A new name for
Pas de Bellecombe

The name of this mountain pass, an exceptional viewpoint overlooking the North-West of the Fouqué enclosure, the highest caldera of Piton de La Fournaise, has been changed in order to include the name of the slave who first gained access to this area. The spot is now known as ‘Le Pas de Bellecombe – Jacob’.

Looking out across the Rivière de l’Est. Bory de Saint-Vincent, Jean-Baptiste. Artist. 1804. Etching.
Collection of the Historical Museum of Villèle

During an expedition to the volcano in 1768, Governor Léonard de Bellecombe, accompanied by authorising officer Honoré de Crémont and slave porters found themselves at the edge of the area surrounding the volcano. Finding no way to get down, the governor retraced his steps. M. Crémont, more determined, pushed on, promising six pieces of blue cloth to any black who could find their way down the ramparts. After much searching, a slave called Jacob found a passageway and headed down the cliff with M. de Crémont.

Although the governor never went down himself, the site was given his name, Pas de Bellecombe.

On Wednesday 28th August 2019, Michel Vergoz (Mayor of Sainte-Rose) unveiled the plaque in the car park with the new name, Le Pas de Bellecombe-Jacob, thus paying homage to the slave who first gained access to this area surrounding the volcano.

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