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Hotels of French Guiana

A hotel in French Guiana is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in French Guiana hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in French Guiana are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some French Guiana hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most French Guiana hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in French Guiana have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in French Guiana
An upscale full service hotel facility in French Guiana that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury French Guiana hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in French Guiana
Full service French Guiana hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in French Guiana
Boutique hotels of French Guiana are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. French Guiana boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in French Guiana may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in French Guiana
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of French Guiana travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most French Guiana focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in French Guiana
Small to medium-sized French Guiana hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded French Guiana traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service French Guiana hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in French Guiana
A bed and breakfast in French Guiana is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, French Guiana bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical French Guiana B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in French Guiana
French Guiana hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many French Guiana hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in French Guiana
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized French Guiana hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in French Guiana lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in French Guiana
French Guiana timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in French Guiana often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of French Guiana on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in French Guiana
A French Guiana motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of French Guiana for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of French Guiana motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in French Guiana

Guyane (French)
Overseas region and department of France
Flag of Guiana
Coat of arms of Guiana
Coat of arms
French Guiana in France.svg
Country France
Prefecture Cayenne
Departments 1 (all overseas regions and collectivities consist of a department in themselves.)
• President of the Assembly Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)
• Total 83,534 km (32,253 sq mi)
Population (January 2013)
• Total 250,109
• Density 3.0/km (7.8/sq mi)
Demonym(s) French Guianan, Guianan
Time zone GFT (UTC-03)
ISO 3166 code GF
GDP (2012) Ranked 27th
Total €3.8 billion (US$4.9 bn)
Per capita €15,400 (US$20,000)
Website Prefecture
Territorial collectivity

French Guiana (pronounced /ɡˈɑːnə/ or /ɡˈænə/, French: Guyane française; French pronunciation: ​[ɡɥijan fʁɑ̃sɛz]), officially called Guiana (French: Guyane), is an overseas department and region of France, located on the north Atlantic coast of South America in the Guyanas. It borders Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west. Its 83,534 km (32,253 sq mi) area has a very low population density of only 3 inhabitants per km², with half of its 244,118 inhabitants in 2013 living in the metropolitan area of Cayenne, its capital. By land area, it is the second largest region of France and the largest outermost region within the European Union. Since 1981, when Belize became independent, French Guiana has been the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still controlled by a European country.

Both the region and the department have been ruled since December 2015 by a single assembly within the framework of a new territorial collectivity, the French Guiana Territorial Collectivity (French: collectivité territoriale de Guyane). This assembly, the French Guiana Assembly (French: assemblée de Guyane), has replaced the former regional council and departmental council, which were both disbanded. The French Guiana Assembly is in charge of regional and departmental government. Its president is Rodolphe Alexandre.

The area was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The first French establishment is recorded in 1503 but the French presence didn't really become durable until 1643 and the foundation of Cayenne. Guiana then became a slave colony and saw its population increase until the official abolition of slavery at the time of the French Revolution. Guiana temporarily became a French department in 1797 but was gradually transformed into a penal colony with the establishment of a network of camps and penitentiaries spread over the coast where prisoners were sentenced to forced labor. During World War II, Guianan Félix Éboué was one of the first to stand behind General de Gaulle as early as June 18, 1940. Guiana officially rallied Free France in 1943. It abandoned its status as a colony and became again a French department in 1946. De Gaulle, who became president, decided to establish the Guiana Space Centre in 1965. It is now operated by the CNES, Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA). Several thousand Hmong refugees from Laos migrated to French Guiana in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Nowadays fully integrated in the French central state, Guiana is a part of the European Union, and its official currency is the euro. The region is the most prosperous territory in South America with the highest GDP per capita. A large part of Guiana's economy derives from the presence of the Guiana Space Centre, now the European Space Agency's primary launch site near the equator. As elsewhere in France, the official language is French, but each ethnic community has its own language, of which Guianan Creole is the most widely spoken.

