At the pinnacle of French power in India, Pondicherry sparked the imagination of those back home. Pondicherry was the French window on Indian culture, proudly seen as the Gallic Gateway of India. For over three centuries this gateway witnessed the busy trade of spices, beautiful textiles, woven cloth and later peanuts in return for a steady flow of gold, silver, weapons, merchants, priests, soldiers and adventurers. Later, as the English tightened their noose around Pondicherry, the beleaguered French were caught up in their own fateful and impossible attempt to combine colonial and republican principles. History was played out street by street in old Pondicherry and the wealth of these experiences have left an indelible mark on the unique cosmopolitan city that is Pondicherry today. The purpose of this book is to present a brief, illustrated history of these places that once were French.