Saint-Laurent du Maroni, a historic penal colony, had the distinction of having been founded by and for prisoners. Camp ruins are easily located at Saint-Laurent, which is located near the River Maroni in western French Guiana, even seventy years after the colony was forced to close.
You should see directly what the author went through if you’ve read the novel Papillon. The expansive, murky Maroni River, which shares a natural border with Suriname, offers countless opportunities for ecotourism adventures. You may explore ancient rainforests, meet Native American cultures, and observe rare species that most of us have only seen in films.
- Best Things to Do in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni (France)
- 1. Explore the Historic Prison Camp
- 2. Visit the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church
- 3. Wander through the Jardin Botanique de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
- 4. Explore the Fort Cépérou
- 5. Take a Boat Tour on the Maroni River
- 6. Discover the Musée de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
- 7. Enjoy a Picnic in the Parc de la Canopée
- 8. Go Birdwatching in the Maroni River Delta
- 9. Explore the Village Amazonien
- 10. Visit the Marché de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
- 11. Explore the Saut Pararé Waterfall
- 12. Take a Guided Tour of the Mangrove
- 13. Attend a Traditional Dance Performance
- 14. Relax on the Beach at Plage les Hattes
- 15. Explore the Maroni River by Kayak
- 16. Visit the Maison du Patrimoine
- 17. Attend the Maroni Jazz Festival
- 18. Discover the Local Cuisine
- 19. Take a Day Trip to the Îles du Salut
- 20. Explore the Crique Gabriel
- 21. Visit the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
- 22. Go Fishing on the Maroni River
- 23. Take a Guided Tour of the Historic City Center
- 24. Attend the Carnival of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
- 25. Visit the Musée du Bagne
- 26. Explore the Maroni River by Canoe
- 27. Discover the Traditional Medicine of the Amerindians
- 28. Take a Scenic Drive along the Route Nationale 1
- 29. Attend the Festival des Fleurs
- 30. Relax and Unwind in a Hammock
Best Things to Do in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni (France)
1. Explore the Historic Prison Camp
Start your visit to Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni by exploring the historic prison camp, which served as a penal colony during the 19th and 20th centuries. Learn about the dark history of the area and gain insight into the lives of the prisoners who were once held here.
2. Visit the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church
Take a moment to visit the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, a beautiful example of colonial architecture. Admire the intricate details of the church’s facade and step inside to experience its serene atmosphere.
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3. Wander through the Jardin Botanique de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at the Jardin Botanique de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush gardens and discover a variety of plant species native to the region.
4. Explore the Fort Cépérou
Discover the historical significance of Fort Cépérou, a former military fortification. Climb to the top of the fort for panoramic views of the city and the Maroni River.
5. Take a Boat Tour on the Maroni River
Embark on a boat tour along the Maroni River and soak in the breathtaking natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Learn about the river’s significance to the local communities and enjoy the peacefulness of the water.
6. Discover the Musée de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
Visit the Musée de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni to delve deeper into the history and culture of the region. Explore the museum’s exhibits, which showcase the diverse heritage of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and its surrounding areas.
7. Enjoy a Picnic in the Parc de la Canopée
Pack a picnic and head to the Parc de la Canopée for a relaxing afternoon surrounded by nature. This park offers plenty of green spaces, walking trails, and picnic areas, making it the perfect spot for a family outing.
8. Go Birdwatching in the Maroni River Delta
Grab your binoculars and venture into the Maroni River Delta for a birdwatching adventure. Spot a variety of bird species, including herons, egrets, and kingfishers, as you explore this unique ecosystem.
9. Explore the Village Amazonien
Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture of French Guiana by visiting the Village Amazonien. Learn about the traditional way of life of the local Amerindian communities and discover their customs, crafts, and cuisine.
10. Visit the Marché de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Marché de Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, a bustling market where you can find fresh produce, local handicrafts, and traditional food. Engage with the friendly vendors and sample some of the region’s delicacies.
