The official language of Guadeloupe is French, but Creole is still widely used by a large segment of the population. English is spoken only in large tourist developments. Guadeloupe’s country code when calling from foreign countries is 590. If you are calling mainland France or another French overseas department from the department of Guadeloupe (which includes Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy), simply dial the national 10-digit number of the person you are calling. To place a call to a different country or to a French overseas territory, dial the international prefix 00 + the country code.
A brief Creole phrasebook
Here are some expressions you will often hear to help you get by!
Bonswa: Good evening
Sa ou fé?: How are you?
Sa ka maché: I’m doing well.
Si ou plé: You’re welcome.
Ka ki là?: Who’s there?
Ka sa yé?: What is it?
Resté la, an ka vin!: Stay there, I’m coming!
Tanzantan: Sometimes, occasionally
I pa bon: That’s bad.
Annou ay!: Let’s go!
Gidé mwen: Guide me
Ti-bo: A kiss
Vini: Come here
Bagail la chô: It’s very hot!
Mi plisi!: It’s a pleasure!
Mwen aimé or doudou: I love you, darling.
Pa ni problem: No problem.
Tiembè raid, pa moli!: Stay well!
Fait bon i bon memm!: It’s really excellent!
An nou zouké ô swé a: Let’s go dancing this evening.
Ka fè?: How old are you?
An kay fè on ti poz: I’m going to rest for a while.
Ba mwen an CRS souplé: May I have a punch, please? (punch: lemon, rum, sugar)
The majority of Guadeloupe’s population is Catholic or Hindu (among those of Indian origin), but there are also Jewish and Muslim communities as well as Baptists, Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others.
Island customs require a festive outfit for attending worship services.
The holidays observed in Guadeloupe are the same as those in mainland France. Only a few additional holidays are celebrated:
February: Carnival, the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
27 May: Day to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
21 July: Victor Schœlcher Day (former deputy for Martinique and Guadeloupe).
August: Guadeloupe Cycling Race.
August: Cooks Festival, Pointe-à-Pitre.
August: Ox-pulling competitions.
November - April: Cockfighting competitions.