Guadeloupe – Saint-Francois (Senfwanswà)

Although quieter than Sainte-Anne, Saint-François offers a wider variety of touristic establishments than the majority of the other villages in Guadeloupe. Activities offered in the area include golf, a casino and a Museum of Fine Arts.

In the more central section of Saint-François, we discover the town hall, the Saint-Francois church and the Rotonde (Rotunda).

La Rotonde is a local produce market offering indoor and outdoor stands and where you can find jewelry, spices whose scent will tickle your nose, delicious juices and fresh fruits and vegetables perfect for your next meal. This round, lively space is surrounded by shops and restaurants. We’ve been there twice, but our visit on a sunny Sunday in August 2022, was pretty quiet and only one restaurant was open. From the Rotonde, you are a few steps from the town hall and the church.

The church of Saint-François-d’Assise was rebuilt in 1932 after the passage of a cyclone in 1928. It is located on a large square where the monument “pro patria” is presented, a tribute to the heroes of Saint-François who died for France. The second work, of which I have little information, is a meaningful art project.  I see a human with a pierced heart but still standing in front of a wall with a narrow opening and finding itself in front of obstacles. My interpretation, which may differ from yours, is a person’s heartbreaking chance of a new beginning but full of upcoming pitfalls.

A waterfront village is likely to have beaches. One of the most famous is the Raisins-Clairs beach. This admirable setting with its trees provides the shade so much sought by visitors. Unfortunately, this beach, one of the most popular on the island according to several tourist guides, was deserted during our visit (August 2022) because of sargassum. The ideal landscape for a moment with family or friends was spoiled by this smelly brown algae. Our nature is fragile and can be disrupted at any time. Proof that we must now think about having more than one option when choosing a destination. Fortunately, there are other swimming options in Saint-François.

Right next to Raisins-Clairs Beach, the Indian Cemetery draws attention. Under the cemetery, the erosion has led to the discovery of a mortuary site for slaves. Human bones were found adrift on the main beach.

The logging opportunities and the diverse style allow travelers to choose their best option in this extreme southeast part of the island.

Saint-François is where departures to visit the islands of La Désirable, Marie-Galante and Les Saintes take place. The ferry terminal also welcomes visitors from outside the archipelago.

The nautical options in several forms are valued here and the marina welcomes private yachts. If you want to sail, rent a jet ski, learn about windsurfing and so on. Think about going to Saint-François.

Around the marina, shops, pharmacies, and restaurants are available.

The fishing port is the place where you can get fresh fish.

Land access via the only main road is sometimes difficult due to the traffic in Sainte-Anne.

The roundabouts all around the island are frequently embellished with unique works. Around Saint-François you will pass by the statue of Martin Luther King, an important black man, politician, a man of faith and an outstanding orator who always peacefully led people to think and act for the equality of black people. There is also a statue of Louis Delgrès who sacrificed his life against slavery on the island. The Slave Memorial highlights the sad past of several island ancestors who painfully endured a mentality of repression. The Monument to the Indians recalls the members of a large local community of Indians resulting from the mass immigration to the island.

Another way to reach Saint-François is the mini-airport for a private plane. The airstrip is very close to the international 18-hole golf course and luxury tourist accommodation. Be vigilant in your choice of accommodation, as the buildings do not necessarily age well. 

If you head towards La Pointe des Châteaux, you will pass by the golf course and a series of beaches. Your stops may be to simply admire its beauty, have a dip, see its depths or have a deserved relaxation moment.

La Pointe des Châteaux, which sits at the eastern end of the island, exhibits rock shapes sculpted by the weather, wind and water that washes over the peninsula. On the way, in addition to the beaches, there is also a craft village and the Kreol West Indies museum, a space where Creole art and heritage are showcased.

Finally, a large body of water, the Simonière pond, is not necessarily worth the detour in itself, but if you see it, know that it exists thanks to the hard handwork of slaves. The accumulated water could thus supply the mills, provide for daily needs and water the fields in a context where running water did not exist.

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