French Guiana: Name

Guiana is derived from an Amerindian language and means "land of many waters". The addition of the adjective "French" in most languages other than French is rooted in colonial times when five such colonies existed (The Guianas), namely from west to east: Spanish Guiana (now Guayana Region in Venezuela), British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Suriname), French Guiana, and Portuguese Guiana (now Amapá in Brazil). French Guiana and the two larger countries to the north and west, Guyana and Suriname, are still often collectively referred to as the Guianas and constitute one large shield landmass.

French Guiana: History

Coat of Arms of French Guiana

French Guiana was originally inhabited by indigenous people: Kalina, Arawak, Emerillon, Galibi, Palikur, Wayampi and Wayana. The French attempted to create a colony there in the 18th century in conjunction with its settlement of some other Caribbean islands. In this penal colony, the convicts were sometimes used as butterfly catchers. As the sentences of the convicts were often long, and the prospect of employment very weak, the convicts caught butterflies to sell in the international market, for scientific purposes as well as general collecting. Bill Marshall, Professor of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Stirling wrote of French Guiana's origins:

The first French effort to colonize Guiana, in 1763, failed utterly when tropical diseases and climate killed all but 2,000 of the initial 12,000 settlers. During its existence, France transported approximately 56,000 prisoners to Devil's Island. Fewer than 10% survived their sentence.

Its infamous Île du Diable (Devil's Island) was the site of a small prison facility, part of a larger penal system by the same name, which consisted of prisons on three islands and three larger prisons on the mainland, and which was operated from 1852 to 1953. In addition, in the late nineteenth century, France began requiring forced residencies by prisoners who survived their hard labor. A Portuguese-British naval squadron took French Guiana for the Portuguese Empire in 1809. It was returned to France with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1814. Though the region was handed back to France, a Portuguese presence remained until 1817. A border dispute with Brazil arose in the late 19th century over a vast area of jungle leading to the short-lived pro-French independent state of Counani in the disputed territory. There was some fighting between settlers. The dispute was resolved largely in favor of Brazil by the arbitration of the Swiss government.

The territory of Inini consisted of most of the interior of French Guiana when it was created in 1930. It was abolished in 1946, when French Guiana as a whole became an overseas department of France. During the 1970s, following the French withdrawal from Vietnam in the 1950s, France helped resettle Hmong refugees from Laos to French Guiana.

In 1964, French president Charles de Gaulle decided to construct a space-travel base in French Guiana. It was intended to replace the Sahara base in Algeria and stimulate economic growth in French Guiana. The department was considered particularly suitable for the purpose because it is near the equator and has extensive access to the ocean as a buffer zone. The Guiana Space Centre, located a short distance along the coast from Kourou, has grown considerably since the initial launches of the Véronique rockets. It is now part of the European space industry and has had commercial success with such launches as the Ariane 4 and Ariane 5.

In a 2010 referendum, French Guianans voted against autonomy.

On March 20, 2017, French Guianans began going on strike and demonstrating for more resources and infrastructure. March 28, 2017 saw the largest demonstration ever held in French Guiana.

French Guiana: Geography

Forested landscape of Remire-Montjoly.
Geographic map of French Guiana

French Guiana lies between latitudes 2° and 6° N, and longitudes 51° and 55° W. It consists of two main geographical regions: a coastal strip where the majority of the people live, and dense, near-inaccessible rainforest which gradually rises to the modest peaks of the Tumuc-Humac mountains along the Brazilian frontier. French Guiana's highest peak is Bellevue de l'Inini in Maripasoula (851 m (2,792 ft)). Other mountains include Mont Machalou (782 m (2,566 ft)), Pic Coudreau (711 m (2,333 ft)) and Mont St Marcel (635 m (2,083 ft)), Mont Favard (200 m (660 ft)) and Montagne du Mahury (156 m (512 ft)).

Several small islands are found off the coast, the three Salvation's Islands which include Devil's Island, and the isolated Îles du Connétable bird sanctuary further along the coast towards Brazil.

