Sharing its name with the island, this small city is the capital of Guadeloupe and is known for its pretty squares, public gardens and narrow streets, with the volcano La Soufriere looming behind it all. There's a nice waterfront boulevard lined with palm trees that is popular with joggers, the Boulevard du General-de-Gaulle.

The Palais de Justice and Prefecture up on the hill in the old Carmel quarter are majestic reminders of the colonial era. Stop at the colorful fruit and spice market by the water (across from the bus station) before going to Fort Delgres. The Market Clock inside was designed by architect Ali Tur back in 1932.

History buffs may also want to visit the Gerty Archimede Museum, dedicated to the French-Antilles' first woman attorney. Gerty Archimede (1909-1980) fought for Guadeloupean women's emancipation and right to education.

Basse-Terre comes alive particularly during carnival time, when the city hosts one of the biggest parades of the season.

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