Death in Paradise: Head to Guadeloupe for a sundowner at Jack Mooney’s favourite beach

The detective lives on one of the Caribbean archipelago's most beautiful beaches - and works in a priest's office

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Ardal O’Hanlon may play the British detective abroad to perfection in Death in Paradise, but the real star of the show is the stunning Caribbean location.

The fictional island of Saint Marie is filmed on Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France whose official language is French. Guadeloupe is made up of two connecting islands, Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre. Basse-Terre is the less developed and where most of the filming takes plac

There aren’t any big resorts, shopping centres or public services, so hiring a car or getting a local taxi driver to be your tour guide is the best way to explore. The beaches are vast stretches of soft sand, the towns are full of Creole character and the area is packed with familiar places for fans of the show.

Death in Paradise, BBC Pictures, SL
Death in Paradise, BBC Pictures, SL

Fort Royal Hotel

At the northern tip of Basse-Terre is the Fort Royal Hotel, which acts as base camp. Filming goes on for nearly six months a year, so some actors prefer to live in a villa with their family, but the majority of the crew, as well as the guest stars, stay at the hotel.

For sheer convenience, a lot of scenes are also filmed here. A bride was shot with a speargun before falling from one of the balconies on to the rocks below in series one – and DI Goodman had his own fall in the last series.

The beach and bar have also made appearances on screen. Cast and crew all congregate here after work for a swim and a cocktail. “It’s hard looking at the water and not being able to get in, but once we’ve wrapped for the day, that swim after work is the best thing about filming in Guadeloupe!” O’Hanlon’s predecessor Kris Marshall told us.

Deshaies

A beautiful little town with a main road full of colourful shops and restaurants as well as a marina, Deshaies (you pronounce it de-hay) doubles as Honoré, Saint Marie’s centre. It’s where the police station and also Catherine’s Bar are located, and where the local market is erected should a storyline require it.

The police station is actually the office of the local priest, who helpfully vacates the premises. Beautiful as the setting is, however, perched above the town with a view of the sea, it was Marshall’s least favourite location. “The Honoré police force can’t afford air conditioning, so being in there for hours on end is sticky work…” he revealed.

La Perle Beach

The location of DI Mooney’s shack is one of the most beautiful spots on the island, with its miles of unspoilt beach fringed by palm trees. Between shoots, the shack is taken down to prevent it being washed away – in their winter months the tide comes in and the beach is eroded. The foundations are still visible, however, and you probably won’t find a more tranquil spot on Guadeloupe.

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La Perle Beach, Basse-Terre

Botanical Gardens

A short drive from the town is this breathtaking spot, with its lovely café perched at the top of a waterfall and paths taking you past tropical bird menageries and flamingo pools. It’s also where DI Richard Poole, played by Ben Miller, was killed in series three. Tucked behind the mango and palm trees is the beautiful Villa Coluche, which is available to hire. The spectacular view may make you feel you’ve died and gone to heaven.

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