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This island is acclaimed for its warm people, its geography of 425 square miles of verdant lush mountainous landscapes, rolling hills, pristine waters with unspoiled beaches and coves crowned by the towering Mount Pelée volcano. From exploring the island's rich heritage, its contemporary art and shopping scenes to enjoying rum tasting, hiking the rain forest and exciting water sports, Martinique is truly "Magnifique".
Bateaux dans la baie de Saint-Pierre
Martinique is located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea. In 1502, Christopher Columbus landed on Martinique. It was inhabited by Caribs, who called the island Madinina, which means ‘Island of Flowers.’ Three decades passed before the first party of French settlers landed on the northwest side of the island. There they built a small fort and established a settlement that would become the capital city, St Pierre.
On May 8, 1902, in the most devastating natural disaster in Caribbean history, the Mount Pelée volcano erupted violently, destroying the city of St Pierre and claiming the lives of its 30, 000 inhabitants. Shortly thereafter, the capital was moved permanently to Fort de France. St Pierre, which had been regarded as the most cultured city in the French West Indies, was eventually rebuilt, but it has never been more than a shadow of its former self.
Martinique is a volcanic island, with many geological variances. No two hikes will be the same, either in topography or difficulty. Be sure to wear some good shoes. Martinique’s natural wonders, headlined by majestic Mount Pelée, inspire awe and wonder among eco-travel enthusiasts. Two-thirds of the island is designated as protected parkland, affording visitors a wide range of nature-themed vacation adventures – hiking, kayaking, canyoning, horseback riding, enjoying a 4×4 tour, and more!
Martinique has some of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever swam. The water is clear and blue where you can spend a lot of time snorkeling. There is a huge variety of fish, caves, coral, and my personal favorite, turtles.You can’t really go wrong with any of the beaches on the Caribbean Sea Side of the island, as the waters are all very calm. On the Atlantic side of the island, the water is much more rough and caution is advised.
Plage des Salines
Martinique's culture and history have a deep influence on the arts. Birthplace of the famed poet, Aimé Césaire, Zouk and Napoleon’s bride, Empress Josephine, Martinique boasts a rich cultural heritage kept alive in the island’s museums and exciting annual festivals. Martinique's history also resonates in the island's mix of European, African, and Caribbean music. Biguine for exemple is a form of ballroom music whose bèlè roots are evident in the drums and tibwas, but whose use of clarinets, trombones, and banjos recalls New Orleans jazz.
Located on the north end of the island, Saint Pierre sits at the foot of Mount Pelée and was once the capital of Martinique. It was known as the Paris of the Caribbean, where those with money and influence would visit and spend their winters. In 1902, it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelée and all but one person perished. Walk around the town, see the ruins, watch the fishermen and visit the shops. It’s a lovely town.
Martinique stands alone in the world of authentic rum production - The Rum Capital of the World, Martinique is home to 12 brands, each produced utilizing a unique rum method yielding blends comparable to fine cognacs. The rums of Martinique follow their own unique processes, methods and time-proven traditions evolved over centuries of rum production. Awarded worldwide, it is a part of your culinary experiences not to be missed during your stay in Martinique. White, Amber or Old, you will succumb to its robes and colors both visually and with your taste buds. The distilleries where the precious nectar is produced are open all year round for visits, during which you can, among other things, taste and buy your favorite(s). Martinique rums are the only rums to carry the exalted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation formerly reserved for the finest wines. Free tasting is available at all of the island’s distilleries.
A tour of Habitation Clément will teach you all about the finest rums
Best Restaurants and Cuisine Martinique - Martinican gastronomy is the fruit of French expertise, African generosity, a mix of Indian spices and other Caribbean and European influences. Its generous and diverse cuisine is a reflection of the generous and cheerful nature of its people. World-renowned for its cuisine, Martinique’s restaurants feature the best of French and Creole gastronomy. Seafood abounds, prepared Creole-style with spices, or in a classic French manner with herbs. Here too we say "Bon Appétit "!
Nothing can beat fresh tropical fruits from Martinique
La piscine de l'hôtel Coco
Restaurant Le Petibonum
Art at Habitation Clément
For travelers who want an unforgettable experience, the French Caribbean Island of Martinique has so many things to offer from strolling along the Bay of Fort-de-France (a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World) taking a dive in its crystal clear waters, discovering the traditional Yole Boat recently listed among the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage, or tasting the most prestigious A.O.C. rum in the world, to name just a few.
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