Réunion, or as the French call it, La Réunion, is a small island located in the western area of the Indian Ocean. The island is known for its volcanic, rainforest inland, coral reefs and beaches across the 2,512 km². The population of this overseas department of France is around 859,000. La Réunion has been one of the top destinations in recent years for Olympic, World and European Champion, Clarisse AGBEGNENOU, who kindly agreed to take us on a short trip down memory lane.
Soyez Dans L’Instant = Be in the moment. A photo from Clarisse at the La Réunion island. @clarisseagbegnenou
The Agbegnenou siblings trained at the island for several months during the pandemic. @clarisseagbengenou
Clarisse is embracing all this island has to offer. @clarisseagbegnenou
When was the first time you have visited the island? What was the reason of your initial visit?
First time, I went to the island in March during the start of the pandemic. I ended up going there because I knew a friend of mine who was going out there too as her parents live there. At this point, I understood it will be complicated to train in Paris due to the global situation, so we also went there with my family, and I was able to train with my friend as well as my brother. We ended up being there for three months.
How many times have you been there since your first visit? What are the most important reasons you like to return there?
Since my initial visit, I think I have been back roughly six times. I like to go there because I feel good. The weather is always amazing, and I can train easily. I have everything I need to do my training regime, including gym, dojo, landscape walking breaks and great running opportunities, even up to the mountain. Although I am not a beach person, there is that too. I am full of energy when I am out there hence, I love going back. I must mention the food too, it is really nice there.
The island has a wide selection of scenery to offer from mountains…
… incredible hiking trails…
…and most importantly tasty local dishes! @clarisseagbegnenou
Do you run any special judo project at the island or plan to do so?
Actually, I don’t have any special project there as such. They have clubs and a big centre so what I can do when I am there is to give them more of a moral support and put in their mind that they must stay around to be more in touch with judo. I think it is hard to focus on one thing when you are on an island because you want, or sometimes need to work full time or study more so things can be slightly difficult at times for them.
When will you be visiting the island again?
I am not sure when I can go there again, maybe for Christmas. I really like it and its obviously winter in France during that time so it would be nice to have some sand and nice weather. I am hoping to make it there by the end of this year, but nothing is for sure yet.
Your top 5 most recommended things to do at La Réunion?
- Oh, eating fruits, definitely. The fruits are amazing there, they are a must try. In fact, food and more food. Apart from fruits, other foods are also tasty and fresh, especially when they are made by locals, they can really cook some amazing dishes out there.
- The helicopter tour is a must do! It is incredible and if you are lucky, you can witness the eruption of volcano too.
- Hiking around the island allows you to experience some of the most beautiful scenery, including volcano and waterfalls.
- If you are more of a water sport person, take a boat and do some diving, snorkelling and other activities. There are several opportunities around, again, with breathtaking views.
- The weather is perfect, and the island is really rich in sporting activities. Whether it is cycling, hiking, judo of course, or any other sports, there is always something to do.
Author: Szandra Szogedi