Photos of the Cirque de Cilaos, Réunion

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The Cirque de Cilaos

The caldera (“Cirque”) of Cilaos is one of the three calderas formed from the collapse of the large shield volcano, the 3,070-metre-high Piton des Neiges. It has a town, also called Cilaos, at an altitude of around 1,200 metres. Its name probably comes from the Malagasy word Tsilaosa (now spelled “tsy ilaozana”), which means “the place one does not abandon” and, according to some, was given by a runaway slave from Madagascar who had sought refuge here.

View of Bras de Cilaos
View of Bras de Cilaos
Along road to Cilaos
View near Peter Both
Gorge near Peter Both
Hairpin bend
Houses below the road
House in Peter Both
View to Le Palmiste Rouge
Valley, Le Palmiste Rouge
Doing laundry, Le Palmiste Rouge
Îlet,  Le Palmiste Rouge
View, Cirque de Cilaos
Gorge, Cirque de Cilaos
View at Bras Sec
Petit Blanc house, Cilaos
View to Îlet des Etangs
Petit Blanc house, Cilaos.
Cilaos from Belvedere
Town centre, Cilaos
View of Cilaos
Church of Cilaos
View into Cirque de Cilaos
Man and children, Cilaos

A settlement was started here only around 1850, and in 1900, there were about 2500 inhabitants. There are hot springs here, and a Catholic mission was established; the nuns taught the locals embroidery, which has been done here for over 100 years. The pretty church, Église Notre-Dame-des-Neiges de Cilaos, was built in 1932.

A tortuous but good bitumen road leads up from the coast, with spectacular views; farmhouses of “Petits Blanc” families are seen on the way. The village of Le Palmiste Rouge is below Cilaos, and a fantastic view of the town can be seen from Belvédère.