With summer camps and holiday homework, not everyone is free to take off on a long break. But a weekend seems fine — so, try Puducherry.

Sun, sand and the feeling of summer….these are the words that best describe Puducherry. Just a few hours away from Chennai, Puducherry is probably the most sought after destination for all tourists. With its vast expanse of water and clear skies and an absolutely serene atmosphere Puducherry is beautiful. The city draws its culture from the French who once ruled it. Roads and restaurants have French names and almost everyone can speak French too.

There are lots of places to see. Let's take a quick tour.

Auroville: A village. See, breathe and listen to nature at its best. Almost all the cultivation here is organic. Auroville also hosts a number of foreigners who have decided to be a part of this one big universe which is devoid of religion, caste and creed.

Aurobindo Ashram: Inside the city one must not miss seeing this Ashram. Serene and tranquil it's the best place to listen to how quiet, ‘Quiet' can actually be.

The flea markets on the beaches outside of Puducherry offer some good buys and trinkets that you can take back for your friends. A walk along the rocky wall that guards the waters from entering is a must for anyone who visits.

The French quarter is neat and there is a laid-back feel to it making you relax from the very beginning. And since it is so close to Chennai, it is easy to visit.

There are many resorts in and around the city and they offer a range of activities from trekking and cycling to hiking and water sports. There is an island called Plage Paradiso. It is one special island, as it has both the backwaters and the ocean on either sides. Near the Chunnambar Beach Resort a boat can take you to Plage Paradiso island.

Must see:

Matri Mandir

The lighthouse (175 years old)

How to get there:

Bus: From Koyambedu (takes three hours)

Car : Via ECR

Train : From Egmore/beach to Puducherry station