It was a little past 5:00pm. I had just returned my scooter to Chez Rodolphe on the main road into the center of Fond-du-Curé, the primary village in Terre-de-Haut. A long and endlessly rewarding day exploring this gem of an islet in the sublime Les Saintes section of the Guadeloupe archipelago was drawing to a close. A sunset toast of rhum vieux awaited me at Ô Bar just a short walk toward the ferry dock that would take me back to Basse-Terre, one of the two main Guadeloupe islands, the next day. On the way, though, I couldn’t help but stop and admire this charming little church.
Notre Dame de l’Assomption, also known more simply as Le Eglise de Terre-de-Haut, stands out among the various souvenir shops, eateries, and bars in this the most commercial corner of the island, its grand (for the area) stairs and weathered French Baroque stone facade attesting to a long and notable history.
The structure was built in the 19th century, though the inspiration for its name stems a good bit further back in time.
As the story goes, the church was named in honor of a major French victory over British invaders in Les Saintes on August 15, 1666. The date coincides with the traditional observance of the Assumption of Mary by the Catholic Church, thus the name affixed to the quaint little church.
Our-Lady-Of-Assumption remains the patron saint of Terre-de-Haut to this day. Apparently, some of the biggest celebrations of the year are held on August 15th to commemorate the historic victory and the church.
Sounds like a great reason to make a late-summer return visit to Terre-de-Haut, right..?