After another midnight departure and a steady twelve hour sail from beautiful Dominica we arrived in Deshaies, Guadalupe. This picturesque town is the principle location for the popular UK television show ‘Death in Paradise’. The show is pleasant, mindless escapism. Despite the title, there is little unpleasantness to ruin your cosy Sunday night viewing. The story is the same every week – a group of off-islanders visit, one of them is murdered, and one of the others did it. In typical British Agatha Christie fashion it is always played out with the detective piecing the crime together and identifying the culprit in front of the assembled suspects. The perfect sunny antidote to a cold wintery British Sunday night, Death in Paradise is watched with the log fire blazing, amid dreams of warmer and more exciting far away destinations. With its tropical climate, authentic Caribbean vibe and laid back, no-rush attitude the fictional island of Saint Marie beckons us, with a tantalising glimpse of another world.
So although Deshaies is a lovely, but actually fairly unremarkable French West Indies town, boasting a fantastic river walk (that we really wanted to do, but it rained so much the next day it was just too dangerous), and a pretty beach fronted by welcoming bars and restaurants, for the Brits, and our family, this is actually so much more. It is the culmination of years of Sunday night yearnings to be a part of the place that enters our homes for an hour each week.
So we explored with vigour and remarkably found absolutely no mention of the show anywhere! Deshaies is very French, and we met no other British visitors, and so it obviously isn’t something they feel will promote the town.
Walking around we spotted the tall church tower often seen in the show and discovered the ‘police station’ location is actually the church hall. When we walked into a bar, and I asked in my halting French for a couple of beers, and, by the way is this bar used in a British TV show, the lady was both surprised and delighted. Yes, she said, this is Catherine’s bar, and went on to explain they had just been notified of the next series being given the go ahead.
Chris & I sat drinking our cold beers, overlooking the beach and our yacht, in Catherine’s bar, imagining the team from Death in Paradise next to us chatting about the latest murder, and therefore fulfilling our often wished-for Sunday night dream. We were actually surrounded by a number of French tourists and locals who were completely oblivious to our contemplation. But they probably also didn’t have any reason to hope ‘Death’ was not actually on the agenda ‘in Paradise’… Of course the most exciting things that happened were our making use of the well-funded local bibliotheque for boat school and also a French ‘shopping’ lesson so the kids could practice in the boulangerie to buy the bread and croissants!