The southern and Antarctic territories, the beauty of the wind

  • © R-Cast

The southern and Antarctic territories, the beauty of the wind

The French southern and Antarctic territories are made up, on the one hand, of three archipelagos: Crozet, Kerguelen, Saint-Paul and Amsterdam in the extreme south of the Indian Ocean and on the other hand, in Antarctica a portion of the continent: Terre Adélie (which cannot be visited). To these "cold" territories were added in 2007 the îles Eparses [Scattered Islands], located in the Mozambique Channel and to the north of Reunion (an initial tourist experiment will take place in April-May 2009).

The gateway is located in Reunion, where the headquarters of the Territory is established, and is only accessible by sea: this is the only part of French territory which can only be reached by boat.
You will embark on an amazing ship, owned by the Territory, the Marion Dufresne, which is a combination of a cargo ship, a liner, an oil tanker and a scientific research ship designed to operate safely in the most difficult seas.
There are four trips a year corresponding to the staff rotations and supply trips, three in the southern summer (November, December and March/April), and one in winter (August/September).

With each rotation, around twenty tourists and their guide discover the unique fauna with its abundance and diversity (albatross, petrels, penguins, sea-lions, sea elephants… in their thousands), raw landscapes – volcanic islands carved by the axe of the wind and the knife of the rain and the snow -, light beyond compare, a blend of sumptuous tropical sunsets, harsh icy sunlight and, if you're lucky, the southern lights.
Come and try out the roaring 40s and the furious 50s.

Don't miss

  • American Bay and its manchotière [rookery] (Crozet)
  • Port-Jeanne-d’Arc: the ruins of the only whaling base in French territory (Kerguelen)
  • Ratmanoff beach and its manchotière [rookery]
  • The phylica arborea grove (Amsterdam)
  • The three sub-austral bases

Useful information

Time difference with Paris:
+ 3 to 4 hours depending on the seasons.


Yearly average of 4.5 °C and in January-February 7.9°C

Cold and wet

Getting there:
On board the Marion Dufresne from Reunion (limited number of passengers, average journey time 28 days, 14 of which are at sea and 14 days for stops, but this may vary depending on the weather conditions)

Find out more: