Leave Fort-de-France on the coast road, passing through charming fishing villages and beautiful scenery. In St Pierre, once the capital of Martinique, you'll see what remains of the city that was destroyed when Mt Pelée volcano erupted in 1902.
“Nestled between the island of Dominica and Saint Lucia of the Lesser Antilles group of islands is the island of Martinique. Throughout the ages, Martinique had long been sought after for its natural splendor. Like most islands in the Caribbean archipelago, the island history speaks of tales of exploitation and bitter wars that existed among the European powers that dominated the high seas then. The result of this turbulent and violent history is an outcome of a people with a rich embroidery of cultures and traditions. In spite of the similarity of its past with the other islands in the Caribbean beneath the surface, you will find subtle differences that makes this alluring “Island of Flowers”, a place which the inhabitants are so proud to call “Home” and to share with their visitors.”
History & Culture - Before Christopher Columbus christened the island “Martinique”, it was known as “Madininia”, which means” Island of Flowers”, by the original inhabitants, the Carib Amerindians. Largely ignored by the Spanish, the island became an important sugar cane colony of the French in the 1650s.The rich volcanic soil contributed to the wealth derived from the sugar cane trade and was a source of much contention between the British and French. In addition, the boom in the sugar trade also led to the importation of the African slaves to this island. Today the descendents of these slaves makes up the bulk of the ethnic composition of Martinique’s population.
The legacies left by these African slaves are evident in the vibrant expression of the cuisines and festive celebrations of this enchanting island. Intertwined with the influences of the French, the franco-creole cuisines are simply “magic” found nowhere else in the Caribbean. As for the festive events, Truman Capote, the author of “Music for Chameleons,” described the Carnival celebrations of this island, which runs from February 22nd to the 25th as being “as spontaneous and vivid as an explosion in a fireworks factory”.
Franco-Creole Cuisine - Many of us associate the Caribbean with awe at the mysticism of the Caribbean “magic”, the Obeah or better known as Voodoo. For Martinique, its magic lies in its cuisine. Here the sorcerers are the chefs with a fusion of sophistication and exotic tastes. The islanders show the same passions for gourmet cooking just like their colonial master. Most of the Martiniquais dine out as the norm and there are over 150 restaurants for visitors to try out.
Sightseeing - The rich heritage left behind by the French can be seen also in the various sites around the capital city, Fort de France. There are diverse selections of museums and historical relics that visitors can visit to have a greater insight into the legacies of a once glorious empire.
Fort de France - The city is the business and administrative hub of the Martinique with numerous tourist attractions. Most of these attractions are congregated within or around the city:
The Cyparis Express - The "little train of St. Pierre," offers a trouble-free method to reach the historic town of St Pierre.
Martinique's Museums - The Martiniquais are proud of their museums. There are over a dozen of them on the island. Even if they may not be able to compete with the large museums of Paris, each is uniquely different with captivating insights into the island's history. They are small yet leave visitors contented and enriched.
- Centre d'Art Musée Paul Gauguin.
- Musée Départemental de la Martinique
- Earth & Sciences Discovery Center
- Musée Régional d'Histoire et d'Ethnographie
- La Poterie
- Musée de Poupées Végétales or Doll Museum
- Musée du Chateau Dubuc
- St. James Sugar Plantation And The Musée Du Rhum
- Maison de la Canne
- Fonds Saint-Jacques and Musée du Père Labat
- Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires.
- Ecomusée de Martinique
Nature & Wildlife
Sailing and Yachting - The island of Martinique is perfect for sailing and yachting. Whether on rented boats or aboard yachts, boat or crewed, Martinique has it all. Boat charters are available at the marinas of Le François Le Marin, Le Robert, Pointe du Bout and Ste-Anne.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling - The ideal warm waters around the island provide a rich habitant for the exotic marine life that populates the reefs off the coast of Martinique. There are also incredible shipwrecks waiting for the underwater explorer to unravel. Some of the popular dive sites include Diamond Rock, Ilet la Perle and the shipwrecks off St-Pierre. The rich coral gardens around Anse Mitan, Anses d'Arlet, Pointe du Bout and Ste-Anne provides excellent snorkeling opportunities for those wishing to savor the beauty of the coral reefs.
Golfing - Golfing visitors to this island paradise will also have the chance to tee off from the Robert Trent Jones designed 18-hole course at the Golf de l'Impératrice Joséphine in Trois Ilets.
Like all Caribbean islands. Martinique is endowed with a tropical climate. Its dry season running from December to May is the peak season for visitors to this island. Depending on your priority for a perfect weather or a lower rate for the hotels accommodations, you can choose to go during peak season or low season that runs from June to November.
Leave Fort-de-France on the coast road, passing through charming fishing villages and beautiful scenery. In St Pierre, once the capital of Martinique, you'll see what remains of the city that was destroyed when Mt Pelée volcano erupted in 1902. More
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