The Petit-Saut Dam, a hydroelectric dam in the north of French Guiana forms an artificial lake and provides hydroelectricity. There are many rivers in French Guiana, including the Waki River.

As of 2007, the Amazonian forest, located in the most remote part of the department, is protected as the Guiana Amazonian Park, one of the ten national parks of France. The territory of the park covers some 33,900 square kilometres (13,090 sq mi) upon the communes of Camopi, Maripasoula, Papaïchton, Saint-Élie and Saül.

View from Île Royale

French Guiana: Administrative divisions

French Guiana is divided into 2 arrondissements, 19 cantons (not shown here), and 22 communes:

Guyane administrative.PNG

French Guiana: Climate

Climate data for French Guiana (Cayenne)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32
Average high °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 23
Record low °C (°F) 19
Average rainfall mm (inches) 380
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 20 16 22 21 26 23 18 9 4 4 11 18 192
Average relative humidity (%) 82 80 82 84 85 82 78 74 71 71 76 81 78.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 155 113 124 120 124 180 217 248 270 279 240 186 2,256
Source: BBC Weather

French Guiana experiences a tropical climate all year round.

French Guiana: Environment

Liana on a palm branch near a lake in Kourou
The grey-winged trumpeter, a species of bird commonly found in the region.

French Guiana is home to many different ecosystems: tropical rainforests, coastal mangroves, savannahs, inselbergs and many types of wetlands. French Guiana has a high level of biodiversity in terms of both flora and fauna. This is due to the presence of old-growth forests (i.e., ancient/primary forests), which are biodiversity hotspots. The rainforests of French Guiana provide shelter for many species during dry periods and terrestrial glaciation. These forests are protected by a national park (the Guiana Amazonian Park) and six additional nature reserves. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the European Union (EU) have recommended special efforts to protect these areas.

Following the Grenelle Environment Round Table of 2007, the Grenelle Law II was proposed in 2009, under law number 2010-788. Article 49 of the law proposed the creation of a single organization responsible for environmental conservation in French Guiana. Article 64 proposes a "departmental plan of mining orientation" for French Guiana, which would promote mining (specifically of gold) that is compatible with requirements for environmental protection. The coastal environment along the N1 has historically experienced the most changes, but development is occurring locally along the N2, and also in western French Guiana due to gold mining.

5,500 plant species have been recorded, including more than a thousand trees, along with 700 species of birds, 177 species of mammals, over 500 species of fish including 45% of which are endemic and 109 species of amphibians. The micro-organisms would be much more numerous, especially in the north, which competes with the Brazilian Amazon, Borneo and Sumatra. This single French department has at least 98% of vertebrate fauna and 96% of vascular plants as found in all of France and its overseas territories.

Threats to the ecosystem are: habitat fragmentation from roads, which remains very limited compared to other forests of South America; immediate and deferred impacts of EDF's Petit-Saut Dam; gold mining; poor control of hunting and poaching, facilitated by the creation of many tracks; and the introduction of all-terrain vehicles. Logging remains moderate due to the lack of roads, difficult climate, and difficult terrain. The Forest Code of French Guiana was modified by ordinance on 28 July 2005. Logging concessions or free transfers are sometimes granted by local authorities to persons traditionally deriving their livelihood from the forest.

The beaches of the natural reserve of the Amana, the joint Awala-Yalimapo in the west, is an exceptional marine turtle nesting site. This is one of the largest worldwide for the leatherback turtle.

French Guiana: Agriculture

French Guiana has some of the poorest soils in the world. The soil is low in nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, potassium) and organic matter. Soil acidity is another cause of the poor soils, and it requires farmers to add lime to their fields. All of these soil characteristics have led to the use of slash and burn agriculture. The resulting ashes elevate soil pH (i.e., lower soil acidity), and contribute minerals and other nutrients to the soil. Sites of Terra preta (anthropogenic soils) have been discovered in French Guiana, particularly near the border with Brazil. Research is being actively pursued in multiple fields to determine how these enriched soils were historically created, and how this can be done in modern times.

