Martinique

Your current location says the Caribbean, but your mind tells you you’re in France. Martinique is one of the most unique Caribbean Islands for it feels like a French city placed on the other side of the Atlantic. Not only can you find French influences in its preserved historical sites but also the overall island essence. But culture is only a tiny piece of this island paradise, which is dominated by rainforests and a volcano reaching towards the heavens. So, bonjour to the magical Martinique, where beautiful memories blossom on this ‘Island of Flowers.’

One of the many islands formerly occupied by the Arawak tribes before Europeans arrived, Martinique was taken over by the French in 1635, who then introduced an era of slavery, that’s long past but never forgotten. Slavery was abolished in 1848, but visiting La Savane des Esclaves lets you time-travel to this dark age. It’s a recreated village that freed enslaved people, with 25 traditional huts and interactive activities that provide a peek inside what life was like in the village. Another important sight is the series of statues of the Mémorial de l’Anse Cafard that gaze towards the ocean. The statues were erected in homage to enslaved Africans who never made it across the ocean. Tourists can also visit several historical sites like the 17th century Fort Saint Louis and former sugar production sites. Habitation Clément is one of the most prominent, but it was later converted into a distillery. Château Duboc, another prominent production site is now a historical museum.

Nature has also played a key role in shaping Martinique. The looming Mount Pelée erupted in a major catastrophe in 1902, destroying the former capital, St. Pierre, and leaving behind many sunken ships for divers off-shore to discover. The capital was relocated to Fort-de-France, where it remains today. Although Mount Pelée is still an active volcano, its mysticism has become one of the most popular natural attractions on the island. Hike up its mountainsides to see the lush vegetation growing from the volcanic landscape and ascending into the clouds surrounding its peak, or walk above the canopy in the Jardin de Batala, a beautiful botanical garden filled with tropical island plants.

Be sure to also explore the spectacular beaches and waters of Martinique. Set your mind at ease when relaxing on the golden sand shores of Anse Figuier, lounge in the palm tree shade at Grande Anse du Diamant, or surf the waves at Pointe Faula, all popular beaches on the island.

French flags still wave prominently over many sights around Martinique. Tourists can experience the island’s French spirit in the capital, Fort-de-France, characterized by the buzzing Market Hall filled with island-fresh fruits, attend French theatrical performances at the Théâtre Aimé Césaire, or wander through boutiques and shops lining the lively streets of downtown.

An island getaway at the crossroads of the French-inspired way of life and the beautiful nature which defines the Caribbean, Martinique captures your heart, making it almost impossible to leave once you experience its wonders.


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