‘Le Domaine des Aubineaux’, a colonial house built in 1872 is the first residence, which was provided with electricity in 1881, it was then converted into a museum in 2001. It exhibits antique furniture from the 17th century, a collection of portraits and photos of the old Curepipe and of colonial houses that have long been demolished.
A guide will show you around during your visit, and will guide you on the history, stories and tales of the “Domaine des Aubineaux” and of the importance of tea production in Mauritius. Made of wood of the time, the house is set up with pretty turrets that give it an imposing appearance, as well as a large central hall, unusual at the time and is one of the last remaining plantation houses in Mauritius to have kept all its period furniture, antiques and decorative objects in situ.
The guided tour takes in various rooms including Mrs Guimbeau’s, the final resident bedroom,her husband Philippe Guimbeau’s study, a glazed verandah, living room and formal dining room complete with boat-hull ceiling and 30-seater oak table.
The former billiards room now houses a tearoom, and in the surrounding grounds are the old stables, converted into a meeting room and shop. Next door stands the original distillery, which produce essential oils, specifically camphor for which 25 kilos of leaves are required to distil 25ml of oil.
The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden with camphor trees, exotic plants, endemic trees and a five-century-old Colophane tree. Do not miss the pathway, which leads down from the stone steps around the edge of the lawn. If you follow it to the right, you will soon find yourself wandering through a dense thicket of palm trees dripping with hanging vines, almost totally shielded from the outside world. It’s a brief diversion but a magical place to pause and listen to the birdsong and crickets before continuing on to the pond at the far boundary of the site, where the petals of delicate lilac water lilies open up to the sky.
Lunch at Les Aubineaux Restaurant and get a free entrance to visit the estate. Enjoy a local lunch in a peaceful atmosphere in the veranda of this amazing colonial house enjoying a magnificent green garden view.
The trip will take you back in time to the first days of Mauritius with its rich colonial history.
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