The Domaine de Bel Ombre is a premier tourist destination in an idyllic setting between luxuriant hills and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The Domaine was formerly a sugar plantation and has a rich history spanning back two and a half centuries.
The Domaine was mentioned as early as 1773 by the French writer Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, author of the famous novel "Paul et Virginie". It was visited by many prominent personalities during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the best known of which were the French botanist Jean-Nicolas Céré and the British navigator Matthew Flinders, who visited the Domaine in 1803 after his exploration of Australia.
The famous Irish naturalist and botanist, Charles Edward Telfair was the person who had the most significant impact on the history of the Domaine. He acquired what he called “the little Eden of Bel Ombre” in 1816 and developed its agricultural activities by planting vast orchards and vegetable gardens.
After his death in 1833, the Domaine had various successive owners until its purchase in 1910 by a group of entrepreneurs who founded the Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre in the same year. The old sugar mill can still be seen on the domain at the Place du Moulin.
The Domaine expanded with the acquisition of neighbouring properties in the 50 years that followed and today spans some 2,500 hectares. When sugar production ceased in 1999 the domain was gradually transformed into a premier integrated tourist destination.