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Mauritius Glass Gallery
Whenever I drive through Phoenix, I always see the Mauritius Glass Gallery (MGG) so one day I decided to go there. Unfortunately they do not have a website so I will try my best to summarise my visit. I went end of May and was surprised to be the only one there. There is a large car park when you arrive with the main entrance clearly marked with blue signs welcoming you in all languages. Before you enter there is a tariff guide that is the same for tourists and residents, entrance fee is Rs50 (£1.11, $1.85 or €1.31) for adults and children 5-15 years old pay Rs25 (£0.55, $0.92 and €0.65).
The Mauritius Glass Gallery was founded in 1991 and is a subsidiary of the Phoenix Beverages Limited commonly referred to as Phoenix beer a popular beverage in Mauritius. Everything at MGG is recycled and hand made on the premises - lamp shades, mirrors, decorative plates and custom made trophies are just some of the things you can purchase in the shop. MGG opened the glass museum in 2001 and have since had many celebrities from all over the world visit and leave their handprint or footprint in glass. The museum is very well decorated with all things glass, dimly lit but interesting nonetheless. They have 30 employees in total with 7 accounting for glass blowing; one glass blower has been there since they opened in 1991!
After you have paid the small entrance fee, you enter the glass museum where there are handprints in glass from musicians, actors, singers, sports personalities and celebrities from all walks of life. After comparing hands with all your favourite celebrities, you then arrive in the glass blowing demonstration area with many glass displays on the history of glass blowing, environment and wildlife of Mauritius. The glass blowers have to train for a few months in South Africa before being fully qualified to make glass sculptures. They work all throughout the day so what you see as the ‘demonstrations’ will actually be sold in the shop on the premises or in their shop found at Caudan.
You can even make an order for a custom made product if you cannot see it in the showroom or shop, every piece made by MGG is custom unique as they are all made individually using centuries old method and tools. I was lucky enough to witness a large decorative bowl being made from scratch, it was amazing, just when you think you know what it is, the shape changes, it was fun guessing.
You also have the chance to have your handprint or footprint sculpted in glass; it’s truly a unique souvenir from your trip. There are many options, I opted for my hand and my partners hand on a section of a heart divided in two. If you have a child you can get a block with all three of your handprints with the date or names engraved. For a personalised unique gift you can get a trophy of any design made for a loved one. Prices range from Rs600 (child) to Rs3,500 for a large adult sculpture, there are many available so just ask if you want something not on the list. Or you can be cheeky and have your breasts casted in glass like an anonymous visitor did; you can see the sculpture in the glass museum at the end where the Mauritian celebrities display is found.
I must stress that you do not get your sculpture the same day, you need to come back after three days to collect it for free or you can pay Rs300 for them to deliver it to your hotel or home address. I would be a little miffed if I went there at the end of my holiday to find it took three days so go early if you are on holiday so you don’t miss this rare opportunity.