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Death in Paradise locations in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean

Where is TV series Death in Paradise filmed? Discover the real-life Saint Marie island on a tour of Death in Paradise locations around Deshaies on the island of Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean.

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Where is Death in Paradise filmed? Discover the real-life Saint-Marie island on a DIY tour of Death in Paradise filming locations around Deshaies in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean.

Outside the rain’s lashing down, the wind’s blowing a gale and the temperature is well below freezing. So you turn on the TV to be greeted with sunny skies, sandy beaches, palm trees and colourful streets (plus a dead body or two, but we’ll skate over that bit).

On air during the worst of the British winter, it’s no wonder the BBC TV series Death in Paradise has become so popular, with its 13th series hitting UK TV screens in 2024.

Yes this series about a slightly bumbling British detective solving murders on a Caribbean island might be a little bit formulaic – and you do have to wonder how many people can possibly be knocked off on one tiny island. But when it’s cold and grey outside, Death in Paradise is like a dose of virtual sunshine being beamed into your living room.

Death in Paradise filming locations

Deshaies, Death in Paradise location Guadeloupe
Deshaies, main filming location for the show

Where is Death in Paradise filmed?

The series is set on the Caribbean island of Saint Marie, which supposedly lies just off the coast of Guadeloupe. But you’ll have trouble tracking it down on any map. Saint Marie island is a figment of the writers’ imagination, but the gorgeous locations you see on screen do exist, and in reality most of them are found on Guadeloupe’s Basse-Terre island.

Death in Paradise is what first introduced me to Guadeloupe, so I couldn’t resist tracking down some of its filming locations when I visited the island. But would everything be as picture-perfect as it looks on screen or is there any TV trickery at work?

Guadeloupe in the Caribbean
Deshaies beach and a parrot at the Botanic Gardens

Where are the Death in Paradise locations?

On the north-west coast of Basse-Terre, Deshaies is the epicentre of all things Death in Paradise in Guadeloupe. In the show it’s Honoré, capital of Saint Marie, and is where the cast and crew are based when they film in Guadeloupe for six months each year.

Deshaies is the pretty town you see in the aerial shots, with a red-roofed church and colourful buildings set around a semi-circular bay surrounded by jungle-covered hills. In real life, it’s a fairly sleepy fishing port with waterfront bars and restaurants that are a favourite stop for yachties sailing the Caribbean – and definitely not a hotbed of crime.

One thing I discovered when I started looking for Death in Paradise locations is just how many of them are in and around Deshaies. As well as the main filming sites, it also crops up as the harbour where people arrive or leave the island, it’s in a lot of background street scenes, and practically every posh rental villa in the area has had one murder in it.

The waterfront in Deshaies, Guadeloupe
The waterfront in Deshaies

Death in Paradise filming locations around Deshaies

The show’s location team have done a clever job in making a small stretch of coast in the north-western corner of Guadeloupe look like a whole island worth of different locations. Which is good news if you want to explore them yourself, as their concentration around Deshaies makes it easy to do a do-it-yourself Death in Paradise location tour.

Here’s where to find the main Death in Paradise filming locations – from the detective’s beach hut and Catherine’s bar to the sites of some of the most iconic murders.

If you’re short on time or don’t have a car, you can spend the day in Deshaies (reachable by taxi or bus from the island’s capital Pointe-à-Pitre) and explore the main locations on foot. But if you want to see further afield, there are a couple of guided tours available though Karukra Experiences and Low-Key Tours*, or you could hire a car and driver.

Deshaies harbour, Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe
Deshaies harbour

Honoré police station

One of the show’s most important locations is Honoré police station. It’s located next to Deshaies church in the centre of town, so is really easy to find. In real life, the police incident room was Deshaies’ priest’s office and the cells next door were the church hall.

If you’re visiting outside of the filming season (normally May to October), the police station is a small museum which is set up as it is in the show. You can see the Honoré Police sign, sit at the detective’s desk and buy a few souvenirs. Out front there’s a car park where they park the police jeeps, which has been used for a street market in a few episodes.

One thing you don’t see on screen though is a cemetery – and they’d clearly need one with that murder rate. There’s actually a big cemetery on a hill overlooking Deshaies but it’s usually edited out of filming, though you can sometimes spot it in the background.

Police station TV location in Death in Paradise from Deshaies Guadeloupe
Honoré police station

Catherine’s bar(s)

Another regular location is Catherine’s bar (owned by Catherine Bordey – mayor of Saint Marie island and mother of original detective Camille Borday). It’s compulsory for each episode feature at least one drinking session in the bar, either mid-case when there’s a tricky problem to solve or to celebrate solving the murder (no one gets away with it!).

