Arriving at Fort de France airport at night, after a 8h30 flight and one hour delay on the expected schedule, we hurried to pick up the rental car worried about the closing hours in a small airport. Hopefully, it was still open and there was no queue but receptionnist did not know what to say because the person who was supposed to take the car back could not be reached. We were tired and we tought that our holidays did not start as expected. They tried to give us another car for 24h only, making us going back to the airport the day after to get a new car, the one we were supposed to get at our arrival. Time to find an arrangement, the guy just arrived with the supposed car. It was around 10pm and it was time to find our first apartment location.
Any's Apart was a pretty good surprise, from around 15 minutes of the capital, it was spacious and with the tranquility of countryside. Our host took the time to make a short visit of the apartment even with the late hour and we really felt confortable in it.
We discovered life in West Indies, woke up at around 5am with cocks and birds sounds. Time to get a quick breakfast and to hit the road. I could not wait making discover to my boyfriend, the treasure of the island, where my father was borned and where I spent most of my time on holidays. Arriving at Balata Garden with its thousand of tropical species of tropical plants, we were welcomed by few hummingbirds, colourful birds and endemic from the West Indies, quite impossible to get a good photo except if you are patient.
We spent around 2h walking into the majestic park exploring trees and flowers.
I decided to fight my fear trying the walk at the trees top. The spectacular view it offers really had it all.
Going to the city centre, we particularly enjoyed the architecture of Schoelcher library. Victor Schoelcher is famous on the island thanks to its role with the slavery abolition in 1848. He was congressman of the island and gave important publications to Martinique, that is why the library is called Schoelcher library. The architect Pierre-Henri Picq realized the monument in Paris, at the Tuileries in 1887!
Time for us to head north, visiting my family I did not see since 2010! Jérémy was the driver and he probably had some regrets about driving the car when he realized that roads were worst than in the mountains! We well arrived in Saint Pierre and my aunt reserved us a warm welcome! It was great to spend few days in family, discovering how people live, how they speak, how they cook... Jérémy took care about leaving me alone for a few moments to appreciate time in family. My aunt teached me how to cook one of a famous dishes in West Indies and it was surprising to see her cooking directly in the garden, barefoot, washing up on a huge breeze-block being doubled up and getting back the water for the plants. We were impressive about her way to get the sugar cane, puting her feet at the sugar cane base and pull it off with her hands!
We appreciated Saint Pierre beach, particularly for sunset.
I really recommand going to The Fromager restaurant, situated on the hills and giving a fantastic view on Saint Pierre city and the beach. Please, take time to give a ring to the restaurant to make a reservation otherwise you will not get a table on the terrace to explore the view.
Visiting one of my favourite distillery, Depaz, with a splendid view on the Mont Pelée and learning how to make rum.
Trying the touristic train was one of our best experience. Guide was funny and passionate. He told us Martinique story with details and how Saint Pierre was destroyed in only 2 seconds in 1902 because of Mont Pelée eruption. Before that, the city was the capital of the island and was called "the little Paris" thanks to its frantic life and its richness. This day, 30.000 people died with the disaster and the way that the guide explained that was touching. There was only one survivor, called Cyparis, imprisoned on a dungeon because he was drunk and after this terrible disaster, he confessed that he never thought that drinking alcohol could safe his life.
Before leaving Saint Pierre, one of the most difficult activity we do was a walk on the Mont Pelée. We started walking at 7.30am and we spent 6h30 reaching 1328meters. I was afraid of the high but definitively decided to climb! Mont Pelée height is 1397meters so we were quite proud of our performance, particularly because it was my first trek! Hking shoes took all the space in the suitcase but we really appreciated to have it!
We made a stop in Morne Rouge, where other part of my family welcomed us like their own children. They made us discover Saut du gendarme waterfall. Water was frozen but Jérémy could not resist of being in the water! I decided to wait after him further, pretexting I had to take photos.
Precious moments in family and some souvenirs from my first trip in Martinique.
