Located on Grande-Terre, Pointe-a-Pitre is the center of Guadeloupe's largest metropolitan area. (The population is just 16,000 in the city proper, but it blends into Les Abymes, which has 58,000 residents, and Baie-Mahault with its 30,000 residents.)

Expect to be immediately immersed in the French Caribbean way of life when you arrive in Pointe-a-Pitre: Vendors hawk everything from hairpins to bouquets of anthuriums on the congested narrow streets, and the markets are some of the Caribbean's most colorful. It's best to visit the markets in the morning, and bargaining is expected.

Place de la Victoire, bordered with blooming trees and royal palms, celebrates the defeat of the English in 1794 by Victor Hugues. The Cathedral of St. Pierre and St. Paul is just off Place de la Victoire.

The city itself is an amalgam of old balconied worn-down buildings scattered between modern apartment complexes.

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