Museums and Heritage

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Heritages and Museums 

The Fort Cépérou: Off the gardened Place Léopold Héder are the remains of Fort Cépérou, perched on land bought in 1643 from the Galibi people by the first French colonists. Most of the site is now a restricted military zone, but you can still stroll around for good views of Cayenne and the river.

Fort Diamond: Positioned at the mouth of the river Mahury, Fort Diamond is at the time an important strategic defense point of the island of Cayenne to invasions. It was built between 1840 and 1849 on the site of an ancient fort built in the 17th century. The work of backup and recovery has been made e installments from 1985 until 2001. The General Council, which owns the site, organizes temporary exhibitions to enhance it.

Cultural Museum of Guyane In a lovely refurbished Creole house on Rue Madame Payée is a museum showcasing the diversity of native ethnic groups in French Guiana. You’ll get a fascinating overview of the culture and story of the native Amerindians, and later, the Creoles and the Maroons. The museum also deals with the more recent immigrants like the Haitians, Brazilians and the Hmong people from southeast Asia. There are loads of artefacts to browse, including textiles, baskets, earthenware, jewellery and weapons such as arrows.

The Departemental Museum Alexandre Franconie: In a lovely Creole mansion with pale yellow weatherboarding and blue shutters is a museum presenting a cross-section of life in French Guiana from its foundation to the present day. The galleries are a quirky miscellany of minerals, historic paintings and Amerindian crafts. You can learn the story of the notorious 19th-century serial killer D’Chimbo and swot up on Félix Éboué, one of Guiana’s most famous sons. The museum also covers those dreaded penal colonies, and you can pore over the 4,000-strong insect collection of the 20th-century clergyman and naturalist Père Yves Barbotin.

Cayenne Cathedral: Having just come through a renovation, Cayenne’s 19th-century cathedral is as splendid as ever. The architecture is in the colonial style, and work was completed in 1833, but it would be another century before the church would become a cathedral, when the diocese of Cayenne was created in 1933. Pause in front to check out the portico and balustrade, and then go inside to escape the heat. Keep an eye out for the clock, which was made in 1871, and see the pulpit, altar and confessional box, which were all crafted from local wood instead of being shipped over from France.