We found the beachside terrace used in the show (shown in the photo at the top of the post) at the northern end of the bay, just outside a restaurant called Le Madras. Le Madras was closed for the day so we didn’t get to have our beachside beer or look inside, but I did find a very tasty pina colada at another Deshaies bar with a Death in Paradise connection.

In the first series, a different, bigger bar was used as Catherine’s bar. This one is called La Kaz and is just south along the waterfront from Le Madras. Apparently filming used to block the street and hold up traffic so they had to move, but there are few photos hanging on the walls which show scenes from the show back when they used to film in there.

Le Kaz bar in Deshaies, Death in Paradise location Guadeloupe
Outside La Kaz

Honoré church

Its location next to the police station means that Deshaies church often featured in passing shots, but it took until series 10 until it finally got its own starring role on screen. In episode five, a concert pianist is murdered and his funeral is held in the church. And it also featured in the 2022 Christmas special as the venue for a school Christmas carol concert.

In real life it’s the Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul, and is often used by local residents for services. Building work was started in 1840 but a misunderstanding between the parishioners and the bishop meant it took until 1947 for it to be finished. You can go inside to take a look around, or attend mass (in French) to listen to the singing.

Deshaies, Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe
Deshaies church

The beach hut

If there was one location in Death in Paradise that sold me on visiting Guadeloupe, it has to be the beach where the detective lives in a perfectly rustic beach hut right on the sand. This picture-perfect spot is found at Anse de la Perle beach, three miles north of Deshaies.

In reality there are a few bars at one end of the beach and a little road behind the sand so it’s not quite as remote as it looks on TV, but it’s every bit as gorgeous. The actual beach hut gets dismantled between filming because a lot of the sand on the beach gets washed away in winter storms. But off season you can sometimes see foundations at one end of the beach.

One thing I spotted too after watching the show again is how many times this beach is used for other scenes. There are a couple of islands off-shore – a fairly big one (called Kahouanne, used as a private island in an episode from the third series) and a smaller one.

Once you know they’re there, you can spot them in the background in lots of beach scenes which supposedly take place in different locations around the island!

Anse La Perle beach in Guadeloupe, Caribbean
Beautiful Anse de la Perle beach

The Botanic Gardens

A mile south of town, Deshaies Botanic Gardens are a colourful riot of tropical flowers, flamingos and parrots – and as you probably guessed there’s been a murder too. And not just any old murder either, this is where the show’s first detective Richard Poole (played by Ben Miller) came to a sticky end with an ice pick in the first episode of series three.

Filming was done in a private villa inside the gardens, with its own swimming pool and amazing coastal views from the terrace. You can see the villa from the gardens but if you want to get closer you’ll have to hire it out – it sleeps 10 and starts from €2000 a week.

Deshaies' Botanic Gardens, Death in Paradise filming location Guadeloupe
Deshaies’ Botanic Gardens

The zoo

Saint Marie Zoo was location for series eight, where a zookeeper was murdered with a tranquiliser gun. In real life it’s the Zoo de Guadeloupe au Parc des Mamelles, which is 30 minutes down the coast from Deshaies. The zoo is home to 85 different species from the Caribbean and Guyana, from big cats to tiny reptiles, spread across four acres of jungle.

One of the best parts of the zoo is its treetop walkway, which also featured in the show. A network of wobbly narrow wood and rope bridges runs 50 feet above the ground. You’re high up among the thick green tree canopy with great views down to the animal enclosures.

The Zoo de Guadeloupe au Parc des Mamelles
The Zoo de Guadeloupe

The hotel

From the far end of Anse de la Perle beach, there’s a big white building in the next bay that looks a bit like a pile of sugar cubes. This is the Langley Fort Royal* hotel, where most of the cast and crew stay during filming, either in the main hotel or the cute pointed-roofed bungalows. But you don’t need to stay there to have a drink in the bar and a look around.

In another bit of inspired recycling, the hotel, bar and beach in front have appeared in many different episodes – including one where a bride was shot with a speargun and fell from a balcony in series one and where TV presenter drowned in series eight.

Langley Fort Royal hotel in Guadeloupe
Langley Fort Royal (photo © Langley Fort Royal)

Death in Paradise in Guadeloupe

With Death in Paradise being so popular – especially in the UK, but it’s also shown in the US, Canada and Australia – I was surprised how little was made of it in Guadeloupe. We spotted a fe other people taking photos of the police station in Deshaies, but most visitors to Guadeloupe are French and many of them have never heard of the show.