French Guiana: Economy

Ariane launched from the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou, on 10 August 1992.

As a part of France, French Guiana is part of the European Union and the Eurozone; its currency is the euro. The country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for French Guiana is .gf, but .fr is generally used instead.

In 2012, the GDP of French Guiana at market exchange rates was US$4.90 billion (€3.81 billion), ranking as the largest economy in the Guianas, and the 11th largest in South America.

French Guiana is heavily dependent on mainland France for subsidies, trade, and goods. The main traditional industries are fishing (accounting for 5% of exports in 2012), gold mining (accounting for 32% of exports in 2012) and timber (accounting for 1% of exports in 2012). In addition, the Guiana Space Centre has played a significant role in the local economy since it was established in Kourou in 1964: it accounted directly and indirectly for 16% of French Guiana's GDP in 2002 (down from 26% in 1994, as the French Guianan economy is becoming increasingly diversified). The Guiana Space Centre employed 1,659 people in 2012.

There is very little manufacturing. Agriculture is largely undeveloped and is mainly confined to the area near the coast and along the Maroni River. Sugar and bananas were traditionally two of the main cash crops grown for export but have almost completely disappeared. Today they have been replaced by livestock raising (essentially beef cattle and pigs) in the coastal savannas between Cayenne and Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, and market gardening (fruits and vegetables) developed by the Hmong communities settled in French Guiana in the 1970s, both destined to the local market. A thriving rice production, developed on polders near Mana from the early 1980s to the late 2000s, has almost completely disappeared since 2011 due to marine erosion and new EU plant health rules which forbid the use of many pesticides and fertilizers. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is growing. Unemployment has been persistently high in the last few decades: 20% to 25% (22.3% in 2012).

In 2012, the GDP per capita of French Guiana at market exchange rates, not at PPP, was US$19,828 (€15,416), the highest in South America, but only 49% of metropolitan France's average GDP per capita that year, and 57.5% of the metropolitan French regions outside the Paris Region.

Regional GDP of French Guiana
(at market exchange rates; values fluctuate YoY due to exchange rates)
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Nominal GDP (US$ bn) 4.63 4.59 4.53 5.06 4.90
GDP per capita (US dollars) 20,890 20,237 19,426 21,028 19,828
GDP per capita as a %
of Metropolitan France's
46.6 49.1 48.4 48.6 49.1
Sources: INSEE; IMF for the exchange rates.

French Guiana: Demographics

French Guiana's population of 244,118 (2013 census), most of whom live along the coast, is very ethnically diverse. At the 2011 census, 56.5% of the inhabitants of French Guiana were born in the region, 9.3% were born in Metropolitan France, 3.4% were born in the French Caribbean départements (Guadeloupe and Martinique), and 30.5% were born in foreign countries (primarily Brazil, Suriname and Haiti).

Estimates of the percentages of French Guiana ethnic composition vary, a situation compounded by the large proportion of immigrants. Mulattoes (people of mixed African and French ancestry), are the largest ethnic group, though estimates vary as to the exact percentage, depending upon whether the large Haitian community is included as well. Generally the Creole population is judged to be about 60 to 70% of the total population if Haitians (comprising roughly one-third of Creoles) are included, and 30 to 50% without. There are also smaller groups from various Caribbean islands, mainly Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia as well as Dominica.

Roughly 14% of the population is of European ancestry. The vast majority of these are of French heritage, though there are also people of Dutch, British, Spanish and Portuguese ancestry.

The main Asian communities are the Chinese (about 3–4%, primarily from Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province in mainland China) and Hmong from Laos (1–2%). Other Asian groups include East Indians, Lebanese and Vietnamese.

The main groups living in the interior are the Maroons (formerly called "Bush Negroes") who are of African descent, and Amerindians. The Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves, live primarily along the Maroni River. The main Maroon groups are the Saramaca, Aucan (both of whom also live in Suriname), and Boni (Aluku).

