Saint-Denis, Réunion

Saint-Denis (/ˌsæ̃dəˈn/, French pronunciation: [sɛ̃ dəni], unofficially Saint-Denis de La Réunion for disambiguation; Reunionese Creole: Sin-Dni) is the préfecture (administrative capital) of the French overseas department and region of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. It is located at the island's northernmost point, close to the mouth of the Rivière Saint-Denis.

Saint Denis
Prefecture and commune
Panoramic view of the city from the heights of Bellepierre
Coat of arms
Location of Saint Denis
Coordinates: 20°52′44″S 55°26′53″E
CountryFrance
Overseas region and departmentRéunion
ArrondissementSaint-Denis
Canton4 cantons
IntercommunalityNord de la Réunion
Government
  Mayor (20202026) Ericka Bareigts[1] (PS)
Area
1
142.79 km2 (55.13 sq mi)
  Metro
 (2020)
547.8 km2 (211.5 sq mi)
Population
 (Jan. 2018)[2]
150,535
  Density1,100/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
  Metro
 (Jan. 2018[3][4])
309,635
  Metro density570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+04:00
INSEE/Postal code
97411 /97400
Elevation0–2,276 m (0–7,467 ft)
(avg. 23 m or 75 ft)
WebsiteVille-saintdenis-reunion.fr
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
Bilingual sign in French and Réunion Creole

Saint Denis is the most populous commune in the French overseas departments and the twentieth most populous in all of France. At the 2018 census, there were 309,635 inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Saint Denis (as defined by INSEE),[4] 150,535 of whom lived in the city (commune) of Saint-Denis proper and the remainder in the neighbouring communes of La Possession, Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Suzanne, Saint-André, and Bras-Panon.[3]

History

Saint-Denis's former city hall and the Column of Victory.
Former defense at beach in front of Saint-Denis

Saint-Denis was founded by Étienne Regnault in 1669 and became the capital of Réunion in 1738.

Geography

Saint Denis from the SPOT satellite

The city is located on the north end of the island, and was a port. Saint Denis was "originally the main port of Réunion, but an artificial harbour at Le Port, on the northwest coast, replaced it in the 1880s, because of unpredictable winds and tides at Saint-Denis." The city includes some of the island's mountains, with a peak elevation of 2,276 meters (7,467 ft) within the metro area, which begins at sea level at the coast line.[5]

The city has many neighbourhoods: Le Barachois, Bellepierre, Bois-de-Nèfles, La Bretagne (Le Cerf), Le Brûlé, Les Camélias, Centre-ville, Champ-Fleuri, La Montagne(Le Colorado, Ruisseau Blanc, Saint-Bernard), Montgaillard, La Providence, La Rivière Saint-Denis (La Redoute), Ruisseau des Noirs, Saint-François, Saint-Jacques, Sainte-Clotilde (Le Butor, le Chaudron, Commune Prima, Domenjod, Le Moufia), La Source, La Trinité, Vauban

Climate

Saint-Denis features a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen Am) with two distinct seasons: a hot and humid wet season from December to April and a very warm, less humid drier season for the remaining seven months of the year, with July to October qualifying as true dry season months. The dry season does typically feature relatively light rain, but it is not wet enough to be a tropical rainforest climate. During the wet season, tropical cyclones often affect the city.

