Welcome to Martinique, French Caribbean!
Martinique has two aliases: the old Arawak name is "Madinina" which means "island of flowers". The other is "tropical France".
Both these names are absolutely correct. In Martinique you'll find an abundance of tropical greenery, both in exquisitely maintained flower gardens and in the tropical rainforest.
Martinique is an overseas territory of France, which means it is completely like a French province, with a French atmosphere. The differences are of course the climate and the people. If you like your croissant and café au lait in the morning, your three course lunch with one or two glasses of wine, your gourmet dinner in the evening, this is the place to be! And you are enjoying all that in the tropical climate.
The best of two worlds combined in one island!
Martinique geographical: From the 4500 ft volcano "Montagne Pelée" in the North of the island Martinique gradually slopes down to gentle rolling hills in the South called "mornes". The best beaches with tranquil waters are found at the Southern part of the island, more exciting beaches are found at the windward side. Great hiking can be done in the North, the most challenging of which is the climbing of Pelée.
from some brief spells of Dutch, English and French occupation, Martinique
has been under French government. When sugarcane growing and processing
became a major industry (it still is by the way) people from Africa were
brought in to fulfill the labor demand. As a result you will see the
beautiful people of Martinique having skin colors ranging from ebony to
white and everything in between.
Martinique rum is so special that it even has an appellation controlée of its own, come and try it!
A major event was the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902. St. Pierre, in that time the main city of Martinique with a deep water harbour was completely destroyed in a matter of hours. Everybody died except one person: he was in the thick walled prison and got away with burns. The volcano is dormant at the moment and St. Pierre is definitely worth a visit!
What we think from a Yachting perspective: This
place is GREAT! for shopping. Fort de France used to be the main yachting
hub, together with Anse Mitan, but since hurricane Omar this area has had a
lot less activity from visiting yachts.
Right now Le Marin is the palce to be, there are great chandleries (bit expensive though) and best of all, a huge supermarket with their own dinghy dock!
What we think from a Vacationer's perspective:
OK, the beaches are not
much compared to the Grenadines, but if you want to enjoy France with a
Caribbean twist Martinique is perfect.
American Airlines now has a weekly flight to Martinique and there are many flights a day from Paris.
Travel tip: Combine your stay in Martinique with a cruise through the Grenadines on one of our crewed charter yachts
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