When should I come? What should I pack? Here are a few recommendations to help you prepare for your trip to Reunion Island.
Celebrations / festivities / events
January / February: Fire-walking
February: Chinese New Year
April: Tamil New Year
May: Leu Tempo festival, Adventure Film Festival, Tamil fire-walking, Kabar de Marla à Mafate, Piton des Neiges Mountain Trail
June: Sakifo Festival, World Music Day, Grand Boucan
July / August: 14th July Bastille Day, Guan Di Festival
October: Grand Raid Mountain Trail, World Paragliding Championships
November: Dipavali Festival
20th December: Celebration of the abolition of slavery
As far as the weather is concerned…
The best period is from April to October, but you’ll have a pleasant stay all year round. There is a risk of cyclones between December and March.
As far as the peak tourism season is concerned…
The peak tourist season runs from October to April and, combined with the school holidays in Reunion (from 20th December to the end of January and in July and August), you will find there is greater demand for hotels, accommodation, flights and car rental.
Reunion may boast a tropical climate, but it’s worth packing warm clothes and a waterproof jacket if you plan on going hiking or staying up in the mountains.
So, it’s a good idea to bring a pullover, windcheater and hiking shoes as well as your swimming costume, sunhat and shorts.
Several flight companies fly direct from Mainland France to the two airports in Reunion.
Three flights per week between Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Saint-Denis-Roland-Garros, with short stopovers in Lyon and Marseille. There is also a direct flight between Lyon and Saint-Denis.
Direct flights between Orly-Ouest and Saint-Denis. Up to 10 weekly flights during peak season.
One to two daily flights between Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Saint-Denis. In winter, there are flights from Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Nantes. Connecting flights to the airport in the south of the island are possible, as are direct flights to other islands around the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros…)
One daily flight between Paris-Orly and Saint-Denis.
The Reunionese love their cars, and it remains the easiest way to visit the island during your stay. All the major car hire companies operate in Reunion, notably with offices at the airport in Saint-Denis.
Reunion is part of France and therefore the European Union. The currency is the Euro.
French is the official language, but Creole remains the mother tongue for all of the Reunionese.
Reunion is located four hours ahead of London, in the time zone of GMT+4. We are therefore 2 hours ahead of Paris in summer, and 3 hours ahead in winter. So, when it’s 10am in Paris, it’s midday in Paris in summer and 1pm in winter.
As Reunion is an Overseas Department, any French citizen may arrive and leave Reunion freely, staying for an indeterminate time on the condition he or she has a valid identity card. Members of the European Union must present their passport upon arrival, and may stay for up to 3 months, just like in Mainland France.
Telephone country code: 262 is the international dialling code for Reunion.
To visit the island, renting a car is recommended, and access to some villages and hiking footpaths is often only possible by car.
There are yellow buses operating around the island’s main coastal road, and smaller bus companies providing services up into the mountains.
For more info: www.cg974.fr see page entitled ‘transports et routes’.
Shops open early and close relatively early as well, making it possible to shop from 6am in some places up to 5 or 6 pm for others, including on Saturdays. Most places close between midday and 2pm. Shops are rarely open on Sundays.
Public offices and companies are generally open from 8am to midday and 2pm to 5pm, sometimes closing at 3 or 4pm on Fridays.