The main Amerindian groups (forming about 3%–4% of the population) are the Arawak, Carib, Emerillon (now called the Teko), Galibi (now called the Kaliña), Palikur, Wayampi and Wayana. As of the late 1990s, there was evidence of an uncontacted group of Wayampi.

French Guiana: Immigration

Place of birth of residents of French Guiana
(at the 1990, 1999, 2006, and 2011 censuses)
Census Born in
French Guiana
Born in
Metropolitan France
Born in the
French West Indies
Born in the
rest of Overseas France
Born in foreign
countries with French
citizenship at birth¹
2011 56.5% 9.3% 3.4% 0.2% 1.3% 29.3%
2006 55.3% 9.6% 3.1% 0.2% 1.4% 30.4%
1999 54.4% 11.8% 4.9% 0.3% 2.0% 26.6%
1990 50.5% 11.7% 5.2% 0.3% 1.9% 30.4%
¹Persons born abroad of French parents, such as Pieds-Noirs and children of French expatriates.
²An immigrant is by French definition a person born in a foreign country and who didn't have French citizenship at birth. Note that an immigrant may have acquired French citizenship since moving to France, but is still listed as an immigrant in French statistics. On the other hand, persons born in France with foreign citizenship (the children of immigrants) are not listed as immigrants.
Source: INSEE
Historical population
14,520 20,940 25,561 33,500 37,005 28,506 25,459 27,863 33,505 44,392 55,125 73,022 114,678 156,790 205,954 237,549 244,118
Official figures from past censuses and INSEE estimates.

French Guiana: Religion

Cayenne Cathedral. Most inhabitants of French Guiana are Catholic.

The dominant religion of French Guiana is Roman Catholicism; the Maroons and some Amerindian people maintain their own religions. The Hmong people are also mainly Catholic owing to the influence of missionaries who helped bring them to French Guiana.

French Guiana: Fertility

The total fertility rate in French Guiana has remained high and is today considerably higher than in metropolitan France, and also higher than the average of the French overseas departments. It is largely responsible for the high population growth of French Guiana.

Total fertility rate
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
French Guiana 3.87 3.93 3.79 3.73 3.77 3.47 3.79 3.80 3.73 3.57 3.49 3.37 3.38 3.50
Four overseas departments 2.32 2.45 2.42 2.35 2.38 2.40 2.46 2.48 2.48 2.46 2.42 2.39 2.39 2.44
Metropolitan France 1.79 1.87 1.88 1.86 1.87 1.90 1.92 1.98 1.96 1.99 1.99 2.02 2.00 2.00
Source: INSEE

French Guiana: Languages

The official language of French Guiana is French, and it is the predominant language of the department, spoken by most residents as a first or second language. In addition, a number of other local languages exist. Regional languages include Guianan Creole, six Amerindian languages (Arawak, Palijur, Kali'na, Wayana, Wayampi, Emerillon), four Maroon creole languages (Saramaka, Paramaccan, Aluku, Ndyuka), as well as Hmong Njua. Other languages spoken include Portuguese, Hakka, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Dutch, and English.

French Guiana: Politics

Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions

French Guiana, as part of France, forms part of the European Union - the largest landmass for an area outside of Europe (since Greenland left the European Community in 1985), with one of the longest EU external boundaries. It is one of only three European Union territories outside Europe that is not an island (the others being the Spanish Autonomous Cities in Africa, Ceuta and Melilla). As an integral part of France, its head of state is the President of the French Republic, and its head of government is the Prime Minister of France. The French Government and its agencies have responsibility for a wide range of issues that are reserved to the national executive power, such as defense and external relations.

Cayenne City Hall

The President of France appoints a prefect (resident at the prefecture building in Cayenne) as his representative to head the local government of French Guiana. There is one elected, local executive body, the Assemblée de Guyane.

