Guadeloupe Islands: Land of Champions

The Guadeloupe Islands are a Land of Champions, and we proved it one more time during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where eight Guadeloupean athletes won a medal. The most famous being the judoka Teddy Rinner, holder of 2 Gold Medals.

 

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The diversity of our natural attributes make the Guadeloupe archipelago a godsend for the outdoorsy types, whether your sport is hiking, running, riding, fishing, you name it! Furthermore Guadeloupeans like to stay in good shape and eat healthy. As soon as the sun goes down you will see people jogging all over the 5 islands!

 

Being active is pretty much cultural

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Widdy Grego, best marathon runner of the archipelago, have been practicing for over 20 years. He won the Jungle Marathon in 2014, a 172 miles long race in the Amazon, elected “toughest endurance race in the world”. He also took part to numerous other races around the world, including  the Marathon des Sables, a 156 miles long race in the desert

 

Among all the sports practiced in the Guadeloupe islands, running is the most popular. Several races take place in the archipelago, the most famous once are: the Volcano Trail, the Half Triathlon and the Gwadarun.

And two new races are coming up in december : the Bubble Day Guadeloupe, and the International Marathon of Guadeloupe.

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The International Marathon of Guadeloupe will take place on December 18th 2016, starting from Le Moule in the Land of Sugar Cane, passing by Anse Bertrand, and finishing at the Souffleur Beach in Port Louis.

 Tickets and more info.

 

 

The Bubble Day Guadeloupe take place on December 3rd. It’s a 5km (3 miles) long race, where an activity is a waiting for you at each kilometer. After the race, the Bubble Festival will be held, featuring the best DJs of the Caribbean!

The Bubble Day Guadeloupe is:
-Your Bubble Day Guadeloupe Kit (official T-shirt, official sun glasses, official bag, official glass)
-A  warm up with SoFit&Yoga and Trace F
-3 miles of fun (walking, Moonwalking, Pokemon hunting)
– The Bubble Festival starting from 6pm, with Rony Dankers (The French Soca Master) and a lot of other artists.
Tickets and more info.

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What’s happening this summer in the Guadeloupe Islands?

Between concerts, festivals and beach parties, it seems like this summer should be quite a busy one! Be ready for some big surprises and as a lot of exceptional shows are brewing!

 

And we kicked off the summer with a great start, thanks to the most famous beach part of the archipelago: Toubana on the Beach! Every Sunday, la Toubana Hotel&Spa**** invites you to a whole day of fun with unlimited music and food! Beware: reservations fill up quick and a dress code is imposed. 

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Another highlight of the month of July is the All day In Music Festival ! It is the first international DJs festival in the Guadeloupe Islands. Come and dance during an entire day at Crystal Beach in St Francois (Grande-Terre)! This year, the All Day In music Festival will take place on Sunday July 24th, the line up includes several electronic and Caribbean music DJs: DJ Snake, Kerwin Dubois, Andy Myler, Endrixx, MadaHouse…

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And to start off right the month of August, the Guadeloupe Islands are welcoming celebrity singer Chris Brown! Save the date! On August 5th 2016 the Guadeloupe Islands will host an exceptional show, worthy of the biggest cities of the world!

 

 

 

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For those who prefer the clubs to the festivals or the beach parties, you can always check out the Finest in Baie Mahault (Grande Terre). Order one of the famous cocktails fixed by Kenny and enjoy an amazing Hip Hop Caribbean ambiance.

 

If you stay in Gosier, don’t hesitate to go to Skylounge, located at Bas du Fort. And at the Gosier Marina, we recommend Zoo Rock, la Boca or the wine bar, Les Ignorants.

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Between music, fun and sun, discover the ultimate French Caribbean Experience.

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A Tropical Christmas

 

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In the Guadeloupe Islands, Christmas is an important cultural event, it is celebrated with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Singing, cooking and Christmas lights are entirely part of the Guadeloupean Christmas.

