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Posted by Cayla Capri
Martinis In Martinique
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As backdrop to rugged Pierce Brosnan’s “The Thomas Crown Affair,” Martinique shimmers and shines both on-screen and off. With so much Creole joie de vivre, seductive French appeal, and the sunny tropic vibes, this island is tantalizingly fun and a true Caribbean gem. Quench afternoon thirst with ‘planteur punch,’ jog through the groves of Pointe de la Vatable, or peruse the sensual love letters Empress Joséphine wrote upon her stay to Napoleon.
the romance
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Coined “The Island of the Flowers,” Martinique is idyllically lush with a paradise-inspired climate and bodacious beach culture to boot. Flora is at its finest, deep in the heart of the popular Balata Gardens, while the waterfront food market boasts fresh produce wares.
Couply musts include:
Snorkeling around the Fonds Blancs – an exquisite coral reef that blows the lid off of the usual textbook fauna
A stay in an authentic colonial manor overlooking rolling bays, sugar cane fields and hundred-year-old mango trees
Valley of the Butterflies - over 1500 shimmering butterflies that call a 17th century plantation home
the scenery
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From the Caravelle Peninsula of rocky coast and mangrove swamps, to the soothing white sand surface of Anse Mitan beach, Martinique is best viewed by the Route de la Trace – the island’s most scenic, winding drive. After catching a glimpse of some of the iron-wrought architecture in town, be sure to see:
Pointe du Bout – gorgeous waterfront area featuring marina and nearby hotels
Les Salines – soft sheltered waters, popular with visitors
Gorges de la Falaise – a canyon deep in the heart of snapshot seventh heaven
the attractions
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Diamond Rock or Le Diamant has been known to steal the show – once utilized by the British as a rough ‘n tumble armed fort, it is now a hot-to-trot diving spot. Don’t forget to take in some of the littler wonders that Martinique has to offer, such as the endearing Banana Museum or local pottery exhibits.
Do check out:
The Gaugin Art Center and Museum – an eloquent celebration of the famous French painter inspired by Anse Turin
Schoelcher Library – a page-turner to say the least, this edifice was originally built in France before being shipped piece by piece across the high seas to where it stands today
Mount Pelee – a notorious neighbour responsible for Pompeii-like calamity back in the day
the adventure
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Les Ombrages provides a distinct tropical park perfect for hiking and rubbing elbows with Martinique’s wilder side. Exercise your right to athletic intensity thanks to some of the local fab water-sport complexes or pulsing night clubs.
Don’t be afraid to give your nerves a whirl with:
A trip to the Museum of Vulcanology – eerie lava-doused remnants and memories of long-lost villages
The St. James Distillery and Rum Museum – cabbie post-visit is a must
The Mangofil Martinique – a treetop cable designed for your very own panoramic viewing
the secrets
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Look closely and you’ll see Martinique exhibit a few playful quirk handed down by its mother land, intriguing France. Explore such notable nooks as the Habitation Fonds Saint-Jacques – a Dominican monastery and sugar plantation dating back to the mid 17th century, or Habitation Ceron – where visitors may horseback ride under a ripple of waterfalls.
Other hidden daylight dalliances include:
Les Grands Ballet de la Martiniquais – the country’s revered dance company specializing in traditional island dances
Chateau Duboc – the home of Aimee Duboc de Rivery, a pirate captive who rose to rule alongside the Sultan of Constantinople
Museum of the Vegetable Dolls – for a dose of green girl power, this museum consists of leafy interpretations of infamous French women
before you go
What to Expect
Dry Season: The dry season is from December to May when temperatures average about 26°C (85°F).
Rainy Season: The rainy and humid season begins in June and continues until the end of November, with heavy showers most days.
Wear light summer clothing to beat the heat and the humidity
The Lingo
French, Créole, English
A valid passport, a return ticket
Local Delicacies
Crêpes: a thin pancake, often served with fruit and dessert toppings
Accras de morue: cod fritters