Les Saintes Tours, Sightseeing

Fort, view, Les Saintes, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.
Terre-de-Haut, the primary island in Les Saintes (Iles des Saintes), is very small, less than 3 sq. miles (7.8 sq km) in size. and can be leisurely explored on foot.

The five-minute walk from the airstrip to Bourg, the island's sole village, takes you down a bougainvillea-shaded lane lined with tiny, brightly-painted houses and past a centuries-old cemetery. The names engraved upon the weathered headstones reflect the island's Breton and Norman ancestry; the conch shells decorating the graveyard honor its sailors lost at sea.

If you don't have the time (or the stamina) to tour the islands on foot, scooters, bicycles and local taxi-minivans are easily available in town. Wherever you wander, the translucent turquoise waters of the Caribbean await nearby. And you can walk anywhere, even to the highest point, Le Chameau, which takes two hours up and back. At 309 m (l,014 ft), the peak, topped with an old stone citadel, affords a sweeping panorama not only of Terre-de-Haut, but of the seven other islands that constitute the archipelago of Les Saintes: Ilet a Cabrit, Le Pâté, Terre-de-Bas, Les Augustins, La Coche, Grand Ilet, and La Redonde. The experience is breathtaking any time of day, but at dawn or dusk it becomes the memory of a lifetime.

Among Terre-de-Haut's year-round points of interest, one of the most rewarding is Fort Napoleon, an historical oddity built by the French over a century ago and totally restored by groups of young volunteers in the 1980's. What makes the fort so unusual is that it has been used over the years for a number of things, but never for war. Nobody has ever fired a shot at it or from it. Guided tours do tell of the famous l7th- and l8th-century battles of Les Saintes / Iles des Saintes, and there are mementos on exhibit, but the fort's museum collection of 250 modern paintings contains not a single one with a military theme. The fort, and an iguana similar to those seen scurrying up the ramparts, figure prominently in the islands' coat of arms.

The conservator of the fort stresses two points for visitors: come in the morning (the hours are 9:00 to noon) and bring a camera. The views are a photographer's dream and the flowering cactus gardens surrounding the fort are among the most exotic and best maintained in the Caribbean. Directly across the bay, atop the small island of Ilet a Cabrit, sit the ruins of Fort Josephine, named for Napoleon's first wife, born l20 miles south on the French island of Martinique.

Featured Les Saintes Tour and Excursion Services

Les Saintes, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Tours, Sights, Excursions, Sightseeing
Imagine Your Company Here
A Great New Way to Reach Travelers
Contact us to discover how easy it is to promote your company right here.
FrenchCaribbean.com/Contact

Les Saintes, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, Tours, Sights, Excursions, Sightseeing
Imagine Your Company Here
A Great New Way to Reach Travelers
Contact us to discover how easy it is to promote your company right here.
FrenchCaribbean.com/Contact

French Caribbean Map with St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Barth, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante

Photo © 2002-2013 Gerald Hill / Used by Permission.


Click for the BBB Business Review of French Caribbean International
French Caribbean International is an Award-Winning Member of the Better Business Bureau.


Terms of Use / Privacy Policy / About Us / Advertising / Contact Us


© 1996-2013 French Caribbean International. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction of images, text, audio, video or other content is prohibited.
French Caribbean
® is a registered trademark (marque déposée).

Since 1994, French Caribbean International has been the premier guide to the French West Indies. In addition to providing helpful travel information, we are an exceptional resource for accommodations including St. Barthélemy (St. Barts, St. Barth, St. Barths) villa rentals and hotels, St. Martin / St. Maarten villa rentals and hotels, Martinique villa rentals and hotels, Guadeloupe villa rentals and hotels, Les Saintes villa rentals and hotels, and Marie-Galante villa rentals and hotels.