If you have chance to visit Martinique, I really recommand you to take time to go to science discovery centre which explain in details the phenomenology of Mount Pelée and illustrating it precisely with signs. The construction of the building gives the chance to admirate the view on the Mont Pelée.
We hit the road north to discover J.M distillery, my favourite as it is the only handmade distillery it remains on the island.
We slept at Villa Titine on the Atlantic coast, where our host offered us a delicious handmade Ti Punch as welcome. I was interested of getting a moment to relax and I was touched by the manager who offered us a 15 minute relaxation on the jaccuzzi!
Time to drive south and make a stop at banana museum and probably time for me to teach you something. Do you know what is a banana tree? It is not a tree... it is the highest herb in the world! We thought that having lunch there was a tourist trap but we were surprised about the tasty food!
We would appreciate taking time to read all the signs at the rum museum if mosquitoes would have accepted ignoring us but as it was not the case, we make a really short stop at this museum!
I think that missing the visit of sugar refinery Le Galion was our main disappointment because it remains the only sugar refinery of the island which was closed for work.
Visiting Caravella Peninsula was such something to do! Weather was particularly hot there but points of view were spectacular! Famous ruins of Dubuc castle are open to the visit with a marked path and audioguide. We reached to lose ourselves and found another splendid views. This place was marked by the presence of hundreds of slaves who had to mould the sugarcane. The place was also reputed for its production of tobacco.
Residence Oceane was probably one of the best accommodation of our trip. We travelled outside school holidays and we had swimming pool for us alone. Beach was at 300meters from the hotel and we could enjoy exploring surfers from the balcony.
Still driving south, we stopped at Le François to discover an old house which belonged to White owners, called "Békés". Today, they transform the domain into a huge park with a lush vegetation.
Cap Macabou hotel was our next destination for the night. Swimming was huge and once again for all alone!
Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to trek at Cap Macré but the views were a must for those who enjoy peace, nature and hiking!
From the recommandation of some people from my family in Saint Pierre, we made an unexpected stop on the road to Saint Anne where I met Alice, one of my numerous cousins. She has her own business in a riding school and offered us a private trek. It was fantastic make a trek on the beach but hopefully they gave me a chair to ride because it was too high for me!
After few weeks visiting, time to have a rest and relax on the beach. Salines beach is known as the best of the island and we made the most of it!
Residence Fruit de la passion was pretty confortable for us as Sainte Anne is a very touristic place, we did not find another confortable residence so we had a 3 bedroom house!
But the cherry on the cake was the Eden Paradise Spa Ecolodge where the guy at the reception brought our suitcases into the lodge where we had a jaccuzzi in it! The balcony was surrounded by nature with view on the Diamant Rock and the receptionnist came to bring us our breakfast.
Time to experience diving. We had 2 monitors for us alone because I decided to privatize the boat. Jérémy is always in his element in the water but I admit that I did not felt in secure in the water. Jérémy got his first level in diving whereas I got my first dive, after realizing it was possible to breath in the water! We then explored ocean floor together and it was just a magical moment!
Slavery main square is not to be missed. The guided tour teached us how the Martinique history and how slaves were treated. The park was a pretty good reproduction of slaves accommodation and medicinal plants. We even saw doliprane plant and we did not expect it was like that!
Sugar cane house was a monument to discover. Signs were well detailed and we learned many things about sugar cane in Martinique.
La Pagerie hotel was our last accommodation before taking the flight. We thought that the concept of sipping a cocktail being in the swimming pool was great but it was a really huge hotel and we did not enjoy the impersonal way of the staff.
Arriving in Paris, welcomed by the rain, we had a little surprise getting back one of our suitcase, one of our 11 bottles of alcohol exploded in it with the strong smell of passion fruit... Hopefully, we still have all sorts of rums and liquors to remember our memorable trip... lime liquor, guava liquor, pineapple liquor, passion fruit liquor, banana liquor and so on, without forget the precious handmade coconut punch prepared by my aunt!
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