesque town and its surroundings has kept many remnants of its rich history: Cavendish Bridge, the Naval Museum, Rault biscuit factory, the cemetery dating back to the time of French colonisation, as well as the monument commemorating when the Dutch first landed on the island.
Today, if you want to experience a little of how Mauritius once was, a gentle stroll along the Mahébourg waterfront and taking in the scenery, which seems almost frozen in time, is as authentic as it gets.