Réunion (France)

18 December 2014

Sunrise at Réunion
Bizarre as it may seem, this little island out in the Indian Ocean is 100% France ― not just an overseas territory but an integral, official part of France. Thus, Réunion is also the most distant part of the European Union.

Any direct flight from the EU requires no passport… because you are still legally if not geographically in “Europe.”

The US has distant Alaska and Hawaii but France has two departments ("provinces" in the old days) much farther away here in Indian Ocean (Réunion and Mayotte), plus two in the Caribbean (Martinique and Guadeloupe) and one in South America (French Guyana)!

At about 40 by 30 miles, Réunion is a bit larger but less populated (800,000) than nearby, independent Mauritius.

We only spent one day at Réunion but that allowed plenty of time to see large parts of this small island. Alas, Réunion has lots of bumper-to-bumper traffic on its one main highway around the island.

The highest volcanic peak reaches over 10,000 feet above sea level (3,000 meters). Sadly, the “active” volcano Piton de la Fournaise was slumbering and did not bother to even fume for us. The last dramatic eruption was in 2007.

In the giant crater of Piton de la Fournaise was a mini-crater left by the last eruption.
Note the tiny figures (people) down on the brown rim of the min-crater.
The deep volcanic ravine was the middle of the south part of Réunion