Bel Air Cemetery
Victoria, Mahè | Historic Place
Bel Air Cemetery
The old Bel Air cemetery, the oldest burial place in Seychelles, is located on the western outskirts of Victoria.
The cemetery, which was established in the late 1780s by the French settlers who founded the L’Etablissement du Roi on Mahe in 1778, is home to various vaults, including those of the island’s earliest French settlers. Jean Corsair François Hodoul, Reiny Jean d’Argent, and the enigmatic Pierre-Louis Poiret, the supposed son of King Louis XVI who fled the French Revolution in 1789, are among them.
Creole culture has immortalized a legend about the Bel Air cemetery. Yes, the “Giant boy,” who was 14 years old and 2.7 metres tall when he died in the 1870s.
What is visible today is what remained following the devastating Lavalasse floods of October 12, 1862, which washed away many of the older burials and tombs.
The burials, tombs, vaults, and wrought-iron crosses have all been reduced to ruins of fractured coral limestone and rusty metalwork by the ravages of time and weather. Fragments of an epitaph, a name, a date, a year, and age can be found among the rubble of shattered stone traceries, string course moldings, and tilting headstones. A large number of youngsters are buried here. Dysentery, anemia, diabetes, and other diseases that are now easily avoidable and curable killed them.
Surprisingly, the oldest remaining grave also belongs to a child. Catherine Helose Larcher was born on January 9, 1909, married on February 21, 1822, and died on September 3, 1825, according to a plain granite slab. Yes, she married at the age of 13 and gave birth to her first child, Charlette, at the age of 15. She died at the youthful age of 16 just nine days after giving birth to a newborn boy named Louis Antoine.
A TripAdvisor Member wrote: A polished brass sign at the entrance gate suggests that this historic cemetery of early French immigrants has a rich pedigree – a pirate’s grave and a giant’s grave: there’s much for adventurous families to discover. In a tropical location, it is a beautiful and gothic resting place. The grass has been mowed, making it easy to walk around, and the nicest headstones and family mausoleums from the 18th and 19th centuries may be found upon the hill, so make the effort to walk up the steps and away from the road.
There is a free parking lot across the street, but there are also a few spots directly in front of the cemetery. There is also a bus stop just in front of the building.
Address: Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles
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Opening hours: All time