Situated on the Coromandel Coast, about 160 km south of Chennai, is Pondicherry. Ruled by the French for 300 years, and today, stands as living monument of French culture in India. In September 2006, Pondicherry changed its name to Puducherry, meaning new village. Designed on the French grid pattern, it features neat sectors and straight streets. Several French cultural institutes still stand in Pondicherry.