French commune
Town hall of Cayenne| map_size=220px

mapcaption=Location of the commune (in red) within French Guiana
région=Guyane ("préfecture")
canton=Chief town of 6 cantons
cp= 97300
maire= Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)
intercomm= Communauté
de communes
du Centre Littoral

longitude=-52.3269 | latitude=4.9227
alt moy=
alt mini=
alt maxi=
hectares= 2,360
km²= 23.60
sans= 50,594
date-sans=1999 census

Cayenne is the capital of French Guiana, an overseas "région" and "département" of France located in South America. The city stands on a former island at the mouth of the Cayenne River on the Atlantic coast.

At the 1999 census, there were 66,149 inhabitants in the urban area of Cayenne (as defined by INSEE), 50,594 of whom lived in the city (commune) of Cayenne proper, and the remainder in the neighbouring commune of Remire-Montjoly. The commune of Matoury (18,032 inhabitants in 1999), where the Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport is located, is also a suburb of Cayenne, but it wasn't included in the official definition of the urban area by INSEE in 1999. Including Matoury, the whole conurbation had 84,181 inhabitants in 1999. By 2007 the area's population may have exceeded 100,000.


Ignored by Spanish explorers, who found the region too hot and poor to be claimed, the region was not colonized until 1604, when a French settlement was founded. However, it was soon destroyed by the Portuguese, who were determined to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of Tordesillas. French colonists returned in 1643 and founded Cayenne, but were forced to leave once more following Amerindian attacks. In 1664, France finally succeeded at establishing a permanent settlement at Cayenne. Over the next decade the colony changed hands between the French, Dutch and English, before being restored to France. It was used as a French penal settlement from 1854 to 1938.

The city's population has recently grown dramatically, owing to high levels of immigration (chiefly from the West Indies and Brazil) as well as a high birthrate.


Cayenne is an important industrial centre for the shrimp industry. The city formerly also contained sugar refineries.


Cayenne is very ethnically diverse, with Creole, Haitian, Brazilian, European, and Hmong and other Asian communities. It is famous for its annual carnival which starts with the arrival of "Vaval" (the Carnival King) on the first Sunday after New Year's Day and continues with very popular all-night costume balls and Sunday afternoon parades every weekend until Mardi Gras.

Points of interest

Cayenne centres on its main commercial street, the Avenue Général de Gaulle. At the east end of the avenue near the coast is the Place de Palmistes and the Place de Grenoble (also known as the Place Léopold Héder). Most of the official buildings are located in this area: the Hôtel de Ville (the town hall) built by Jesuits in the 1890s, the Post Office, the Préfecture, residence of French Guiana's Préfect, and the Musée Départmental Franconie. To the west of this area lies Fort Cépérou, built in the 17th century, though now mostly in ruins. To the south lie the Place du Coq and Place Victor Schoelcher (named in honour of the anti-slavery activist) and a market.

To the south of this compact region is the Village Chinois (known as Chicago), separated from the rest of Cayenne by the Canal Laussat. It has a reputation for being a dangerous area.

Other buildings in the city include the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur de Cayenne, municipal library, the municipal museum and a museum of French Guianese Culture (Musée des Cultures Guyanaise) and a scientific research institute (IRD or Institut de recherche pour le développement, formerly Orstom).

There are some beaches along the coast, like Montjoly and Montabo, and several promontories, though the waters contain sharks.


Cayenne is served by the Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport, which is located in the neighbouring commune of Matoury.

There are many hotels in the city: Central Hotel, La Bodéga, Hôtel Ajoupa, Hôtel Amazonia, Hôtel les Amandiers, Hôtel Neptima, Hôtel Novotel and Ket-Tai.


Cayenne is the chief town of six cantons:

* The first canton (North West) has 3,935 inhabitants;
* The second canton (North East) has 5,730 inhabitants;
* The third canton (South West) has 8,017 inhabitants;
* The fourth canton (Centre) has 5,955 inhabitants;
* The fifth canton (South) has 9,750 inhabitants;
* The sixth canton (South East) has 17,207 inhabitants

Cayenne in popular culture

The French folk song "Cayenne" (named after the main city of French Guiana) tells the story of a pimp who shoots a well-to-do client who grossly disrespected a prostitute, and is then convicted and transferred to the infamous penitentiary. The song has been covered in recent years by rock/punk groups such as Parabellum.

In The Hardy Boys #12: Footprints under the Window, The Hardys' investigations take them to Cayenne.

Porsche called its first SUV the Porsche Cayenne.

External links

* [ Préfecture de Guyane] Official website
* [ Images of Cayenne and French Guiana]
* [ Cayenne photo gallery]
* [ Clickable map]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CAYENNE — Chef lieu de la Guyane, département français d’outre mer, Cayenne se situe sur l’estuaire de la Cayenne et du Mahury; elle rassemblait 41 200 habitants en 1990, soit 32 p. 100 de la population totale du département. En 1635, les Français… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cayenne — Cayenne …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • CAYENNE — CAYENNE, island separated by rivers from the mainland of French Guyana, today a French overseas department. On September 12, 1659, the Dutch West India Company (Amsterdam chamber) granted David Nassy, a refugee from Dutch Brazil, and his partners …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Cayenne — Cay*enne, n. [From Cayenne, a town and island in French Guiana, South America.] Cayenne pepper. [1913 Webster] {Cayenne pepper}. (a) (Bot.) A species of {Capsicum} ({Capsicum frutescens}) with small and intensely pungent fruit. (b) A very pungent …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cayenne — (also cayenne pepper) ► NOUN ▪ a pungent, hot tasting red powder prepared from dried chillies. ORIGIN Tupi, later associated with Cayenne in French Guiana …   English terms dictionary

  • Cayenne [1] — Cayenne (spr. Kajenn), 1) (Französisch Guyana), französische Colonie an der NOKüste von Südamerika, 1400 QM.; besteht aus dem Küstenlande am Atlantischen Ocean (im SO. u. S. an Brasilien, im W. an Niederländisch Guyana grenzend), der gegenüber… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • cayenne — 1756, from Tupi (Brazil) kyynha, mistakenly associated with town of Cayenne in French Guyana. The town name is the French form of Guyana …   Etymology dictionary

  • Cayenne [2] — Cayenne (spr. Kajenn), eine Variation des Whistspieles, s.d …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Cayenne [3] — Cayenne (spr. Kajenn), 1) (C. à fond chine, spr. C. a fong schihn), halbseidenes Zeug mit Streifen, zu Sommerkleidern für Männer u. Frauen; in der Schweiz fabricirt; 2) Sorte französischer Leinwand …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Cayenne [1] — Cayenne (spr. kăjenn ), Kartenspiel, s. Whist …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Cayenne [2] — Cayenne (spr. kăjenn ), Insel an der Küste von Französisch Guayana, im NW. durch den Fluß C., im SW. und S. durch den Tour del Isle vom Festland getrennt, 11 km lang, 8 km breit, 420 qkm groß, ist im N. hügelig, im S. niedrig, hat eine Regenzeit… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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