French Guiana sends two deputies to the French National Assembly, one representing the commune (municipality) of Cayenne and the commune of Macouria, and the other representing the rest of French Guiana. This latter constituency is the largest in the French Republic by land area. French Guiana also sends two senators to the French Senate.

The Guianese Socialist Party dominated politics in French Guiana until 2010.

A chronic issue affecting French Guiana is the influx of illegal immigrants and clandestine gold prospectors from Brazil and Suriname. The border between the department and Suriname, the Maroni River, flows through rain forest and is difficult for the Gendarmerie and the French Foreign Legion to patrol. There have been several phases launched by the French government to combat illegal gold mining in French Guiana, beginning with Operation Anaconda beginning in 2003, followed by Operation Harpie in 2008, 2009 and Operation Harpie Reinforce in 2010. Colonel François Müller, the commander of French Guiana's gendarmes, believes these operations have been successful. However, after each operation ends, Brazilian miners, garimpeiros, return. Soon after Operation Harpie Reinforce began, an altercation took place between French authorities and Brazilian miners. On 12 March 2010 a team of French soldiers and border police were attacked while returning from a successful operation, during which "the soldiers had arrested 15 miners, confiscated three boats, and seized 617 grams of gold... currently worth about $22,317". Garimpeiros returned to retrieve their lost loot and colleagues. The soldiers fired warning shots and rubber "flash balls", but the miners managed to retake one of their boats and about 500 grammes of gold. "The violent reaction by the garimpeiros can be explained by the exceptional take of 617 grammes of gold, about 20 percent of the quantity seized in 2009 during the battle against illegal mining", said Phillipe Duporge, the director of French Guiana's border police, at a press conference the next day.

French Guiana: Transport

Cayenne, monument to French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher.

French Guiana's main international airport is Cayenne – Félix Eboué Airport, located in the commune of Matoury, a southern suburb of Cayenne. There are two flights a day to Paris (Orly Airport), served by Air France and Air Caraïbes. The flight time from Cayenne to Paris is 8 hours and 25 minutes, and from Paris to Cayenne it is 9 hours and 10 minutes. There are also flights to Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, and Belém.

French Guiana's main seaport is the port of Dégrad des Cannes, located on the estuary of the Mahury River, in the commune of Remire-Montjoly, a south-eastern suburb of Cayenne. Almost all of French Guiana's imports and exports pass through the port of Dégrad des Cannes. Built in 1969, it replaced the old harbour of Cayenne which was congested and could not cope with modern traffic.

An asphalted road from Régina to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock (a town by the Brazilian border) was opened in 2004, completing the road from Cayenne to the Brazilian border. It is now possible to drive on a fully paved road from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Surinamese border to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock on the Brazilian border.

Following a treaty between France and Brazil signed in July 2005, the Oyapock River Bridge over the Oyapock River was built and completed in 2011, becoming the first land crossing ever between French Guiana and the rest of the world (there exists no other bridge crossing the Oyapock River, and no bridge crossing the Maroni River marking the border with Suriname, although there is a ferry crossing to Albina, Suriname). The bridge was officially opened on March 18, 2017. However, since the Brazilian government is yet to complete its border posts, only passenger vehicles will be allowed through the bridge for the time being. The inauguration makes it possible to drive uninterrupted from Cayenne to Macapá, the capital of the state of Amapá in Brazil.

French Guiana: Main settlements

Population figures are those recorded in the 2013 census.

  • Cayenne: 54,709 inhabitants in the commune; 106,591 inhabitants in the urban area (which includes the communes of Cayenne, Matoury, and Remire-Montjoly); 123,085 in the metropolitan area (which additionally includes the communes of Macouria, Montsinéry-Tonnegrande, and Roura)
  • Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni: 41,515
  • Kourou: 25,793
  • Maripasoula: 10,477
  • Mana: 9,593
  • Apatou: 7,649
  • Papaïchton: 6,335
  • Grand-Santi: 6,343
  • Saint-Georges: 3,907
  • Sinnamary: 3,011

French Guiana: Military, police and security forces

The commander of the French armed forces in French Guiana since July 2009 has been General Jean-Pierre Hestin. The military there is currently 1,900 strong, expected to increase enrollment in 2014–2015.

