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History and Culture in Martinique

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A history of settlement that dates back thousands of years; fierce colonial history; plantation homes; colorful pageants and celebrations; centuries-old distilleries; entire cities ravaged by volcanic activity. All this and more make up Martinique’s unique historical and cultural character—much of which can be experienced by visitors to the island.
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Fort-de-France Bay, Martinique
I was fortunate to be in Fort-de-France, Martinique on Ash Wednesday in 2011. While walking around the port city, I came upon a very colorful show of local music, dress and dance. The guests were not the only ones that enjoyed this amazing show....
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D38, Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique

Most visitors to Martinique head for sun and sand on the island's southern coast. Those looking for history should consider a tour of La Pagerie, the plantation home of Napoleon's Empress Joséphine. An old stone...

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Le Carbet, Martinique

Cruise ships often sail past the village of Le Carbet, near where Christopher Columbus briefly landed in 1502. Nearly three centuries later, the village became the temporary home of French artist Paul Gauguin, who spent six months here painting...

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domaine de l'acajou, Le François 97240, Martinique
The restored estate of rum pioneer Homère Clément includes botanical gardens, art galleries, a museum, and a gift shop as well as a tasting room. Open daily. Domaine de l’Acajou, Le François, 596/(0) 596-54-62-07.
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5,5km Route de Lamentin, Fort-de-France 97200, Martinique
The aged La Favorite Agricole Ambré earned a four-star rating in a 2011 New York Times tasting of rums from the Caribbean and Brazil. Be sure to taste the unaged Blanc as well. Open Mon.–Fri. 596/(0) 596-50-47-32.
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Martinique

On the northeast coast, the diminutive Musée de la Banane is as fun a museum as you'll find anywhere. Set in an old stone banana-packing house, it tells the story of this major Caribbean cash crop. You'll learn about the many...

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Fort-de-France Bay, Martinique
From racy zouk rhythms to biguine beats, Martinique hums with musical energy all year long. Get in on the action at one of the island’s music festivals. Carnival is a four-day celebration that spans the island. Traditions combine French, Creole,...
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Follow a dusty red road to this artsy village just outside of Les Trois-Îlets, and you’ll find a complex of adobe-style artists’ workshops, where local artisans create and sell traditional crafts like jewelry, hand-painted tiles, organic soaps,...
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Rue Victor Sévère, Fort-de-France, Martinique

The gorgeous Bibliothèque Schoelcher is a soaring late-19th-century library built of wrought iron, concrete, wood and glass. The building was designed by Pierre-Henri Picq, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame), and built...

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Rue de la Distillerie, La Trinité, Martinique
The rums from this historic distillery get their unique flavors from the island’s tropical humidity and the volcanic soils of the sugarcane fields sloping down from Mount Pelée. Open Mon.–Sat. Fonds Préville, Macouba, 596/(0) 596-78-92-55.
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Mt Pelée, Arrondissement of Saint-Pierre, Martinique
On May 8, 1902, a pyroclastic eruption (a current of hot gas and rock) sped towards Saint-Pierre and within minutes destroyed the city and killed 30,000 people. The volcano is now dormant, and there are number of hikes to the summit of this...
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Route de Balata, Fort-de-France 97234, Martinique

This botanical wonder is home to thousands of native plant species, including heliconias, hibiscus and bromeliads. Guests enjoy strolling around the three-hectare (seven-acre) grounds, where hundreds of palm trees tower over...