Laid La­borie Back

Un­spoiled and Time­less

Tropical Traveller Magazine - - IS­LAND VIL­LAGE -

La­borie is a vil­lage on the south coast of Saint Lu­cia. It was orig­i­nally called l'Islet a Caret af­ter the Log­ger­head sea tur­tles that were found in the area. The name La­borie comes from the Baron de La­borie, a former French gov­er­nor of the is­land of Saint Lu­cia dur­ing the An­cien Régime from 17841789. La­borie is still not an un­com­mon sur­name in France. But "Borie" is a French word from the Oc­c­i­tane di­alect orig­i­nat­ing from the south of France – mean­ing a dry shed made of stockedup rocks in re­mote parts of the land, where farm work­ers would store their farm­ing equip­ment, their har­vest, their an­i­mals and some­times also to pro­tect them­selves against the el­e­ments. The French in­tro­duced large es­tates to the is­land and af­ter the Bri­tish took con­trol of Saint Lu­cia in 1814, many French landown­ers re­mained on their es­tates. In 1838 the first school in La­borie was opened. Known as the "Mico School" be­cause it was opened and op­er­ated by the Lady Mico Trust, it had 80 pupils and lasted un­til 1891. By this time a Catholic school had opened in the vil­lage. In 1907, the 18th Cen­tury church was re­placed by a larger church which opened in 1914. Dur­ing World War II, Amer­i­can forces opened a radar sta­tion on the hill of Morne le Blanc to help pro­tect the air­field that is now He­wanorra In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The rem­nants are still vis­i­ble to­day. The Cre­ole her­itage of the south­ern fish­ing vil­lage is also very vis­i­ble to­day, both in the lo­cal cul­ture and in the Kwéyòl lan­guage that is still widely spo­ken in the area. The tra­di­tions are ev­ery­where: in how peo­ple live and talk, in the ar­chi­tec­ture of the homes, in the food and drinks, in the fes­ti­vals cel­e­brated through­out the year, in the mu­sic and the arts and in the faces of the peo­ple.

Why visit La­borie?

La­borie Beach is one of the most beau­ti­ful bays on the is­land, fringed by palm trees with the most turquoise wa­ter on the is­land, lined with fish­ing boats and real work­ing fish­er­men’s shacks, sur­rounded by lush green hill­sides scat­tered with pretty houses. It is only a few min­utes drive from Vieux Fort, right off the high­way. Rudy John Beach Park has in­ter­est­ing arts and craft stores and other ameni­ties, so it’s a great place to use as a base for ex­plor­ing the vil­lage. There are shal­low reefs close to shore and right off the beach park, where snor­kel­ing un­cov­ers bright trop­i­cal fish, un­der­sea corals, some in­ter­est­ing rock fea­tures and drop-offs. The vil­lage has great old tra­di­tional houses, a tiny mar­ket­place and a lots of lo­cal rum shops and small restau­rants. Satur­day morn­ings are bustling and colour­ful as the vil­lage gets stocked up for the week­end. La­borie Catholic Church is a fo­cal point and well worth a visit if open.

The vil­lage is full of tra­di­tional old build­ings and houses.

La­borie Bay is dot­ted with fish­ing boats and a favourite an­chor­age for vis­it­ing yachts to the south.

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