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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Martinique

Fort-de-France - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Martinique

Standing on the island's west coast by the Caribbean Sea, the capital of Martinique, formerly known as Fort-Royal, has a wealth of architectural and cultural heritage to discover.

Before taking a walk along the pleasant seafront, you should therefore take a look around the historic centre, with its colourful streets of shops. You'll find some splendid architecture, such as the famous Schoelcher library, built in an eclectic style. This building has a surprising past, as it was built in Paris then relocated and rebuilt in its entirety at Fort-de-France in the 19th century. Magnificent inside and out, with its combination of concrete, wrought iron and wood, it was originally intended to house the famous abolitionist Victor Schoelcher's famous collection of books and sheet music. Open to visitors, the library's mission today includes conserving historical documents relating to Martinique and the Antilles.

You also can't miss the superb Cathedral of St Louis, erected in the 19th century, with its impressive metal framework, original bell tower covered with aluminium scales, and its magnificent stained glass windows, five of which recount the life of St Louis. A little further along, on the seafront side, you can also admire the imposing form of Fort St Louis. Built in the 17th century and listed as a Historic Monument in 1973, it enjoys a direct view of the bay. Once the scene of terrible battles between the French and the English, today Fort St Louis is owned by the National Navy and can be explored on a guided tour.

Then enjoy a break on the huge garden square, Place de la Savane. Wander along its paths or simply take a rest beneath a royal palm or other tree. Created in the 18th century, it's a hub of Fort-de-France's social life.

If you want to know more about local culture and the history of Martinique, don't miss the Regional Museum of History and Ethnography. Based in a mansion dating back to 1887, the site hosts temporary exhibitions on the ground floor, and has a permanent exhibition upstairs with traditional costumes and Creole jewellery, as well as a drawing room, dining room, bedroom and bathroom that provide a glimpse of bourgeois life in the late 19th century.

Before you leave Fort-de-France, don't forget to pay a visit to the unmissable markets in the city centre, with the most famous and tourist-friendly being the big covered market. Offering many spices, souvenirs and all kinds of punch, it also has a lively atmosphere. Don't hesitate to visit the picturesque fruit and vegetable market in the floral park on Avenue Paul Nardal, an ideal place to stock up on fresh produce!

Additional information

Fort-de-France or Fodfrans in Creole, is a town in Martinique. Capital of the local authority, it consists of over 88 000 inhabitants and is one of the biggest attractions of the island of the Antilles.

One that is also known as Fort Royal, Fort-de-la-Republic or Republic City is set on the coast, in the Caribbean part of Martinique. It is in 1635 that the city of Fort-de-France was created with the installation of settlers develop the island. Installed on a strategic site, it was long a major issue in the conflicts with the Dutch and the English.

Focused on tourism, this important economic center of the Lesser Antilles offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a great cultural and historical heritage that testifies to the richness of this city Martinique. The city also offers great natural offerings with other parks and gardens that occupy a major part of the territory.

Things to see and do

Fort-de-France full of sights to discover during a stay in the capital of Martinique.

Listed building, the St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most beautiful sites Fort-de-France. Built in the late nineteenth century, the current building is due to the architect Pierre-Henri Picq and has a style that combines Gothic and Romanesque-Byzantine. The Saint-Antoine-Sainville Land, the Church of the Redoute and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Balata also deserve lingers a moment.

Often restored, the fort St. Louis has been classified as an historic monument. Vauban type, it still serves as Naval Base of the Navy. It was built between the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It is now open daily to the public.

In the city, visitors can enjoy many sites listed or classified historic monument like the statue of Empress Josephine, the Schoelcher Library, home of Aimé Césaire, the villa Montplaisir labeled heritage of the twentieth century, Bakery Surena, Gueydon the fountain, or the old mill Didier, the villa and the villa Sobesky Louisiana, the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the prefecture or the dry dock.

Fort-de-France hosts a large number of interesting museums such as the county museum of pre-Columbian archeology, museum of natural history, or the reservation of Father Pinchon. The regional museum of history and ethnography of Martinique is located in a beautiful villa of the late nineteenth century and has a beautiful garden of 2500 m². Inside, tourists can admire temporary exhibitions and a permanent exhibition with a living room, dining room, common objects of the nineteenth century or old documents recalling the important historical events of the island of Martinique. The museum also reveals galleries of Creole and West Indian jewelry costumes.

Fort-de-France full of natural areas perfect for discovering the local fauna and flora, and to make beautiful walks. Grand five hectares, the garden of Savannah has kiosks, botanical islands or several hectares of lawn. The town is part of the Regional Natural Park of Martinique with various marked hiking trails. Hosts many activities, cultural park Aimé Césaire is a haven of peace. Located ten kilometers, the Balata garden is located on the Route de la Trace. It has an important collection of tropical species such as hibiscus or water lilies.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Performance halls

Events and festivities

Markets are held all week Fort-de-France in different places of the city. The hall, old, also has a traditional market.

The Fort-de-France cultural festival is held every year in July. In various cultural venues in the city take place exhibitions, concerts, shows or plays highlighting black culture.

Detailed information

Raid des Alizés trek
A women-only sports event for charity in MartiniqueFrom 26 november to 1 december 2019
Les Nuits Caraïbes
Classical music concerts in the Caribbean islandsFebruary 2020

Visits, leisure and activities nearby


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