Courtesy of the Emerald Estate
Slave Memorial by Shutterstock
Martinique: Experience the Caribbean Heritage
nown as the ‘island of flowers,’ Martinique offers travelers an experience like none other. An overseas department of France in the Lesser Antilles, the island is famous for its colorful flora, lush mountains, tropical forests, and stunning coastline, but what really sets it apart is the distinct mix of Creole and French cultures that can be felt everywhere from the warmth of its people to its cuisine, music and monuments. Spend the day exploring Fort-deFrance, Martinique’s capital city, and discover impressive cultural landmarks: the exquisite 19th-century Schoelcher Library, the seaside fortress Fort Saint-Louis, and the imposing Saint-Louis Cathedral. Another essential stop is the Aimé Césaire Museum, set up in the former office of the celebrated Martinican poet, playwright, and politician. About an hour south of Fort-deFrance is La Savane des Esclaves, an open-air museum dedicated to the history of Martinique, winner of a Travelers’ Choice award from TripAdvisor. No visit to southern Martinique would be complete without seeing the spectacular Diamond Rock, a 574-foot-high basalt island off the shore of the Grande Anse du Diamant, an idyllic sandy beach. Opposite Diamond Rock, the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial is made up of twenty colossal white statues commemorating the slave ship that sank there in 1830. Or head up north to visit the city of Saint-Pierre, also known as “the Paris of
54 THIRD QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
the Caribbean,” which was destroyed when Mount Pelée erupted in 1902. The remaining charred building facades, including a church and a theater, hint at the sophistication of Saint-Pierre. A highlight to visit is the newly renovated Franck A. Perret museum. Modern art is also honoring SaintPierre with 32 giant totems created by Caribbean artists. Another highlight of the north—and one that also boasts a breathtaking view of Mount Pelée—is the 60-acre nature park Domaine d’Emeraude, a must-visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Martinique’s exceptional biodiversity. Take a leisurely stroll along more than two miles of footpaths in the landscaped forest.
Aimé Césaire Theater by A. Omere
Lambis grilles by L. Chamoiseau
And of course, all over the island you’ll have the opportunity to sample Martinique’s distinctive cuisine, which draws on African, Indian, and French traditions. Experience
the famous mix of warm hospitality and French savoir-faire as you indulge in Creole specialties, fresh seafood, spicy curries, baguette sandwiches, artisanal sorbets and ice creams. For an authentic Martinican experience, order a plate of accras—crispy, tender codfish fritters—and a Ti-Punch cocktail made with famous Martinican rums. No matter where your journey takes you on this French Caribbean island, you’ll discover why Martinique, c’est magnifique!