 

A perfect Christmas dinner

AV7B4036retouchDuring the dinner, many dishes are served. You can taste typical Guadeloupean cuisine such as pork and yam accompanied with the famous « Jambon de Noël » (Christmas ham_ you can find it only in the Lesser Antilles), the Boudin Créole (blood sausage), and the Accras de Morue (cold fish fritters). And a great Guadeloupean Christmas dinner is always celebrated with Schrubb, a rum liquor with an orange peel.

 

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IMG_6211Christmas carol

In the Guadeloupe Islands, Christmas Carol are songs with great liturgical and religious charactere. The history of those songs goes back to the slave period. Blacks had a religious education that they incorporated into their original customs.  As a result, they kept liturgical texts that they mixed with Gwo-Ka and Biguine. Over the time, Guadeloupeans created new verses during their improvisations.
The group Kassika, lead by Benzo, made the Guadeloupe Christmas Carol evolve over time, it also made it more popular. Thanks to Kassika, many « Chanté Nwel » (Christmas Carol) events were created.  The most famous one is « Noël de Kakador » which takes place in Vieux-Habitants in Basse-Terre.

 

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During the Christmas Carol, you will hear « Ka » drums, triangle and cha-cha. « Ka » drums players are chosen for their ability to respect the character of the songs and the rhythm of “Kabolo” (happy improvisation song).

 

 

Christmas Carols are transmitted from generation to generation, and they are completely anchored in the cultural heritage of Guadeloupe Islands.

 

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Noel Kakador

Every year in Vieux-Habitants, the famous Christmas of Kakador (name of a small grey shrimp eaten for the occasion) carries on the tradition, and offers a typical Christmas experience from the Lesser Antilles, where people sing and dance carols around the crèche.

Visit the butterfly archipelago during this period, and you will be taken away by the atmosphere, the colors and the decorations on the streets, as well as the amazing Christmas dishes!

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Photo Credit :
CTIG
Nicolas Pradel
Workaolic

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1800 lights

Country road through cane fields.

Morne a l’Eau is located in the western part of Grande Terre. This town is an important crossroad for all the inhabitants of the north of the island. The body of water of Vieux Bourg is exceptional, a lot of water activities are available on site.The cemetery of Morne a l’Eau is the most visited of the Guadeloupe Islands. You can only be amazed by its architecture, shaped like an amphitheatre, its beautiful vegetation and its 1800 tombs. The black and white tiles took over the entire space, forming an amazing chessboard. Nobody really knows what is the meaning of this setting.

Some people say that it represents the opposition of the yin and the yang, of life and death. Others say that white is the color of mourning in Africa, when it is the black in Europe, sort of a alliance between both.

Country road through cane fields.Some of the tombs stand out with a light blue or pink color. And some of the vaults are sometimes real little houses, and some people hire an architect to build their final home. The most impressive one is a 2 story structure with its little staircase, its terrace and its window. But it wasn’t always like that, the town was founded in 1827 and back in those days, a lot of dead were buried on the plantations, and only rich people and nobles, could afford a nice grave. Even in cemeteries, slaves and masters wouldn’t be mixed. Nowadays every social class of the Guadeloupean society is represented. The oldest tombs seem to date from 1847, twenty years after the construction of the town.

Guadeloupe La Toussaint au cimetiére de Morne à l'Eau

In the Guadeloupe Islands, celebrating the dead is really important. Every year before All Saints Day, families start cleaning the graves, pulling weeds, and adding a fresh coat of paint on them, so they look at their best in order to celebrate the dead. The evening of All Saints Day is not a sad moment, it’s rather a celebration: you will find street vendors selling bokits, pistachios and sinoballs… It is the occasion to gather with relatives and to recall good memories.

Cemeterie night (2)

But the cherry on top of the festivities is definitely the light show: thousands of candles illuminating the 1800 tombs will leave you speechless. This year the cemetery is classified as Historical Monument, just like the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Cemeterie night

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La Fête des Cuisinières, Female Cooks Festival

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This year’s edition will take place on August 8th at 10 am in the Basilica of St Peter and St Paul, in Pointe-à-Pitre.During the month of August, Guadeloupeans honor and celebrate female chefs, bastions of Creole culinary traditions, they are known as the “Professionals of the Mouth”.

