In and around Castries
Around 60,000 people or over a third of the population lives in the vicinity of the bustling capital of St Lucia.
For visitors, the areas north of Castries (Rodney Bay, Gros Islet and Babbonneau) are more interesting. Much of the original colonial architecture of Castries was destroyed by two devastating fires, and the town is generally hot, crowded and dirty. However, spending a few hours in the capitol will give you an interesting snapshot of local life, and there are several buildings parks and historic and cultural sites of interest. If you are driving, make sure to park in the parking garage next to the government buildings along the waterfront.
Castries things to do downtown
Architectural highlights of the capitol include the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (constructed in 1894), the Derek Walcott Square, named after St Lucia’s Nobel Laureate in Literature (1992), the Victorian-style Castries Public Library, and several traditional fretwork houses.
The Castries St Lucia Central market (constructed between 1891 and 1894 and recently renovated) and adjacent vendor’s market offer everything from exotic local produce to sweet-smelling herbs and spices, Creole food, incense, jewelry, local craft and other souvenirs. Castries is a major cruise ship port, and on some days, there can be up to 4 ships in the harbor. St Lucia’s duty free shopping centers La Place Carenage (located in town), and Pointe Seraphine (located on the other side of the Castries Bay at the main cruise terminal) offers a range of local and imported items.
The Folk Research Centre, situated on historic Mount Pleasant overlooking Castries, stores and catalogues a vast collection of data and materials covering practically every aspect of Folk history in St Lucia. This includes dance, music, musical instruments, folk tales, life on the former st lucia plantations and the Creole/Patois language. The La Toc Battery to the West of Castries is one of the islands’ best-preserved stockades.
The Morne Fortune Historic area overlooking Castries St Lucia is riddled with remains of French forts. The Government House, the official residence of Dame Pearlette Louisy, St Lucia’s Governor General It can be visited by prior appointment. The St Lucia Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on the Morne offers 2 year degree programs in areas such as Agriculture, Tourism and Hospitality, Business Management. It and also has a branch of the University of the West Indies which offers distance learning. On the college grounds, you will find the Inniskilling monument, which marks the bloodiest battle ever fought in St Lucia, when Captain Moore repelled the French revolutionary forces on 24 may 1796. Read more about St Lucia attractions in Gros islet, Rodney bay, and the rest of the island.
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