Climate data for Saint-Denis, Réunion (Gillot Airport) (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1953−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.2
(95.4)
34.0
(93.2)
33.1
(91.6)
32.7
(90.9)
30.6
(87.1)
29.9
(85.8)
29.0
(84.2)
28.2
(82.8)
29.2
(84.6)
30.5
(86.9)
31.8
(89.2)
34.5
(94.1)
35.2
(95.4)
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
(86.0)
30.0
(86.0)
29.8
(85.6)
29.1
(84.4)
27.5
(81.5)
26.1
(79.0)
25.2
(77.4)
25.3
(77.5)
25.9
(78.6)
26.9
(80.4)
28.1
(82.6)
29.1
(84.4)
27.7
(81.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.6
(79.9)
26.7
(80.1)
26.4
(79.5)
25.5
(77.9)
23.9
(75.0)
22.4
(72.3)
21.6
(70.9)
21.6
(70.9)
22.1
(71.8)
23.2
(73.8)
24.4
(75.9)
25.7
(78.3)
24.2
(75.6)
Average low °C (°F) 23.2
(73.8)
23.5
(74.3)
23.0
(73.4)
22.0
(71.6)
20.3
(68.5)
18.7
(65.7)
17.9
(64.2)
17.8
(64.0)
18.3
(64.9)
19.5
(67.1)
20.7
(69.3)
22.3
(72.1)
20.6
(69.1)
Record low °C (°F) 18.2
(64.8)
18.6
(65.5)
18.4
(65.1)
15.6
(60.1)
15.3
(59.5)
13.6
(56.5)
12.9
(55.2)
12.8
(55.0)
13.0
(55.4)
13.4
(56.1)
15.0
(59.0)
17.8
(64.0)
12.8
(55.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 278.6
(10.97)
351.0
(13.82)
232.5
(9.15)
154.3
(6.07)
97.6
(3.84)
76.9
(3.03)
57.8
(2.28)
57.8
(2.28)
50.0
(1.97)
43.4
(1.71)
70.0
(2.76)
188.7
(7.43)
1,658.6
(65.30)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 13.3 14.3 13.0 11.3 9.6 7.2 8.8 9.6 8.1 7.1 5.9 11.1 119.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 216.6 194.7 215.3 220.0 212.6 215.8 221.7 210.9 208.1 210.3 211.2 219.7 2,556.9
Source: Meteo France[6]

Demography

Saint-Denis is the most populous commune in the French overseas departments. The population of St Denis has grown substantially since 1954, both in the commune and the metropolitan area. In the 64 years from 1954 to the census in 2018, population has more than tripled. The annual rate of population growth has been lower in the 21st century than in the 20th century.

Historical population Saint-Denis (commune)
YearPop.±% p.a.
1954 41,863    
1961 65,275+6.30%
1967 85,444+4.57%
1974 103,512+2.78%
1982 109,072+0.71%
1990 121,999+1.41%
1999 131,557+0.84%
2008 144,238+1.05%
2013 142,442−0.25%
2018 150,535+1.11%
Source: INSEE[7]
Historical population Saint-Denis (metropolitan area)
YearPop.±% p.a.
1954 86,267    
1961 117,345+4.32%
1967 146,215+3.72%
1974 173,346+2.46%
1982 187,541+1.07%
1990 215,970+1.78%
1999 251,044+1.69%
2008 290,622+1.67%
2013 297,467+0.47%
2018 309,635+0.81%
Source: INSEE[7][4]

The places of birth of the 304,223 residents in the Saint-Denis metropolitan area at the 2015 census were the following:[8]

  • 81.1% were born in Réunion
  • 11.1% in Metropolitan France
  • 1.1% in Mayotte
  • 0.3% in other parts of Overseas France
  • 6.4% in foreign countries (notably Madagascar, the Union of the Comoros, and Mauritius); half of them were immigrants and the other half were children of French citizens born abroad (children of Réunionese settlers in Madagascar for example)

Transport and accommodation

The closest airport is Roland Garros Airport, 7 km east of the city in Sainte-Marie, Réunion, which is also the main international airport of Réunion. Air Austral is the regional air carrier, with its Indian Ocean hub located at the airport. The airline has begun serving some cities in mainland France. Five or six other airlines serve the airport. There is a good road network in Saint-Denis.

The hotels in Saint-Denis include Mercure Creolia Hotel, Austral Hotel and Best Western.

