Origin of Fort Napoléon
Located at the top of a hill called “Mire” in Terre de Haut Island, Fort Napoléon has been built in the 19th century, more precisely in 1867. The name of the Fort comes from Napoléon III. Although it was a military fortress, the Fort rather served as a jail until the early 20th century, so it is still in good condition.
In 1973, the fortress became a museum thanks to Les Saintes Association for the Heritage conservation. With about 100 000 visitors a year, Fort Napoléon is now considered as the historical and cultural museum of Les Saintes Archipelago and was listed historic monument in 1997. Fort Napoléon has wonderful collections of historical artifacts. You will be able to see multiple items related to the sea and fishing, wooden huts, local furniture and crafts such as the traditional hat called Salako. The famous battle of Les Saintes which occurred in 1782 is a major event in Les Saintes Archipelago history. If you want to have a guided tour of the Fort, it is possible. The welcoming and friendly native staff will be more than happy to help you find out more.
Outside, there is a nice botanical garden called “Jardin exotique du Fort Napoléon”. The garden is full of succulent plants* such as cactus or aloe vera and multiple others varieties. The botanical garden is also the place where you will be able to discover several iguanas. Fort Napoléon overlooked the stunning Bay of Les Saintes reaching 114 metres high. From the fort, you will have an extraordinary view of Dominica, Marie-Galante Island, as well as Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre Island.
*Succulent plants: A plant that has thick leaves or stems which store water.
Directions: 15 minutes walk from Terre-de-Haut Pier.
Opening Times and Prices: Open every day from 9am to 12:30pm (Except bank holidays). For the price is up to 5€ for adults and 2€ for children under 12 years old.