The best overseas territories of France

Moorea, French Polynesia

It’s widely known that France is shaped like a hexagon, and while this is true for continental France, the hexagon has some other bits left that are not so clearly visible. France is in the possession of several overseas territories which are actually quite far removed from the mainland, but they still share an unbreakable link with it. Culturally, these overseas territories are a blend of French language, customs and traditions, and several other influences that come from the original inhabitants of these territories, and from immigrants as well. Many of the overseas territories of France are fascinating cultural mixes set in idyllic spots, which preserve that French je ne sais quoi. Here are some of the best overseas territories of France.

French Polynesia

The best word to describe French Polynesia is picture-perfect, and indeed, it has been the subject of several pictures, many of them painted by famous French artist Paul Gauguin, who fell in love with the islands. French Polynesia has over 130 islands, grouped into five archipelagos, and the most famous and populous of them is Tahiti. Avoid the capital of Papeete, which is one of the least scenic parts of French Polynesia, and instead head to Huahine, Maupiti, Raiatea and other small islands with more interesting towns.

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

Saint Pierre et Miquelon, photo by Andreanna Germain

In the past, France used to have vast territories in North America, but Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and the last remainders of this empire. This groups of small islands south of Newfoundland and Labrador is a nice and quiet travel destination for those who are interested in historical and cultural discoveries. The islands don’t have much urban life, but what they do have is beautiful landscapes and mild weather.


Guadeloupe is France’s portion of the Caribbean, a lush and tropical group of islands that is somewhat shaped like a butterfly. The two main islands of Guadeloupe, Basse Terre and Grande Terre, are polar opposites. While Basse Terre is green and mountainous, Grande Terre is flat, dry and has lots of beaches. Jungle waterfalls, distillery tours and some amazingly pristine beaches make this one of the best overseas territories of France.


Mayotte, photo by mwanasimba

The island of Mayotte is located off the eastern coast of Africa, between Mozambique and Madagascar. Although for more than a century it shared the same fate as the Comoros island, Mayotte choose to continue being part of France, and as of 2011, it is the country’s newest department. Mayotte is known for its spectacular diving spots, but there is much to do above the water too: hike to the top of Mount Choungui, watch maki monkeys, sea turtles and humpback whales.



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