Things to see and do - Martinique
Leaving for Martinique
Where to go?
Martinique Travel guide
Martinique : Michelin's recommendations
When the plane descends for its landing at Lamentin Airport, 7,000 kilometres from Europe, a green diamond looms into view: that's Martinique, dominated by a capricious monster, Mount Pelée. Beyond the capital, Fort-de-France, the south reveals its magnificent beaches of golden sand on the Caribbean Sea.
Many visitors never stray from the southern tip of the island at Pointe-du-Bout. But beyond the postcard images, this smallest of French overseas departments is a large and complex cultural crossroads. "We are a composite here," asserts the writer Patrick Chamoiseau. "We talk about our multiple languages, skins, and races."
Like its gastronomy, Creole identity has borrowed from the different cultures which have succeeded each other on the island: Amerindian, African, European, and East Indian. Aimé Césaire, the famous poet of négritude, summed it up this way: "we wanted to be full-fledged Frenchmen, and we ended up becoming our own special brand of French."
On the Atlantic façade, characterised by its plantations and small villages, planters' houses languish among a sea of banana trees and sugarcane. In the most famous of them, Habitation Clément, you can learn about how straw, amber and old rum aren't meant to be drunk at the same time of day! Enjoy the vibrant, singsong folklore of this Caribbean land, nicknamed the "flower island" for its luminous colours and luxuriant vegetation.
Martinique : Must-see towns and regions
Saint-Pierre is no longer the influential 30 000-strong town it used to be, since the fateful eruption of Mount Pelée on 8 May 1902. But Saint-Pierre, a pretty town of 5 000 inhabitants, has risen fro...
Fort-de-France, administrative capital of Martinique, is a genuine harbour city. The panorama of St-Louis Fort jutting into the bays of the Flamands and Carénage is moreover best appreciated if you ar...
Grand’Rivière, the northernmost village of Martinique, is particularly isolated. A winding road leads you through the tropical forest and over two rivers to this village, sheltered from the wind at th...
The seafront, lined with colourful Creole houses and a fishing district, dotted with fishing boats and coconut trees, depict the charm of Vauclin, a quiet village off the main road. Initially devoted ...
Today a picturesque fishing village sprinkled with traditional colourful houses, Christopher Columbus was said to have moored here in 1502. Paul Gauguin also stayed here in 1887 and a small museum is ...
Languishing by the beach lined with coconut trees, the fishing village of Tartane is a genuine haven of peace and quiet. Colourful fishing boats lying on the beach and nets waiting to be repaired bear...
Off the beaten tourist track down the coast between Le Marina and Ste-Luce, down the river of the same name, this pleasant village is delightfully peaceful. Not to be missed for its market and pretty ...
Nicknamed "Little Switzerland", the town of Morne-Vert, perched at an altitude of over 430m, is appreciated for its cool climate. Nestling at the foot of the high peaks of the Pitons du Carbet -, Pito...