Basse-Terre, Saint-Pierre, Fort-Royal
French, Creole
Flight time
10 hours from the UK
time difference
UTC/GMT -4 hours
best time to go

Introducing French West Indies

The French West Indies, also known as the French Antilles, refers to the seven territories under French sovereignty. These extraordinary islands form the cultural crossroads of French and Caribbean culture, bringing together the most interesting, vibrant and colourful features of each world and forming a unique destination for those who are curious enough to discover it. The French Antilles islands include Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, Guadeloupe and Martinique and each island boasts its own unique charm whilst all retaining their rich Franco-Caribbean identity. Remaining true to their roots, these French sovereignty islands offer something totally different for the traveller – so if you’re in search of a Caribbean break with a difference, the French West Indies will offer exotic, cultured, eclectic destinations that feel like the clashing of two different cultures fused into one.

Whether you dream of walking barefoot across the soft white sand on the tiny paradise island of Saint Barts, strolling the narrow and winding streets of Fort-de-France and tasting authentic fusion cuisine on Martinique, hiking the incredible hills and sugarcane fields of the Guadeloupe islands, or doing nothing at all but kicking back on the luxurious beach resorts of stunning Saint Martin, you’re sure to find your own little piece of Caribbean heaven here in the French Antilles. And when it comes to food and drink, the fusion cooking and international mix of flavours will certainly not disappoint your palate. Where you’ll find traditional Caribbean goat stews to warm your soul, you’ll also find cosmopolitan cafes serving croissants and French crêpes. And where you’ll find corner shops selling ice cold beers, you’ll also find stylish restaurants offering tasty Pinot Noirs, refreshing Palominos, delightful Cabernet Sauvignons and mouth-watering Merlots. Because in a world where multiple nations become one, anything goes. Book your next Caribbean holiday to the islands of Saint Martin, Saint Barts, Guadeloupe or Martinique and you’ll soon find your rhythm and fit right into the region’s soulful melting pot.


Family travel in the French Caribbean is fun and exciting, with a lively fusion of cultures that will inspire, stimulate and educate – it’s such a wonderful destination for kids of all ages! If your family loves to spend time in the great outdoors, you’ll be spoilt for choice with outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, fishing and boating, diving, snorkelling, dolphin and whale watching, or just kicking back and enjoying the beautiful beaches. From waterfall walks and oceans dotted with yachts to cities and towns oozing the spirit of Paris, there’s a perfect setting for everyone who comes here. Children are made to feel extremely welcome and the Caribbean people are notoriously friendly to every type of traveller.


Food in the French West Indies, like food in the rest of the Caribbean really does epitomise the meaning of “fusion” cooking. Caribbean cuisine has taken on many influences over the centuries including African, Amerindian, European, East Indian, Arabian and Chinese influences. The French Antilles in particular, French and Dutch cuisine take up the limelight. Some regional dishes to try include Accra fritters, Boudin sausages, Chatrou octopus, Lambis sea snails, Le Matautou de Crabe stuffed crabs and Le Féroce d’Avocat salted fish. The island of Saint Martin offers a great culinary twist with the French side in the North (also named Saint Martin) and its Dutch side in the South (named Sint Maarten); the latter is where you’ll be able to stumble across the tasty Dutch-Indonesian with amazing dining experiences such as Rijsttafel rice tables. The island of Martinique is a great place for wine lovers and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the locally produced Pinot Noir, Palomino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Esprit and Merlot.

History and Culture

The first of the French Caribbean colonies, Saint Pierre on Martinique Island, was established by French trader and adventurer, Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc back in the 1600s. Today, these French-Caribbean islands fuse together many great cultures and this is apparent in everything from their outstanding fusion cuisine and interesting architecture to popular music and the wonderful mix of French speaking and French Creole speaking residents.

Top Locations in French West Indies

Located in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, Martinique is an island of outstanding nature and volcanic landscapes, incredible beaches, and colonial cities oozing French charm. Explore Fort-de-France for its exotic markets, chic shopping malls and great mix of restaurants or set up base in Grande Anse des Salines for stylish resorts and top water sports.
Guadeloupe is made up of two main islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre which are both connected via bridge crossings. Smaller islands also include Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes. Some towns / cities / regions / areas worth visiting are Sainte-Anne, Le Gosier, Petit-Bourg, Baie-Mahault, Le Moule, Les Abymes, Pointe-à-Pitre and Capesterre-Belle-Eau.
Saint Barthélemy
Better known as Saint Barts, this beautiful island is best known in the French West Indies as being the ultimate French-Caribbean beach paradise. If you’re looking for picture perfect beaches with soft white sand and crystal clear shallow waters, Saint Barts has to be the next destination on your bucket list. Great for families, couples or groups alike, the island of Saint Barts boasts awesome dive sites, top snorkel spots and a choice of 5 star resorts. Read more
Saint Martin (Saint Martin Island, North)
The Northern region of Saint Martin, also named Saint Martin, is the French side of the island. Explore the capital of Marigot, its striking harbour and nearby beaches as well as the city’s amazing array of restaurants, from fine-dining spots with al fresco views to tiny shacks serving up the most authentic dishes.
Sint Maarten (Saint Martin Island, South)
The Southern region of Saint Martin Island is Sint Maarten, the Dutch half of the island. This half of the island is home to some beautiful beaches with some fantastic activities such as diving, snorkelling, surfing, body boarding, jet-skiing, parasailing and kayaking – plus boat excursions suitable for all ages. Areas of interest in Sint Maarten include Simpson Bay, Madam Estate, Cole Bay, Oyster Pond, St Peters and Pointe Blanche.

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