Welcome to Martinique, the French “Island of Flowers”
Long the vacation destination of choice for the French and Francophiles, Martinique’s unique brand of tourism, stunning natural beauty and fascinating history make it one of the most cosmopolitan islands in the Caribbean.
Sights on the island
The Musée de la Pagerie is housed in the kitchen of the sugar estate where the future Empress Josephine—Napoleon’s first wife—was born. Though the rest of the house was destroyed by a hurricane, what remains is thoroughly fascinating. Displays include her childhood bed and Napoleon’s love letters to her. Visitors are also regaled with stories and interesting trivia about her life, like her marriage certificate was doctored to hide that she was in fact six years older than Bonaparte.
Founded in 1932, the Musée Volcanologique offers insight into the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelée that destroyed St. Pierre, the island’s then-capital, killing all but one of its 28,000 residents. Visitors can tour the nearby ruins, which include the jail cell that held the sole survivor—a prison inmate.
A tour of one of the island’s twelve operating distilleries teaches visitors about its agricultural lifeblood—rum. Made directly from cane instead of molasses, the sweet amber liquid is uniquely Martiniquais
A gorgeous stretch of golden sand on the undeveloped southern tip of the island, Les Salines is arguably Martinique’s most splendid beach. Beware the poisonous manchineel trees, which are usually marked in red. Any rainwater they drip can cause blistering and rashes.
French cuisine in the Caribbean
La Paillotte Bleue in Le Diamant serves up classic French dishes with a distinct Caribbean twist, like Tropical Crème Brulée and Antillean Roasted Camembert.
Le Plein Soleil has long attracted chic French vacationers with its modern Creole decor and creative cuisine. The latest techniques from France are used on local products, for deliciously innovative French and Creole fusion.
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