Some of the half-million people who live on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean enjoy a life-style as sophisticated as???
GV PAN Coastline of the island of Reunion.
GV Recently-active volcano in centre of island
GV PAN Capital of St. De???ds.
CU People walking in street.
SV & CU People sitting at cafes. (2 SHOTS)
LV Shops displaying perfumes. (4 SHOTS)
CU & GV Cannons outside former Governor's house. (3 SHOTS)
GV House where French Prime Minister Raymond Barre was born.
GV & SV PAN Fields and geranium oil-still. (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU Sunbathers on beach. (3 SHOTS)
LV & CU Omega navigation tower. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN & CU Military barracks with soldiers and truck passing. (3 SHOTS)
GV & SV Ships in harbour. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: Some of the half-million people who live on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean enjoy a life-style as sophisticated as??? in the southern hemisphe
re. They can shop for chic couture-house fashion from Paris, dine on the finest French food, and tune in to television and radio programmes beamed live by satellite from the homeland. In fact, the island has been dubbed a suburb of Paris, though it's ten thousand kilometres (6,250 miles) from the French capital. All these attractions, plus dramatic scenery, explain why Reunion is attracting more and more tourists.
SYNOPSIS: The volcanic island, a French overseas department, lies about six hundred and forty kilometres (400 miles) east of the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar) and one hundred and eighty kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Mauritius. It has many extinct volcanoes, and an active one which erupts about every eighteen months. The capital, Saint-Denis, spreads through a basin at the mouth of the Saint-Denis River on the north coast tucked between the ocean and a mountain.
The city's population of about one hundred thousand is swelled by growing numbers of tourists, many of whom fly here from France on Special flights offering air fares as low as one third of regular commercial rates. others come from the African mainland and surrounding islands, such as Mauritius and Madagascar.
The Gallic touch is everywhere on an island which has French as its official language, and which sends three deputies and tow senators to the French legislature.
Reunion was settled in the 1660s when the French established a layover station for ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope to India.
A showpiece is the house where French Prime Minister Raymond Barre was born.
The island is the world's largest producer of geranium oil, supplying eighty percent of the essence used by perfume makers around the globe. From crops that cover entire hillsides, each geranium farmer distils his plants in a home-made still, using a process handed down through the centuries.
Although most of Reunion's coastline is volcanic rock, it has two white sand beaches which lure local residents the year round. The beaches are like the French Riviera, without the population and crush of sun worshippers, although the island does have about five hundred people per square mile (200 per square kilometre) in its habitable areas.
But, for France, Reunion has a more basic importance. This Omega navigational tower -- one of only two in the southern hemisphere -- has a military role in the Indian Ocean zone. the French have had some form of military presence here since the early nineteenth century, and today the island's strategic positions more important than ever. There are more than three thousand French defence personnel attached to Air Force and Army bases -- one third of them local citizens. The remainder are sent from France for two-year detachment.
The increased military presence reflects the greater sensitivity and significance of the Indian Ocean area for France and other western nations.
Fishing and naval fleets friendly to France have permission to use Reunion during their patrols of the Indian Ocean. Most vessels touch here only briefly, using the facilities for replenishing supplies and fuel.