11. Explore the Saut Pararé Waterfall
Embark on an adventure to the Saut Pararé Waterfall, located just outside of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. Hike through the lush rainforest and reward yourself with a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters of the waterfall.
12. Take a Guided Tour of the Mangrove
Discover the unique ecosystem of the mangrove by taking a guided tour. Learn about the importance of this coastal habitat and observe its diverse plant and animal life.
13. Attend a Traditional Dance Performance
Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending a traditional dance performance. Witness the vibrant costumes, rhythmic music, and energetic movements that are characteristic of the region’s traditional dances.
14. Relax on the Beach at Plage les Hattes
Escape the heat and unwind on the beautiful sandy beach of Plage les Hattes. This beach is known for its nesting sea turtles, so keep an eye out for these magnificent creatures as you enjoy the sun and surf.
15. Explore the Maroni River by Kayak
Get active and explore the Maroni River by kayak. Paddle along the river’s calm waters and take in the stunning scenery that surrounds you.
16. Visit the Maison du Patrimoine
Step back in time at the Maison du Patrimoine, a historical house that showcases the traditional architecture and lifestyle of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. Explore the various rooms and learn about the town’s rich heritage.
17. Attend the Maroni Jazz Festival
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the Maroni Jazz Festival, be sure to attend this vibrant celebration of music. Enjoy performances by local and international jazz artists against the backdrop of the Maroni River.
18. Discover the Local Cuisine
Indulge in the flavors of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni by sampling the local cuisine. Try dishes such as poulet boucané (smoked chicken), acoupa (a local fish), and cassava bread, which are all staples of the region’s gastronomy.
19. Take a Day Trip to the Îles du Salut
Embark on a day trip to the Îles du Salut, a group of small islands located off the coast of French Guiana. Explore the ruins of the former penal colony and enjoy the tranquility of these secluded islands.
20. Explore the Crique Gabriel
Discover the natural beauty of the Crique Gabriel, a small creek surrounded by lush vegetation. Take a dip in the creek’s refreshing waters or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
21. Visit the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises
Expand your knowledge of Guyanese culture by visiting the Musée des Cultures Guyanaises. This museum showcases the diverse cultural heritage of French Guiana through its exhibits on art, history, and folklore.
22. Go Fishing on the Maroni River
Join a local fishing excursion and try your luck at catching some of the Maroni River’s abundant fish species. Enjoy the tranquility of the river as you cast your line and wait for a bite.
23. Take a Guided Tour of the Historic City Center
Explore the historic city center of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on a guided tour. Learn about the town’s colonial past and admire the well-preserved architecture of its buildings.
24. Attend the Carnival of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
If you’re visiting during the carnival season, don’t miss the Carnival of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. Join in the festivities, watch colorful parades, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this annual celebration.
25. Visit the Musée du Bagne
Gain further insight into the history of the penal colony by visiting the Musée du Bagne. This museum provides a comprehensive look at the lives of the prisoners who were once held in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni.
26. Explore the Maroni River by Canoe
For a more adventurous experience on the Maroni River, opt for a canoe tour. Navigate through the river’s winding channels and enjoy the thrill of paddling through the pristine wilderness.
27. Discover the Traditional Medicine of the Amerindians
Learn about the traditional medicine practices of the Amerindian communities by visiting a local healer. Gain insight into the healing properties of various plants and herbs used in traditional remedies.
28. Take a Scenic Drive along the Route Nationale 1
Enjoy a scenic drive along the Route Nationale 1, which connects Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni to other towns in French Guiana. Admire the lush rainforest, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes along the way.
29. Attend the Festival des Fleurs
If you’re visiting in September, make sure to attend the Festival des Fleurs. This vibrant flower festival showcases the region’s diverse flora through colorful displays, parades, and floral competitions.
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30. Relax and Unwind in a Hammock
After a day of exploring, find a quiet spot and relax in a hammock. Let the gentle swaying motion lull you into a state of tranquility as you take in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
With so many exciting things to do in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, you’re sure to have a memorable and enriching experience in this charming town in French Guiana.