Located on the smaller of Guadeloupe’s two “butterfly wing” lobes, Basse-Terre is the capital of the French overseas department, although smaller than Point-a-Pitre on Grand Terre. It was the island’s first town, founded in 1643, and Fort Saint Charles, now called Fort Delgres, was built in 1650 to protect against English attacks. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, with its separate Bell Tower, and the Town Hall dating from 1889, which holds seven paintings added in the 1930s and now all registered historical landmarks. The island offers many picturesque fishing villages now welcoming tourists, including Deshaise near Grand Anse beach and Saint Claude in the forested hills. The towering volcano of La Soufriere is part of the National Park, as is the Reserve Cousteau at Pigeon Island, where divers and snorkelers flock to reefs that enchanted the late undersea explorer. The towering Chutes de Carbet waterfalls are another popular natural attraction.