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photo-jul-14-2-29-37-pmThe Chefs wear colorful traditional dress. Their headscarves and aprons are embroidered with their emblem: St Lawrence, Patron saint of cooks. The Chefs association was created in 2001, in honor of Saint-Lawrence, who was burned alive on a grill for refusing to give his church’s property to the State. Every year, the procession leads the Chefs toward the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedrals where their flowers and utensils are blessed. It marks the beginning of a wonderful parade in the streets of Pointe-à-Pitre. Sounds of bells and tap-tap (instrument used in the past to summon the house staff) announce the cortege: a beautiful procession of colors, scents and music…blessing-basket

The parade ends at the Amedee Fengarol School, for the occasion the school changes into a scrumptious restaurant!

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Photo Credit : Aurelien Brusini- Guadeloupe Islands at the Heart Photography Book

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International “Tour de la Guadeloupe” Race

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The International « Tour de la Guadeloupe » Race takes place every year, from July 31th to August 9th, and this year is the 65th edition!

The Tour de la Guadeloupe includes 9 stop-offs, and the most important stage is “the wall  of St-Claude” (7.5 km from Gourbeyre, Basse-Terre). Last year, the Venezuelan cyclist, Jhon Nava Cavajar, won the race.

20130728_152718 This year, the “Race Against the Clock” stages in St-Claude and Les Abymes will define who is the winner is. For 9 days, Guadeloupeans will show their support to the competitors, and  bike lovers often stay on the roadside all day to cheer their champions!

Delve into this unique experience, the #1 sport in the Guadeloupe Islands is celebrated by people of all ages!

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ROUTE

PROLOGUE –  July 31th, 4:00 pm in Pointe-a-Pitre. (5.5 km)

FIRST STAGE– August 1st, 10:00 am from Pointe-a-Pitre to Sainte-Anne. (157.6 km)

SECOND STAGE–  1st Section: August 2nd, 9:00 am from Sainte-Anne to Gourbeyre.(100km)

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2nd Section: August 2nd, 3:00 pm from Gourbeyre to Saint-Claude.
(Race Against the Clock, individual, 7.5km)

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THIRD STAGE– August 3rd, 10:00 am from Gourbeyre to Anse-Bertrand. (154 km)

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FOURTH STAGE– August 4th, 10:00 am from Anse-Bertrand to Vieux-Habitant. (142.6km)

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FIFTH STAGE– August 5th, 10:00 am from Vieux-Habitants to Goyave. (148.7km)

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SIXTH STAGE– August 6th, 10:00 am from Goyave to Pointe-Noire. (146 km)

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SEVENTH STAGE– August 7th, 10:00 am from Pointe-Noire to Le Moule. (151 km)

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EIGHTH STAGE   1st Section:  August 8th, 9:00 am from Le Moule to Les Abymes. (97.1km)

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2nd Section: August 8th, 5:00 pm from Les Abymes to Les Abymes.

(Race Against the Clock, individual, 20km)

NINTH STAGE–  August 9th, 13:00 pm from Les Abymes to Basse-Terre. (123km)

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Carnival in the Guadeloupe Islands

IMG_1639Carnival is part of the Afro-Caribbean heritage. It is a major cultural event on the islands. In 1980, several federations were created in order to structure the carnival organization. The Carnival festivities begin in January, Pointe-à-Pitre and Basse-Terre host most of the entertainment. Costumes, Choregraphies and music are prepared one year in advance!

Costumes

FullSizeRender-2The themes of the groups are different every year. Costumes and floats are decorated in accordance to the themes, which is very important since there are many contests such as « the Best Costume ».

The mask is essential to the Carnival tradition. The mask is not only a material element but it also designates the character impersonated by the person who wears it. The mask is a sign of mockery and satire, you could see masks of political celebrities such as Jacques Chirac, Barack Obama or François Hollande…

But the most important masks are :

-« Mas a Kon’n » ,the Horn Mask, this costume is made with dry banana leaves.

-« Mas a fwet » , the Whip Mask, symbol of power in the rural world.

Mas a Kongo », the Tar Mask, people wear fieldworker pants called “konoka”, or shorts. They coat their entire body with a mixture of molasses in order to have a black skin, and they blush their lips with “roucou”. They represent the negros imported from Africa.

Music

During Carnival, music is made with many music FullSizeRender-3local instruments: recycled items (bottles, conch, wooden stick…), snare drums, Ka drums…And carnival groups have different classifications « Les groupes à cuivre »,   « les groupes à peau » and « les groupes synthétiseurs», click here for more info.

Among those groups, Akiyo is the most famous one in the Guadeloupe Islands and the Lesser Antilles. A very active movement, this group condemns the political system and the colonialism heritage. Another important group is Kasika, it is actually a cultural association gathering over 150 dancers and musicians. The leader of this group is Benzo (Moïse Benjamin), he won several carnival awards. The other main groups are: Matamba, Waka, Voukoum, Mas Moul Massiv or Waka Chire Band, some of those groups have already performed in New York during Brooklyn West Indian Carnival on Labor day.”

Fat Days

10469296_908937179146419_8950536762248285213_oThe « Fat days» are the most important during Carnival. The « jours gras » are Fat Monday, Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

On Fat Monday, a night parade takes place in Basse-Terre and St-François, where a snare drum contest is organized.

Fat Tuesday is the main contest day (best group, best costume, best music, election of the Queen and the King of Carnival…) with a big parade in Basse terre, the Capital City. It is the most important day of the Guadeloupe Islands Carnival. During this occasion, the Guadeloupeans cook the « Beignet de carnaval » (sort of a Carnival doughnut).

On Ash Wednesday, the crowd, dressed in black and white, gathers around Vaval, the King of Carnival (a puppet) and finally burns him while dancing and singing : « Vavalkiténou,vaval ka kiténou… » (« Vaval out ,Vaval out… »). The idea is that the King must die in order to start a new cycle, he will come back to life later on. The Ash Wednesday parade is best to be seen in Pointe-à-Pitre where AKYO the most popular carnival group is out with thousands of marchers!

« Mi-Carême » (Carême is the third Thursday of the fast) is a break between Carnival and Easter. Carnival starts again during one day and everyone dresses up as demons, in black and red, in order to celebrate Vaval’s resurrection.

Now you know everything about our Carnival! So do not hesitate to come celebrate with us!

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5 Romantic things to do on Valentine’s Day

1908107_803852929650767_8152448428387688304_nWhat about a romantic getaway in one of the most beautiful Archipelago in the Lesser Antilles on Valentine’s Day?

Here are a few things you could do on the Guadeloupe Islands.

Continue reading

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WIN A TRIP to the Guadeloupe Islands

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Enter for a chance to ‪#‎WIN‬ A TRIP FOR 2 to the Guadeloupe Islands, the ultimate winter getaway to the French ‪#‎Caribbean‬ : bit.ly/Win_Guadeloupe

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Ilet du Gosier – A piece of heaven

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You will find this charming islet in front of the Datcha beach in Gosier. You can reach it by taking the shuttle at the end of the pier by Tabarin beach. But you might as well rent a kayak or even swim to the islet, that’s how close it is to the cost! Take your mask and your snorkel and discover a large variety of tropical fishes: “demoiselle”, “sergent major”, “orphies”… You will also enjoy the charming lighthouse of the islet and of course its fine gold sand and turquoise waters… a real life paradise. Since 2003, it is under the protection of the « Conservatoire du Littoral » to assure its preservation.

10877887_10204818474035125_1456530018_nThe islet also has a lot of history, an Amerindian woman’s skeleton was discovered a few years ago right next to the lighthouse, it is 900 years old!

This uninhabited islet offers an incredible view on the Datcha beach and Basse-Terre island, it features the « Au bord de la mer » restaurant where you can enjoy a good punch and a delicious « court-bouillon de poisson ». Ilet du Gosier is the guarantee of a fun day with your family, it is safe to go with your children.

Enjoy🙂

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