Oh la la! After a long-haul flight, you step off the plane and you’re greeted with a bonjour. Then you breakfast on croissants and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). At first glance, Réunion is like a chunk of France teleported to the tropics. But beyond the Gallic panache, you’ll soon realise it’s a resplendent tapestry, which also blends Indian, African and Chinese influences. Jutting out of the ocean like a basaltic shield cloaked in green, Réunion is a mini-Hawaii, with astounding geographical diversity. Within an hour or two, the landscape morphs from lava fields to lush primary forest, from jagged peaks to sprawling coastal cities.