The first viable French company, the French East India Company, was launched by the Minister of Finance Jean Baptiste Colbert, with the support of Louis XIV, in 1664. After some false starts, the French company acquired Pondicherry (now Puducherry), 85 miles (137 km) south of Madras , from a local ruler in 1674...At first the French initiative suffered from the mixing of grandiose political and colonial schemes with those of trade, but under the care of Francoise Martin from 1674, the company turned increasingly to trade and began to prosper.
Araikamedu in Puducherry (earlier Pondicherry) was a favorite port of the Romans .
The French East India Company (formed by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in 1666) established a settlement...in 1674 at Pondicherry. The company’s director, Francois Martin, made Pondicherry the capital of French posts.
The British were saved by the military genius of Clive , an aggressive British Empire-builder who became the chief representative of the East India Company, which had been founded in 1600. Eventually the French were restricted to the fort at Pondicherry (modern Puducherry) and handful of small territories in the south eastern coast.
Pondicherry Town attracts the maximum number of foreign and domestic tourists primarily due to the presence here of the ‘Aurobindo Ashram’, and ‘Auroville’ in the nearby area of Tamil Nadu. They are attracted to these two institutions for the enshrined ‘ Spiritualism ’ and the ‘Way of life’ practiced there Pondicherry Town’s historic French connections, the Heritage buildings and French cultural linkages permeating the town atmosphere are the other major draw for foreign tourists, as also the Pondicherry - born French nationals living abroad at present. For the latter group, it is home coming once in a few years.