French Southern and Antarctic Lands (FR)

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“Below the 40th latitude there is no law; below the 50th no god; below the 60th no common sense and below the 70th no intelligence whatsoever.” – Kim Stanley Robinson


French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF) is an overseas territory (French: Territoire d’outre-mer or TOM) of France, which is administered from its headquarters at Saint-Pierre on Réunion Island. The French Southern and Antarctic Lands are among the most isolated places on Earth.

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands is divided into five districts: Adélie Land (Terre Adélie) is the French claim on Antarctica. The Dumont d’Urville Station typically houses a winter population of about 33, but rises to about 78 souls during the Antarctic summer. The Dumont d’Urville research station was the filming location of the documentary March of the Penguins (2005). The Crozet Islands (Îles Crozet) are uninhabited, except for the research station Alfred Faure (Port Alfred). The Crozet group consists of six main islands. The Crozet Islands have no permanent civilian population. Residents consist of visiting military personnel, officials, scientific researchers and support staff. The Kerguelen Islands (Archipel des Kerguelen) group are volcanic islands in the southern Indian Ocean approximately equidistant between Africa, Antarctica and Australia. Kerguelen’s weather is harsh, with rain, sleet or snow falling more than 300 days a year, and winds (“Furious Fifties”) blow continuously from the west averaging 110 km/hr (68 mph) year-round and sustained winds of 150 km/hr (93 mph) are commonplace. The lone chapel on the island is called Notre Dame du Vent (Our Lady of the Wind). Port-aux-Français is the capital settlement of the Kerguelen Islands. The port station is located on the Gulf of Morbihan, and has about 45 inhabitants in winter, but can rise to more than 120 in summer.The Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses) consist of four small coral islands, an atoll, and a reef in the Indian Ocean around Madagascar. The Scattered Islands have no permanent population. St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands (Îles Saint Paul et Amsterdam) group are also located in the southern Indian Ocean, south of Madagascar. The St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands are an ecoregion comprising two volcanic islands in the southern Indian Ocean. The only way to visit the islands is via the French research vessel Marion Dufresne II, which services the Martin-de-Viviès research station on Amsterdam Island.

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Adélie Land (Terre Adélie)

Adélie Land
> Dumont d’Urville Station

Crozet Islands (Îles Crozet)

> Port Alfred Faure

Western Group (L’Occidental)

Île aux Cochons (Pig Island)
Île des Pingouins (Penguin Island, literally Auk Island)
Îlots des Apôtres (Apostle Islets)

L’Oriental (Eastern Group)

Île de la Possession (Possession Island)
Île de l’Est (East Island)
Îles Crozet (Crozet Islands)

Kerguelen Islands (Archipel des Kerguelen)

> Port-aux-Français

Île Foch (La Pyramide Mexicaine)
Île Howe
Île Saint-Lanne Gramont
Île du Port
Île de l’Ouest
Île Longue
> Port-aux-Français
Îles Nuageuses (including Île de Croÿ, Île du Roland, Îles Ternay, Îles d’Après)
Île de Castries
Îles Leygues (including Île de Castries, Île Dauphine)
Île Violette
Île aux Rennes (a.k.a. Reindeer Island or Australia Island)
Île Haute
Île Mayès

Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses)

> Saint-Pierreb

St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands (Îles Saint Paul et Amsterdam)

> Martin-de-Viviès

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