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French Guiana - Crique Gabrielle - v.k. photo

“From the Guiana Space Centre, a citadel of cutting-edge astronomic research, you travel on good-quality roads for a few kilometers, then transfer to a wooden boat with an outboard motor and set off along one of the tributaries of the Amazon. Within half an hour you find yourself in the middle of a primeval forest, where it feels as though you’re the first people to ever disturb this pristine wilderness.”



Practicals

Shopping

“In a Carrefour shopping center, I stumbled from one surprise to the next. In fact, it offered exactly the same range of products as it would in (continental) France: several dozen varieties of cheese, Breton butter, apples from Normandy, and fresh baguettes all lined the shelves. If I had just landed from Paris, none of this would have raised an eyebrow, but having spent the past few weeks in the Amazon jungle, the whole thing was decidedly bizarre. It’s a strange sensation to choose between many varieties of cheese, just a few kilometers from the jungle. Stepping back outside, an enormous toad hopped across our path.” (2017)

French Guiana - Cayenne - Orient Shopping Bazar - v.k. photo

French Guiana - Cayenne - market - oranges and ramboutans - v.i. photo

Public safety

Violent crime has been increasing in recent years due to discontent with grave poverty, unemployment, living condition contrast compared to mainland France.

Others

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French Guiana - Cayenne - beach - v.k. photo

Background

Destination in brief

French Guiana (Guyane Française in French) is located in the northeastern part of South America, on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. Neighbors: Suriname (west), Brazil east and south).

French Guiana lies 7,000 km (4350 miles) away from Paris, and it is, even so, a part of France. The territory is officially an overseas department, which sends representatives to the French parliament.

Size: 83,534 km² (32,253 mi²)

Population: 297,000 (2020) - 66% Black or Mulatto, 12% White, 12% East India, Amerindian, Chinese - About a third of the adult population is not born here. They are from (European) France, Brazil, China, Suriname, Haiti.   

Capital city: Cayenne

Official language: French, of course

Religion: four-fifths of the population is Roman Catholic

Currency: Euro

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 1200 Euro

Most common surname: Ho

French Guiana - commitment to France - d.g. photo

Geography

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French Guiana - France in South America - f.b. photo

History

The territory belongs to France since 1643. Unlike in the West Indies, the Amerindians of French Guiana survived their encounter with European conquerors.
The Amerindians kept the memory of colonization through a legend, called Pailanti'po. In this myth, a monster swallowing the Amerindians acts as an incarnation of the deadly diseases that the European colonizers brought there.

The local history was full of conflicts between slaves and masters, whites and blacks, the weak and the powerful.

French Guiana - road to the village church - v.k. photo

French Guiana - beach - v.k. photo

Nowadays

Social contrasts are serious in French Guiana. Villas and private swimming pools neighbour Haitian slums. Immigration is often blamed for the socioeconomic crisis.

People

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French Guiana - Cayenne - market vendors - v.k. photo

Attractions

Guiana Space Centre

French Guiana - Kourou - Ariane - v.k. photo

Cayenne

The ruins of Fort Cépérou, dating from the 17th century, overlook the capital, Cayenne, with its colorful Creole houses and street markets. Shops and cafes surround the main square called "des Palmistes" which takes its name from the many palm trees that rise there. The suburb of Remire-Montjoly is bordered by beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

French Guiana - Cayenne - v.k. photo

French Guiana - Cayenne - v.k. photo

French Guiana - Cayenne - v.k. photo 3

French Guiana - Cayenne - v.k. photo 4

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