Among the military, police and security forces in French Guiana, are the following:

  • The 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment (3 REI) of Kourou (Legion).
  • The 9th Marine Regiment (9 RIMa) of Cayenne, the Madeleine.
  • The gendarmerie and the police, divided into 16 brigades. These serve Cayenne, Remire-Montjoly, Cacao, Régina, Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock, Camopi, Macouria, Kourou, Sinnamary, Iracoubo, Mana, Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, Apatou, Grand-Santi, Papaïchton, Maripasoula and Matoury.
  • The RSMAG Regiment (Adapted Military Service) of Guyana, located in Saint-Jean-du-Maroni, with a detachment in Cayenne.
  • Various detachments corps:
    • A French Air Force platoon based at the Felix Eboué airport.
    • The platoon of the French Navy, based at the naval base of Dégrad des Cannes.
    • A detachment of the Paris Fire Brigade in Kourou, ensuring the protection of the Guiana Space Centre.

French Guiana: Culture and sports

Carnival in Cayenne
Dizé milé with a coconut ice cream and an imperial cream
Countess (cake)

At Easter, Guianans eat a traditional dish called Awara broth.

As French Overseas department, French Guiana is not a member of the Pan American Sports Organization, rather athletes compete within the French National Olympic and Sports Committee and governed by the Ligue d'Athlétisme de la Guyane, a sub-unit of the Fédération française d'athlétisme.

The novel Papillon, by the French convict Henri Charrière, is set in French Guiana. It was first published in France in 1969, describing his escape from a penal colony there. Becoming an instant bestseller, it was translated into English from the original French by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels for a 1970 edition, and by author Patrick O'Brian. Soon afterward the book was adapted for a Hollywood film of the same name.

Charrière stated that all events in the book are truthful and accurate, allowing for minor lapses in memory. Since its publication there has been controversy over its accuracy.

French Guiana: Guianan personalities

  • Léon Damas
  • Gaston Monnerville
  • Justin Catayée
  • Félix Éboué
  • Élie Castor
  • Léopold Héder
  • Lucie Décosse
  • Malia Metella
  • Christiane Taubira
  • Gadwin Springer

French Guiana: See also

  • Index of French Guiana-related articles
  • List of colonial and departmental heads of French Guiana
  • Republic of Independent Guyana.