Mayors

  • 2020present: Ericka Bareigts, PS[9]
  • 2008–2020: Gilbert Annette, PS
  • 2001–2008: René-Paul Victoria, UMP
  • 1994–2001: Michel Tamaya, PS
  • 1989–1994: Gilbert Annette, PS
  • 1969–1989: Auguste Legros, RPR

Culture

  • Léon Dierx Museum (art gallery and museum)
  • Jardin de l'État (public gardens – includes a natural history museum)
  • Le Barachois, seafront park
  • La Roche Écrite (15 km (9 mi) south of the city), summit overlooking Saint-Denis, with impressive views over the city
  • Brasseries de Bourbon

Places of worship

Cathedral of Saint Denis.

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Christian churches and temples : Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint-Denis de La Réunion (Catholic Church), Assemblies of God.[10] There are also Muslim mosques.

Education

The University of Reunion Island admits 15,000 students each year, with 6 campus sites in Saint-Denis.[11] Course work is aligned with European standards for university education. There is a school of engineering as well. The language is French, and there are connection with educational institutions in France on the continent of Europe.

The commune maintains various elementary schools for each sector.[12]

Economy

IBM has an office in Saint-Denis.[13] The island began organizing to be a digital hub for nearby African nations, relying on its two undersea cables for good internet connections.[14] The potential for services would alter the island's economy, now reliant on sugar, an agricultural product. The University in Saint-Denis has programs to educate the young population in digital skills.[14] New businesses are forming to serve the needs of airlines for software.[14]

International relations

Saint Denis, Réunion is twinned with:

Notable residents

Sentenced to exile in Réunion, the Moroccan Rais Abd el-Krim lived a few years in Saint-Denis from 1926.

Prince Bảo Vàng of Vietnam (also known as Yves Claude Vinh San) the son of Emperor Duy Tân, was born and currently resides in Saint Denis, Réunion with his family.

Other people connected with Saint Denis include:

Monument honoring Roland Garros at Le Barachois
  • Félix Guyon (1831–1920), urologist
  • Édouard Hervé (1835–1899), journalist and academician
  • Juliette Dodu (1848–1909), resistant to the war of 1870
  • Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939), art dealer and gallery
  • Raymond Vergès (1882–1957), mayor of the town, founder of Témoignages
  • Roland Garros (1888–1918), aviator
  • Émile Hugot (1904–1993), industrialist in sugarcane
  • Jean-Henri Azéma (1913–2000), poet
  • Raymond Barre 1924–2007, politician
  • Daniel Sangouma (1965), sprinter
  • Gérald De Palmas (1967), singer
  • Surya Bonaly (1973), International Olympic Skater
  • Willy Grondin (1974), football player
  • Daniel Narcisse (1979), International handball
  • Valérie Gauvin (1996), football player
  • Julienne Salvat (1932–2019), teacher, poet, femme de lettres, actress

See also

  • Communes of the Réunion department

References

  1. "Répertoire national des élus: les maires". data.gouv.fr, Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 2 December 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  2. "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  3. "Historique des populations légales" [History of the legal population]. INSEE. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. "Base des aires d'attraction des villes 2020". INSEE. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  5. Tikkanen, Amy (21 June 2019). "Saint-Denis". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  6. "Statistiques 1981−2010 et records GILLOT−AEROPORT (974)" (PDF) (in French). Meteo France. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  7. Populations communales de 1876 à 2018, INSEE
  8. "Recensement de la population de 2015 - Individus localisés au canton-ou-ville en 2015". INSEE. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  9. "Résultats du premier tour et second tour des élections à Saint-Denis". Le Monde. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  10. Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin, eds. (2010). "Réunion". Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. 5. ABC-Clio. pp. 2411–2412. ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  11. "University of Reunion Island". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  12. "L'école" (in French). Commune of Saint Denis. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  13. "IBM Réunion". IBM. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  14. Shapshak, Toby (1 December 2016). "How Reunion Is Reinventing Itself As A Digital Hub". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  15. "Villes jumelées avec la Ville de Nice" (in French). Ville de Nice. Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
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