Les Abymes ([lɛz‿a.bim]) is the most populated commune in the French overseas region and department of Guadeloupe, in the Lesser Antilles. It is located on the west side of the island of Grande-Terre, and is part of the metropolitan area of Pointe-à-Pitre, the largest urban area in Guadeloupe.
The inhabitants of the commune are known as Abymiens or Abymiennes.
Les Abymes is located some 3 km north-east of Pointe-à-Pitre, 7 km east of Baie Mahault, and 10 km south-west of Morne-à-l'Eau. Access to the commune is by Route nationale N1 from Baie-Mahault in the west which passes along the southern border of the commune and continues south as the N4. The N5 branches off the N1 and goes north-east through the centre of the commune and continues north-east to Morne-a-L'eau. The N11 branches off the N5 on the south-east of the town and continues north-west then west rejoining the N1. The D106 road also goes north from the commune to Vieux Bourg. The Route du Palais Royal passes north-east through the commune to join the N5. The Route de Chazeau branches from the Route du Palais Royal and goes north-east to Doubs.
Access to the Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport is from the N11.
Les Abymes is integrated into the urban area of Pointe-à-Pitre and, like the rest of the island, has a tropical climate.
The islands have been occupied since pre-Columbian times. Some remains have been found in the Dothémare area but the most remarkable were those found in Belle Plaine where surveys conducted by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles (DRAC) in 2006 revealed the existence of a sizeable town dated from 1000 and 1200 AD (Troumassoid culture).
The first village, located a few kilometres from the current urban centre, was founded in 1691. It consisted of a few houses and experienced some development through the cultivation of sugar cane, cocoa, and coffee. A Parish Church was built in Les Abymes in 1726.
Les Abymes belongs to the community of communes called Cap Excellence which brings it together with Pointe-à-Pitre and Baie-Mahault. The commune is divided into five districts:Les Abymes 1st Canton with 9,754 inhabitants;
Les Abymes 2nd Canton with 14,559 inhabitants;
Les Abymes 3rd Canton with 12,109 inhabitants;
Les Abymes 4th Canton with 16,807 inhabitants;
Les Abymes 5th Canton with 9,825 inhabitants.
List of Successive Mayors
(Not all data is known)
Les Abymes has twinning associations with: Boucherville (Canada) since 1988.
In 2010 the commune had 58,534 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1961. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.Population Change (See database)
Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)
Most of the economic activity of Les Abymes is related to the presence of the Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport (formerly Aéroport du Raizet). The airline Air Caraïbes has its headquarters in Les Abymes.
Although not a resort, Les Abymes is the second most important economic centre of Guadeloupe after the industrial zone of Jarry. The Milénis shopping centre is located in the commune. The "Family Plaza Complex" including a multiplex cinema, a shopping mall, and a leisure centre is due to open in 2015.
There are several educational institutions in the commune:
Junior high schools:The Collège du Bourg ;
The Collège du Raizet ;
The Collège Alexandre-Isaac ;
The Collège Saint-John-Perse ;
The Collège Excellence-Sportive ;
Sixth-form colleges/senior high schools:Lycée Jardin-d’Essai - General sixth-form/high school and technological high school
Lycée Général Providence - General sixth-form/high school and technological high school
Lycée La Persévérance - private school for general and technological education
The Apprentice Training School for the Chamber of Crafts of Guadeloupe.
The commune also hosts the headquarters of the Rector of the Academy of Guadeloupe. A new building is under construction in the Dothémare-Providence ZAC scheduled for completion in the first quarter 2015.
The University Hospital (CHU) of Pointe-à-Pitre / Les Abymes was the largest on the island in 2013 bringing together some 40 hospital services covering all medical fields with a total capacity of 862 beds with 319 doctors, 120 interns, and 3,000 hospital workers. The hospital is to be rebuilt at Perrin (commencing 2016 for delivery in 2019).
The Polyclinic of Guadeloupe is located at Morne Jolivière and is a private care centre with a total capacity of 110 beds including 20 beds for maternity.The Sonis Cultural Centre
The Renée Élie Hall at Chazeau
The Joseph Théodore Faustin Hall
A Multiplex Cinema at the "Family Plaza Complex" (under construction, expected completion June 2015)
The Félix-Proto Community Centre (under construction, expected completion end of 2015)
The commune has a number of buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:A Revenue Office on Rue Frédéric (1932)
The former Town Hall on Rue du Général Delacroix (1933)
A Sepulchral Monument on Rue du Général Delacroix (1932)
The Joseph Ricou Hospital on Rue de l'Hôpital (1931)
The Market in the Place du Marché (1931)
The War Memorial (1937)
The Petrelluzzi House at Morne-Fleuri (20th century)
The Mamiel Dwelling (19th century)
Other sites of interest
The Taonaba Mangrove House
The Perrin and Belle Plaine Channel
A Memorial from 1889 for the centenary of the French Revolution
The Abymes, Land of convergence Monument at the entry to the town showing the location of different communities on the island.
La Mulâtresse Solitude (1772–1802), a statue erected in 1999 in the Baimbridge district in memory of resistance against slavery, by the sculptor Jacky Poulier.
A Statue of Nelson Mandela erected in 2014 at the Petit-Pérou roundabout in memory of the President of South Africa, by the sculptor Jean Moisa
The commune has two religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments:The Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception (1930)
A Presbytery at Rue Schoelcher (1932)
Other religious sites of interest
A Hindu Temple
The Stade René Serge Nabajoth (capacity: 7,500 people)
Inter-communal Swimming Pool at Dugazon
Golf (9 holes)
The Centre of Sports Resources, expertise, and performance (CREPS) of Antilles Guyana is located in the commune, on an area of 9 hectares on the site of the old Darboussier stadium.
Jeunesse Sportive Abymienne, football and Handball
Le Siroco, football
Jeunesse Evolution, football
La Juventa, football
la MJC Abymes, football, Basketball
JCA (Jeunesse Cycliste des Abymes), cycling
CSCA (Convergence Sportive Cycliste des Abymes), cycling
VO2C (Vélo d'Or du Centre de la Caraïbe), cycling
AS Police, cycling
BRUC (Boisripeaux Rugby Club), rugby
Admiral T (born 1981), reggae-dancehall créole artiste
Christine Arron (born 1973), athlete
Blackartel (born 1974), artiste of reggae, ragga, and dancehall
Nathalie Dechy (born 1979), tennis player
Adrianna Lamalle (born 1982), athlete
Gianni Mina (born 1992), tennis player
Michel Morandais (born 1979), basketball player
Thomas Phibel (born 1986), footballer
Florent (born 1981), basketball player. Older brother of Mickael Pietrus
Mickaël Piétrus (born 1982), NBA player, 11th pick in the 2003 NBA Draft to the Golden State Warriors. He is currently playing for the Toronto Raptors.
Jacques Schwarz-Bart (born 1962), jazz saxophonist
David Sommeil (born 1974), footballer
Ronald Zubar (born 1985), footballer
Philippe Guillard (born 1961), rugby player
Ludovic Vaty (1988), basketball player
Kery James (born 1977), rapper, producer, interpreter
Pascal Chimbonda (born 1979), footballer
Teddy Riner (born 1989), judoka
Livio Nabab (born 1988), footballer at SM Caen
Wilhem Belocian (born 1995), athlete
Miguel Comminges, professional football player
Karla Homolka aka Emily/Leanne Bordelais, convicted serial killer