The Grande Anse beach is seen on the Island of Reunion, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean in this June 3, 2010 file photo. Blink and you will miss it.(REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files)
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On a map, that small dot in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius is the island of Reunion, created by the eruptions of a now dormant volcano.It wasn't until 1663 that Reunion was permanently inhabited, with the population now reaching almost 900,000 .The volcano created three "Cirques" – Mafate, Salazie and Cilaos, often described as natural amphitheaters – that surround the Piton des Neiges, the island's highest peak.A view of Saint-Denis on the Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean as seen in this March 31, 2012 file photo.Reunion's third Cirque, Salazie, has its own character.For visitors seeking more sedate outings, a good way to see much of the island is to drive from Saint-Denis to the Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion's active volcano, via the lush Plaine des Palmistes and the dry and dusty Plaine des Sables, which looks like something from a dystopian movie.The Cirque de Mafate is seen on the Island of Reunion, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean in this June 3, 2010 file photo.
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