'Imagination governs the world', Napoleon once said. ‘We are born, we live and we die in the midst of the marvellous’ Now, it’s probably something to do with the Gallic way of seeing things, but he could have been describing Pondicherry exactly.
Here is a place balanced beautifully at the intersection of two imaginings. If the streets ,with their neat plaster bungalows and flower-decked balconies speak the patois of Colonial France, then the air, salt-laced and fragrant with spice, unmistakably places you on
the Coromandel coast of India. The street signs speak several languages fluently. Historic buildings jostle against charming sidewalk cafes. Trendy boutiques stand next to sari shops. And swish design studios share space with bangle sellers, temples and bustling markets.
It is these rich contrasts that we studied, absorbed, then blended into Palais de Mahe. Like Pondicherry, our architecture is faithful to a historic age. But, also like Pondicherry, the experience is laden with surprising modern twists and rich flavours.