People often ask why my husband and I decided to move permanently to Guadeloupe – and by permanently, I mean we are actually buying a piece of property to build a home and a small business. Up until now, we have always rented. Though we’ve lived two years or more in a few places – Morocco, France, Pennsylvania – we always knew that they were temporary homes. This time, we plan to stay. So, why Guadeloupe?
There are several reasons, and perhaps the most important is also the most banal: we like the weather. I am très frileuse, as the French put it: very intolerant of cold. We would have liked to stay in France, but after 5 years, I realized it was just too cold. Hyères has the Mistral, which can make even warm days chilly, so after a lot of research we moved to the warmest place dans l’Hexagone: Menton, whose microclimate and protective mountains result in moderate winters. Even so, I was still cold and unhappy for several months of the year, so we had to look further afield.
Remembering how much we’d loved our nine months in Costa Rica – I often remarked that if it were francophone, I could easily have stayed there forever – we decided to visit Martinique and Guadeloupe, which are overseas French departments (similar to the US state of Hawaii). We spent a month visiting the two islands, staying in two different B+Bs on each and driving all over the place. They are both beautiful, but when we found the Jacques Cousteau reserve in Malendure, with its two islets and gorgeous sea life, we were in love. That stretch of coast, from Deshaies in the north to Bouillante in the south is, in our opinion, the best place in the whole of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and that’s where we decided to live.
The rest of Guadeloupe is amazing too – it’s beautiful, the people are friendly, and we (usually) enjoy the laid-back pace of life. So this is where we are going to build our dream home.
Note: Guadeloupe is an overseas French department, and up until 2015, 90% of its tourists were from mainland France. This means that French is the official language and English is not widely spoken. To make the most of your trip, I recommend that you learn some French.