My Martinique road trip

In September, I went to Martinique. Not intentionally and not for vacation. I went with my mom and my sister because we got evacuated after Irma. The first days were really  hard but time healed the wounds and spending time with my family, especially my grandma, did me good. I also had the opportunity to visit this beautiful island.

Martinique is a French island located between Dominica and Saint-Lucia. It isn’t far from Guadeloupe (45 minutes flight) and Saint-Martin (2hours flight with a connection in Guadeloupe). It is well known for the rhum, the cascade and its beautiful flowers; as a matter of fact we call it l’île aux belles fleurs, the island with the beautiful flowers.

In this post, I’m sharing a few pictures that will make you want to visit Martinique!

Habitation du Simon

A gem! Out of all the domain I visited this is by far my favorite. The colonial style doesn’t go unnoticed. I was lucky to have a tour of the rhum distillery. What a great honor seeing La Belle Aline, the copper alembic, in action. The distillation process is the same as the essential oils. However, before this step, the canne must go through many phases of transformation. First, it has to be mashed, then the juice has to be fermented with yeast to obtain the alcool and then comes the distillation with the alembic. Beyond, the technical details there is a lot to see, smell and taste if you drink.

There are many other distilleries you can visit as :

  • JM in Macouba. It is bigger and different but it’s very nice as well. The bar, the garden, the tiles, the sound of the the river, are worth the visit.
  • Depaz, in Saint-Pierre. Huge domain. There is a CASTLE! The style is also very colonial.
  • Habitation Clément, in Le François. Very popular rhum is Martinique. I haven’t visited yet but from the outside it looked very attracting.
  • Saint-James, in Sainte-Marie. Cute!! That’s the appropriate word! My family doesn’t live far from this town so I go a lot and every time I fall in love a little bit more. It has that look “d’antan” : oldie but goodie.
  • Habitation Saint-Etienne (HSE), in le Gros Morne.
  • Plantation Trois-Rivière, in Sainte-Luce

In general, the visit is free.

Saut du Gendarme

The north of the island has many hidden treasures like this cascade in Fond Saint-Denis called Saut du Gendarme. I think the best way to visit is to leave in the morning early and drive. We left from Morne-Des-Esses and took La Trace (a must!). The view is amazing, the flowers are gorgeous and the drive is easy breezy. Your lungs will thank you for the fresh air! One thing though, I don’t know how safe it is to be alone. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. Anyways, the day we went the cascade wasn’t accessible but lower down (typical Caribbean explanation) there is another site with the pipe.

Visit little Superrettes

I grew up around my grandparents and took a lot of things for granted. It’s only when I moved to Montreal for my studies I realized how unique and beautiful the island life can be. The superette plays a big role in that typical Caribbean vibe. I mean you can go to Dominica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Sint-Maarten, Curacao, etc… you must fine that little cute store. I visited a few but my two favorites where in Morne-Des-Esses and le Vauclin. These two stores where owned by strong and dedicated women. If you ever go, take a few minutes and talk with them!

Visit a garden

You can’t go to l’île aux belles fleurs and pass on the flowers. It’s a No-No! I did l’habitation Céron in le Précheur which is the oldest sugar plantation on the island. It has been created in the 17th century. You guessed it! There is a lot of history there. They have a shop (you can buy cacao from their own production), a restaurant and a garden with the famous and prestigious Zamana tree. You wouldn’t believe but that tree is over 250 years. It has survived the volcanic eruption in 1902 and many hurricanes. Its main role, back in the days, when l’habitation céron was a plantation, was to protect the cacao from the sun and let the rain fall. Basically the leaves provide shade and when it’s pouring, they’re closing. Nature!! Last but not least, the Zamana won “most beautiful tree of France in 2016”.

Saint-Pierre and the ruins

Before the volcanic eruption in 1902, Saint-Pierre was the most important and the most influent city. It was known as The Little Paris of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, this dramatic incident changed everything : 28 000 people were killed. There were only two survivors ; among the two, a prisoner : Cyparis.

I hope I convinced you!!

Tracy!

 

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