French Guiana: References

  1. INSEE. "Recensement de la population en Guyane - 244 118 habitants au 1er janvier 2013" (in French). Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  2. INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionales de 1990 à 2012". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. French: Atlas des populations immigrées en Guyane, 2006
  4. "Guyana". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  5. [1], Convicts, Collecting and Knowledge Production in the Nineteenth Century, Clare Anderson
  6. University of Stirling. "Stirling Research Database, Prof Bill Marshall".
  7. Marshall, Bill (2005). France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc. pp. 372–373. ISBN 1-85109-411-3.
  8. "French Guiana", Encyclopædia Britannica
  9. Carlos A. Parodi (2002). The Politics of South American Boundaries. ISBN 0-275-97194-5.
  10. Faget, Dominique (April 3, 2017). "Cazeneuve calls for continuation of dialogue in French Guiana". Radio France International. Retrieved April 4, 2017. In a referendum in January 2010, French Guiana voted firmly against autonomy.
  11. Marot, Laurent (March 27, 2017). "La Guyane paralysée par les mouvements sociaux". Le Monde. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  12. "Guyane : manifestations historiques pour la "journée morte"". Le Point. March 28, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  13. "Average Conditions Cayenne, French Guiana". BBC Weather. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  14. Comité français de l’Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature (French Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature) (2003). "Guyane (Guyana)" (PDF). Biodiversité et conservation en outre-mer (Biodiversity and conservation overseas). Comité français de l’UICN (French Committee of the IUCN). Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  15. Borloo, Jean-Louis (12 January 2009). "Portant engagement national pour l'environnement (on national commitment to the environment)". Loi n° 2010-788 (law number 2010-788). Sénat français (French Senate). Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  16. French Guiana. CIA Wolrd Factbook (2004)
  17. International Monetary Fund. "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2013". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  18. IEDOM. "Guyane – Rapport annuel 2012" (PDF). p. 46. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  19. INSEE. "Le poids du spatial diminue, l’économie de la Guyane se diversifie" (PDF). Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  20. IEDOM. "Guyane – Rapport annuel 2012" (PDF). p. 136. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  21. INSEE. "T401 : Taux de chômage localisé au deuxième trimestre par département d'outre-mer". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  22. INSEE. "Fichier Données harmonisées des recensements de la population de 1968 à 2011" (in French). Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  23. Palmerlee, Danny (2007). South America. ISBN 1-74104-443-X.
  25. "Ethnologue report for French Guiana". Ethnologue (16th ed.). 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  26. "Evolution institutionnelle La Collectivité Territoriale de Guyane". Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  27. Tabor, Damon (1 April 2010) French Guiana: Interview with Colonel Francois Müller, Commander of the Gendarmes. untoldstories.pulitzercenter.org
  28. Tabor, Damon (17 March 2010) French Guiana: Welcome to the Jungle. untoldstories.pulitzercenter.org
  29. "Ponte entre Brasil e União Europeia é aberta no Amapá após 6 anos pronta". Amapá (in Portuguese). 2017-03-18. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  30. Journal of Guyana RFO TV 18 August 2009
  31. Aéroport. guyane.cci.fr
  32. If this is correct; the 'real' Papillon. Rue Rude. December 2005
  33. Randall, Colin (27 June 2005) Ex-convict aged 104 claims to be Papillon. Telegraph.co.uk

French Guiana: Further reading

  • Robert Aldrich and John Connell. France's Overseas Frontier : Départements et territoires d'outre-mer Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-521-03036-6.
  • René Belbenoit. Dry guillotine: Fifteen years among the living dead 1938, Reprint: Berkley (1975). ISBN 0-425-02950-6.
  • René Belbenoit. Hell on Trial 1940, translated from the original French manuscript by Preston Rambo. E. P Dutton & Co. Reprint by Blue Ribbon Books, New York, 194 p. Reprint: Bantam Books, 1971.
  • ISBN 0-246-63987-3 (hbk); Perennial, 2001. ISBN 0-06-093479-4 (sbk).
  • John Gimlette, Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge 2011
  • Joshua R. Hyles (2013). Guiana and the Shadows of Empire: Colonial and Cultural Negotiations at the Edge of the World. Lexington Books.
  • Peter Redfield. Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana ISBN 0-520-21985-6.
  • Miranda Frances Spieler. Empire and Underworld: Captivity in French Guiana (Harvard University Press; 2012) studies slaves, criminals, indentured workers, and other marginalized people from 1789 to 1870.
  • French Guiana : Sacred land of biodiversity – Official French website (in English)
  • Conseil régional de Guyane Official website (in French)
  • Préfecture de Guyane Official website (in French)
  • French Guiana at DMOZ
  • Wikimedia Atlas of French Guiana
  • Geographic data related to French Guiana at OpenStreetMap
  • Consular Information Sheet from the United States Department of State
  • Ethnologue French Guiana page
  • Silvolab Guyanae – scientific interest group in French Guiana
  • Article on separatism in French Guiana
  • About.com French Guiana travel site
  • Status of Forests in French Guiana
  • Officials reports, thesis, scientific papers about French Guiana (en|fr)
  • Training legionnaires to fight in French Guiana
  • The IRD's database AUBLET2 stores information about botanical specimens collected in the Guianas, mainly in French Guiana
  • James Rogers and Luis Simón. The Status and Location of the Military Installations of the Member States of the European Union and Their Potential Role for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Brussels: European Parliament, 2009. 25 pp.

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