To complete BozAround Indian family destination Serie, I’ve asked Pau from the super sweet Dents de Loup knitted toys label to share her Best Of Pondicherry. The city is on the East coast of Southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. To me, Pondicherry has always been one of those very evocative destination, as if by pronouncing its name, I am already travelling a bit (a few others on that list are Katmandu, Zanzibar, St Petersburg, Mombasa, Papeete and Tasmania!). I am grateful that Pau has taken the time to talk about Pondicherry as I liken it to Kerala, a destination not obviously easy with children, but actually so much fun and welcoming to the family. So, after Kerala, Rajasthan, Delhi and Goa with the children, here comes Pondicherry on BozAround. Follow Pau’s mutton masala…!
Meet the Dents de Loup family:
We are five: myself Pau aka Paula, the Argentinian mom moved to France 14 years ago where I met my French husband. Emile was born in Paris and is 8 years old now. In 2006, we moved to South America. And it is in Quito, Ecuador, that Gaspar (3 ½ years old) and Victoria (2 years old) were born. We are now in Pondicherry, South of India, where we have been living for almost 2 years.
The philosophy and inspiration behind Dents de Loup:
The first characters were ” commissioned ” by my son Emile who needed a friend for his teddy bear, and a snake to play the explorer in his fantasy jungle. Soon others followed as their friends and I got caught in the game. In Ecuador, I began a collection of 100% woollen sheep. I found it funny to knit sheep, it was like looping the loop – The sheep gave me the wool, to knit the sheep!
When I came to India, my sheep took after the local colours and turned into “mutton masala”. Red, green, turquoise, yellow, orange, purple…and the list goes on… Then I wanted to work with cotton thread and started a collection of characters with clothes, and I couldn’t stop since. My children’s games always give me new ideas – be it a tea party set, a giant doll to stroll and small soft toys that adapt to every adventure.
Inspiration for a family vacation in Pondicherry
Comfortably based in Pondicherry, it is possible to take small day trips in and around Pondicherry. For example, one can visit the Gingee Fort, or the 7th and 8th century temples carved into the rocks at Mahabalipuram which are both just a few hours by car from Pondicherry; a short drive into Auroville also makes for a pleasant day.
My children love to visit the temple Sri Vinayagar Manakula, where the elephant Lakshmi receives and blesses everyone.
They also love their swimming-pool time! In the vicinity of Pondicherry there are many hotels with nice pools. Our latest discovery, “Le Pondy” has opened very recently.
For lunch or dinner with the kids, we choose places where children can play, in a big yard, for example. The restaurant La Caravelle, in the courtyard of the “Maison Rose” (8, Romain Rolland street) is very pleasant. There you can eat well under the shade of a mango tree, or in the evening have a quiet candle-lit dinner.
Children are welcome everywhere in India. But when you travel with them one often requires a bit more space, a big room, a swimming pool, or a big yard to play in. I think it is practical therefore to stay in Pondicherry, as these facilities are easily available here. The Atithi Hotel has rooftop pool offering a beautiful view. The Hotel Promenade also has a small pool and a very good restaurant.
In The Maison Rose (8, Romain Rolland street): Domus, a boutique where you can find small furniture, lamps, decorative items and small antique toys. A treasure box.
Oh, Là, Là! a fine colorful clothes for kids and moms.
Living Art, an excellent address for home accessories.
Via Pondichery is a small shop full of pretty things (22, rue Romain Rolland);
Near Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple you can find beautiful handmade paper, notebooks, paper lamps, frames, etc.
Fabindia for Indian cotton and silk tunics and outfits, and also for linen and home decoration (59 rue de Suffren).
October to February/ March is the best period to explore the city. Avoid May, June and July: It is extremely hot. I would advise to check the actupondy website for more detailed information and tips on Pondicherry.
The entire “dents de loup” line is exclusively hand made and as Pau does it alone and it takes time. You can check her work at www.dentsdeloup.com