Popular with boaters, nature-lovers and scuba diving enthusiasts, the fantastic little archipelago of Les Saintes, located off the southern coast of Basse-Terre, is composed of seven islets and two inhabited islands that are Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas. Accessible by boat from Trois-Rivières (20 min), Pointe-à-Pitre (1h) or Saint-François (1h30), the island of Terre-de-Haut, the most visited of the archipelago, has an impressively beautiful bay which has been ranked among the most beautiful in the world! Dotted with charming houses with red roofs, this pleasant island, with its steep terrain and warm welcome, is full of wonderful surprises, best discovered on foot - if you have enough time! - mountain bike, electric bicycle or even by electric car.
Perched on a hill on the island, Fort Napoleon is THE must-see site of Terre-de-Haut. Incredibly photogenic, this unmissable attraction is open daily from 9 am to 12.30 pm (except bank holidays) and offers photography enthusiasts a beautiful setting, with its exotic cactus garden (where it is not unusual to see iguanas), its ramparts and its exceptional view over the Bay of Les Saintes... Built in the 19th century, the fort also houses a museum dedicated to the arts and popular traditions of Les Saintes, with exhibitions taking place in the halls of the old barracks.
Going down from the fort, make a stop in the charming town of Terre-de-Haut, dotted with restaurants and shops, then visit its pretty little church made of volcanic stone, before continuing your trip towards the island beaches, where you will be spoiled for choice. Among the most pleasant are the beautiful Pompierre beach (the most tourist-friendly), Anse Rodrigue beach, Anse Crawen beach, or the beaches of Petite Anse du Pain de Sucre and Anse Devant, ideal places to relax and enjoy a swim! Although it is an ideal place for a walk, swimming is prohibited at the vast Grande Anse beach, popular for its rugged beauty, because of its dangerous currents.
Hikers can climb up to the viewpoint of Le Chameau, located to the south-west of the island, at 309 metres above sea level. The effort during the steep climb is rewarded at the end with an unforgettable view over the archipelago!
Before leaving Terre-de-Haut, treat yourself to one of the tourments d'amour (literally "love torments") sold in the town. These delicious tarts with coconut, banana or guava jam are the local speciality!
If you have time and are staying for several days at Les Saintes, be sure to visit the peaceful island of Terre-de-Bas. The latter, while less known than Terre-de-Haut, is no less attractive. In the peace and quiet, you are sure to appreciate its calm and authentic atmosphere, relaxed lifestyle and the beautiful Grande Anse beach of golden sand lined with coconut trees, and the creek of Grand Bay (Grande Baie), where the remains of a former 18th and 19th-century pottery, now a listed Historic Monument, stand on the seafront.