family travel with style and a purpose

Show & Tell with Dents de loup on Pondicherry, South India

Aug 5, 2011

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!

dents de loup 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.

rickshaw in Pondicherry india

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.

Balloons in Pondicherry India

PLAY

My children love to visit the temple Sri Vinayagar Manakula, where the elephant Lakshmi receives and blesses everyone.

Lakshmi in Pondicherry Indian temple, Pondicherry India

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.

Athiti Hotel, Pondicherry

EAT

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.

In Satsanga, children are welcome and play in the garden while waiting for their plate of French fries. We also like the colonial setting of  the “Carte Blanche”, in the “Hôtel de l’Orient”.

bord mer pondicherry

The restaurant Gourmet, in the “Hôtel Dupleix” and The MaisonPerumal’s restaurant make an excellent choice for a romantic dinner or for a small group of adults.

SLEEP

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.

boy in Pondicherry India

SHOP

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).

A colorful mix of Indian and European styles in Nirvanaboutique.

TIPS

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.

Mutton masala, Pondicherry india    dents de loup, toy, Pondicherry india    knitted toy, dents de loup, Pondicherry India

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

For the moment the whole dents de loup collection” is online on Etsy. It is also part of the Babyccino Kids site toys selection. 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Anika

    Hi! Great blog post!
    I just visited Pondicherry in March with friends and I loved it too! I’m a childrenswear designer from Mumbai, and loved the kids’ wear in Auroville. We stayed at the De L’Orient (superb rooms and service), and Carte Blanche was our best culinary experience by far. Loved Paradise Beach, Mahabalipuram and the artist villages nearby. La Maison Rose’s La Caravelle (awesome iced teas!) was the perfect way to relax! Did you see the ship chandelier made from plastic bottles at the store? Le Dupleix’s restaurant was really good too. Drinks there were fantastic. We ventured out to the textile mills that turned out to be a let down. Sadly, we didn’t get to visit the Matrimandir. Your blog post makes me miss Pondicherry terribly!

    Reply
  2. Chantale

    Loved this blog post too! Very break out of the mold places to visit with kids. Paula and her kids are so lovely! I loved seeing her slice of heaven here.. Pondicherry is beautiful..

    Reply

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