Saint-Denis, Réunion


Saint Denis 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.

Overseas region and departmentRéunion
 Mayor (2020–2026)Ericka Bareigts
Area142.79 km2 (55.13 sq mi)
 Metro (2010)295.8 km2 (114.2 sq mi)
Population (2017-01-01)147,931
 Density1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+04:00

Saint Denis is the most populous commune in the French overseas departments and the twentieth most populous in all of France.


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


The city is located on the north end of the island, and was a port. 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.

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 etc.


Saint-Denis features a tropical monsoon climate 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.


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 62 years from 1954 to the census in 2016, population has more than tripled. The annual rate of population growth has been lower in the 21st century than in the 20th century.

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.

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


  • 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

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. There are also Muslim mosques.


The University of Reunion Island admits 15,000 students each year, with 6 campus sites in Saint-Denis. 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.


IBM has an office in Saint-Denis. The island began organizing to be a digital hub for nearby African nations, relying on its two undersea cables for good internet connections. 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. New businesses are forming to serve the needs of airlines for software.


Town hall Saint Denis de La Réunion
2 rue de Paris 97717 Saint-Denis Cedex 9
+262 40 04 04