Île Royale

French Guiana

Once the administrative headquarters of the penal settlement, Île Royale has several restored prison buildings, including a fine prisoner-built chapel and a restaurant-guesthouse where it's possible to eat an excellent lunch and even spend the night. The Centre Spatial Guyanais also has a huge infrared camera on Île Royale.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby French Guiana attractions

1. Director's House

0.18 MILES

This breezy old house holds a very interesting history display (in French and English), including some old photographs from the penal colony days.

2. Île St Joseph

0.61 MILES

With its eerie solitary-confinement cells and guards' cemetery, Île St Joseph is overgrown with coconut palms, though it does have a good white-sand beach…

3. Île du Diable

0.71 MILES

Covered with a thick foliage of palms, rocky Île du Diable (Devil's Island) was where the most high-profile prisoners were kept, including Alfred Dreyfus…

4. Musée de l'Espace

10.42 MILES

Don't miss the excellent Musée de l'Espace within the Centre Spatial Guyanais, with informative displays in English and French.

5. Centre Spatial Guyanais

10.58 MILES

Visiting the Centre Spatial Guyanais and (if you're lucky) seeing a rocket launch are two of French Guiana's biggest highlights. Both need to be arranged…

6. Fort Cépérou

29.66 MILES

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…

7. Musée Départemental

29.71 MILES

The Musée Départemental features a frighteningly large stuffed black caiman, as well as other preserved local critters, an ethno-botanical display and an…

8. Musée des Cultures Guyanaises

29.78 MILES

The small and unexceptional Musée des Cultures Guyanaises is devoted to Guiana's early history, from its geologic formation through precolonial,…