So there’s not a lot of tourism around Death in Paradise and its filming locations in Guadeloupe – other than an occasional cruise tour group – which makes it feel even more like you’re discovering the real-life Saint Marie island… and hopefully living to tell the tale.

Death in Paradise location map

Click on the map to open an interactive Google Maps version

If you’re looking for the exact position of any of the Death in Paradise filming locations, here are the longitude and latitude details for each of those mentioned above:

  • Honoré police station: Church hall 16.30655, -61.79384
  • Catherine’s Bar (current): Le Madras 16.30756, -61.79448
  • Catherine’s Bar (early series): La Kaz 16.3057, -61.79461
  • Honoré church: Church of St Peter and St Paul 16.3067, -61.79384
  • Honoré harbour: 16.3051, -61.79581
  • Detective’s beach: Anse de la Perle 16.34044, -61.7793
  • Botanic Gardens: 16.29935, -61.798
  • Langley Fort Royal Hotel 16.34707, -61.77613
  • Zoo de Guadeloupe au Parc Des Mamelles: 16.17921, -61.75114
Catherine's Bar Death in Paradise filming location – aka Le Madras
Catherine’s bar

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Where is Death in Paradise filmed? Discover the real-life Saint Marie island on a DIY tour of Death in Paradise filming locations around Deshaies in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean | Death in Paradise locations | Murder in Paradise locations | Saint Marie island | Death in Paradise GuadeloupeWhere is TV series Death in Paradise filmed? Discover the real-life Saint Marie island on a DIY tour of Death in Paradise filming locations around Deshaies in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean  | Death in Paradise locations | Murder in Paradise locations | Saint Marie island | Death in Paradise Guadeloupe

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Gordon

Friday 3rd of May 2024

If it is set on Guadaloupe why is not "Death in Paradise " in French? There are plenty of English speaking islands in the West indies

Lucy Dodsworth

Wednesday 8th of May 2024

It's actually set in the fictional island of Sainte-Marie and is only filmed in Guadeloupe.

David

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

We have just returned from Guadeloupe. Very friendly and helpful residents. Scenery is amazing. We stayed at the Fort Royal for a few days and walked through woods from the hotel to Anse de La Perle keeping an eye out for the sets on the beach. It interesting reviewing the episodes where Fort Royal is used and commenting where liberties had been taken with the locations. I'm still trying to determine the location of the airport used in the series as the main airport (Pointe-A-Pitre) is a proper international airport. The village of Dehe is unspoilt by Guadeloupean standards. The nearby Botanical Gardens are worth a visit.

The southern area of Basse-terre at Trois Riviere is more populated with amazing views across to the offshore islands of Les Saintes. South of Grand-terre by comparison is industrialised ( comparatively speaking). Beware of La Toubana hotel (great location but expensive and 'insects' may be a problem ). Overall the islands are certainly worthy of a place to visit and I will remember it for years to come.

Ellen

Thursday 4th of April 2024

Visited a lot of the locations you described the last few days and will do some more thanks to your post.

Adding one location: the town hall / mairie in Pointe Noir is the Government House

Ellen

Sunday 7th of April 2024

@Lucy Dodsworth, and we believe the observatory near Basse-Terre has been featured as well, but couldn’t visit behind the fence in the weekend . (15.9804140, -61.7035500)

Lucy Dodsworth

Friday 5th of April 2024

Great thanks for the tip!

Mel moreton

Sunday 4th of February 2024

Hi can I ask a few question please ? It’s my husbands 60th in July and we are massive fans of the show, we want to come out in December , is that a good time? Is 2 weeks too long , we want to stay in Deshaies and visit locations, would we need a car ? Rough cost ? Are there plenty of restaurants to eat and shops to buy food if we go self catering ? I think that’s all for now , thank you all

Lucy Dodsworth

Wednesday 14th of February 2024

Hi, I have some other posts on Guadeloupe which cover a lot of those questions and breakdown the costs – https://www.ontheluce.com/tag/guadeloupe/. If you have two weeks I'd suggest splitting it between Grande Terre and Basse Terre to see more of the island. You do need a car and there are plenty of places to eat.

Chris Freville

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Are you saying if we visit during the filming season (May to October I believe) then we won’t be able to see inside Honore police station at all?

Lucy Dodsworth

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Hi, yes it seems that the police station isn't accessible during filming so you would only be able to see it from the outside.