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French Overseas Regions

France has four overseas departments, all with the same rights and privileges granted to all other French departments.The four departments are: Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Reunion.


Guadeloupe is in the Caribbean, located southeast of Puerto Rico, and north of Dominica. It consists of 7 inhabited and many uninhabited small islands. The total land area is 1,628 square kilometers, and the population around 453,000. The two main islands of Guadeloupe are Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre, separated by a stretch of sea of 200 meters, but linked by two bridges. Basse-Terre (838 sq. km.) is the largest and most mountainous of the two, it is of volcanic origin and its highest mountain, the Soufrière (1,467 m.) is still a active volcano, the second island, (595 sq. km.), is made of limestone and flat. 

There are several dream beaches, especially on Grand-Terre with a great number of hotels at all price ranges.
 The other inhabited, but much smaller islands are: La DésiradeMarie-GalanteLes SaintesSaint Barthélemy and Saint Martin. The island of Saint Barthélemy, also called Saint Barth by locals, has a particular fertile soil and is like a massive botanical garden. It is about 200 km. from the two main islands, and with its steep hills and small sandy coves it is one of the most exclusive locations in the whole of Caribbean. 

Wonderful villas and first class hotels attract many prominent figures seeking peace and quiet on Saint Barthélemy. The harbour of Gustavi is worth a visit. It is located in a picturesque bay and is one of the prettiest harbours in the Caribbean.

is a Caribbean island located to the north of Trinidad & Tabago. The total area is 1,100 square kilometres. The total population is around 401,000. Known as "a little France in the Caribbean", Martinique has a distinctly French feeling in many ways. In the excellence of its cuisine, the beauty of its language and the chic of its women. In fact Napolion Boneparte's wife, Joséphine, was born in Martinique and a statue to honour stands in a public garden.

After 1902, Fort-de-France has become the capital of Martinique. Fort-de-France exudes the feel of a cosmopolitan French town with Martiniquians dressed in Paris fashions and sipping coffee with croissants in cafes.

The port of Fort-de-France is situated east of the town where many cruise liners and cargo ships are moored. True to its cosmopolitan nature, Forte-de-France is a mixture of narrow congested streets lined with offices. The waterfront area is dominated by the impressive Fort St. Louis that still serves as a military base.

Tourism represents a major part of the economy of Martinique. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to Martinique's picturesque volcanic landscapes, its fine black, white ore peppered sand beaches surrounded by sugar, palm, banana and pineapple plantations. The island's location also makes it a stopping-off point for cruise ships. The island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8th May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city Saint Pierre, the then capital, killing 30,000 inhabitants. In the south of the island, there are many beautiful beaches with a lot of tourists. In the north, the rain forest and the black sand beaches are worth seeing. The interior of the island is mountainous.

French Guiana has an area of 86,504 sq km and is bounded by Brazil to the south and east, by Suriname to the west, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the north east. This sparsely populated tropical area located on the nothern coast of South America has a total population estimated to 222,000 out of which around 100,000 lives in the urban area of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.

Most of French Guiana is low-lying, with mountains in the south and a swampy coastal plain. On the west the Maroni river forms the border with Suriname and the Oyapock River on the east forms part of the border with Brazil. The environment of the area is very rich and visitors may observe a great many protected species. 3,300 km of French Guiana's waterways are navigable by native craft with 460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal river steamers.

Reunion is located in the midst of the Indian Ocean, east of the island of Madagascar. Reunion island has almost one thousand kilometers of hiking trails, and an astonishingly variety of landscapes for an island. The cirques, plains and volcano have been classified as a French national natural park. Saint-Denis is the capital of Reunion Island.



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