The French colonial perfume of old times still looms over the port of Pondicherry. A few French street names remain in this cosmopolitan city inhabited by Creoles, Franco-Pondicherrians, Tamils and a few French of distant descent in the "white town". The former trade post of easter India is surrounded by a round boulevard and lined with streets in a grid pattern. A north-south canal separates the town into two. Discover the pomp of the historical residences with the multifarious architectural styles, shaded gardens surrounded by colonnades. Take a seaside stroll along Goubert avenue. Observe the statues of Gandhi and Joan of Arc, before going for a stroll in the bustling public garden in the town centre close to the Romain-Rolland library. Cross the Indian town to the muslim neighbourhood built around its mosque. In the south, take in the smell of the Botanic Garden's exotic plants and moving northwards, look for cheap goods at the Grand Bazaar and visit the businesses on Nehru Street. Along the way, visit the Notre-Dame-de-l'Immaculée-Conception, built under Louis XVI. Pondicherry, is equally the Sri Aurobindo ashram and , 3 miles away, Auroville designed by a French architect. The city of Aurore (with some 1,000 inhabitants), is the utopian dream of an international community experiment aimed at giving new meaning to life. For more information on Pondicherry, contact Boutique Auroville.