Our reporters returned to the Indian city of Pondicherry, in the Gulf of Bengal, a former trading post of the French East India Company. Fifty-five years after it was handed back to India, French influence is waning in this former colonial enclave. But residents are keen to maintain the unique character of this little piece of France.
With its elegant buildings and rich gardens, the southern city of Pondicherry is known as the Indian Côte d'Azur, or the Riviera of the East, where French style and vision live on. The French link with the area began back in 1673 when the French East India Company set up a major trading post there. The city was later invaded alternately by the Dutch and the British, but always ended up back in French control. Amid the great wave of decolonisation, Pondicherry was finally handed back to India in 1962.
Today, the official name of the city is Puducherry. But the legacy of French colonisation lives on – in its architecture, its language and its cooking. Even now, some residents seek to renew closer ties with France, far more than just traditional tourism. Sreya Banerjee and Camille Le Pomellec report.