Guadeloupe was first settled in 1635 by the French who rapidly developed profitable sugar plantations that attracted the British who invaded it several times and occupied it from 1759 to 1763 when it was returned to France by the Treaty of Paris in exchange for French claims to Canada.
Notwithstanding the Treaty of Paris, the British invaded Guadeloupe again in 1794 during the French Revolution. They were repulsed in 1802, invaded it once more in 1810 and held it until 1816 when it was returned to France by the Treaty of Vienna.
After the abolition of slavery in 1848, indentured labour was brought from India to complement the free African labour force. Sugar from Guadeloupe remained highly competitive thanks to the use of larger more efficient mills.
As an Overseas Department of France, the standard of living in Guadeloupe is almost equal to that of the mainland, making it much more expensive than the neighbouring islands (This can be said of all French possessions such as Martinique, Tahiti, Réunion, etc.).
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Naturally, the big cruise ships come here as well; there is no escaping them in the Caribbean!
Here is another.
Big cruise ships call for big shopping centres where the duty free advantage is generally lost to higher prices.
This 19th century French colonial house with wrought iron balconies is now a museum dedicated to the poet Alexis Léger better known as Saint-John Perse.
There are two markets in Pointe-à-Pitre, this one between rue Peynier and rue Saint-John Perse and a more colourful one next to the "darse" (port).
The "darse" and place de la Victoire next to it are the centre of the city.
This market is crowded, colourful and noisy. Naturally it is also full of tourists taking pictures like me.
The fish sold here could not be any fresher.
There is also a large fruit and vegetable section.
Prices are reasonable but not cheap.
The coast around the town of Gosier, 8 kms east of the capital, has the largest concentration of resort hotels, restaurants and bars.
There is a wide variety of accommodations but most are expensive. I was very lucky to find this small studio with bathroom, kitchen and balcony for 28.60 $US (rue de la Plage, Gosier)..
The owners, Christian and Josiane Caliste were friendly and helpful.
I just can't resist taking pictures of markets.
This lady was selling fried fish and trimmings from a street stand in Gosier. She had a beautiful Creole accent and a happy disposition. And I enjoyed her fish with a bottle of good rosé on my balcony as I watched the sun disappear over the horizon that night.
The food and wine were also excellent in this simple little café overlooking the beach in front of the "Ilet du Gosier" offshore.
Another view of Gosier Beach lined with resort hotels.
And still one more showing the aquamarine sea.
Sainte Anne, halfway between Gosier and Saint François to the east is also a resort town but it is somewhat more quiet than the other two.
This old windmill that I saw on the way to Saint-François used to provide the energy to crush cane to extract the sweet cane juice from which raw sugar was made.
The village of Saint-François, about 30 kms east of Gosier, is Guadeloupe's second largest tourist resort area. It has a fine golf course and a large marina with docks for ferries to the nearby islands.
Saint-François is also renowned for its restaurants.
This is one of the ferries that dock here in front of Hôtel Kayé La.
Here is another view of the marina with Hôtel Kayé La on the left.
A couple of days later I took a minibus to Pointe-Noire on Basse-Terre Island. I found that, except for the modern cars, it had not changed much since I had been here last.
I had gone through Pointe-Noire in January 1971 on my way to the Fort Royal Club Méditerranée which has closed since then.
Pointe-Noire hasn't changed much in thirty years but... Alas, I have!
It does not matter, they were good years and I enjoyed every minute (or almost, I tend to forget the bad times I've had). It would be nice to have another thirty years ahead of me!
Yes, Pointe-Noire was very much like this thirty years ago.
Not much difference here either.
I went by this beautiful black sand beach at Malendure, about ten kilometres south of Point Noire on my way back to Gosier via Basse-Terre and Pointe-à-Pitre.
Finally it was time to go again and I took this high speed catamaran ferry to Dominica.