Martinique is truly "a little bit of France in the Caribbean Islands." Martinique exudes a distinctly French feeling -- in the excellence of its Caribbean cuisine, the beauty of its language, the grace of its streets and gardens. Yet Martinique has a cachet all its own, an endearing West Indian warmth in its personality, a special spice in its Caribbean music and dance, its local dishes, and its way of life. Martinique is an island with style.
When Columbus landed in 1502, the island we now know as Martinique was peopled by the Carib Indians who called it Matinino or Madinina. The Caribs had driven away the Arawaks who, like themselves, had come to this Caribbean island from South America.
The island was claimed by France in 1635 and officially annexed by the King of France in 1674. France and Britain fought over the island until 1815, when it was restored to France. An important date in Martinique's history occurred 150 years ago on May 22, 1848, when slavery was abolished. In 1946, Martinique became a Department of France and in 1974 a Region of France.
Historical sites worth seeing include La Pagerie, where Napoléon's Empress Joséphine was born in 1763 (the year that France relinquished rights to Canada in exchange for the French West Indies); Diamond Rock, a 600-ft. pinnacle in the sea manned by the British in 1804 and registered in the British Navy as an armed warship for 18 months, and St-Pierre, Martinique's principal city until May 8, 1902 when Mt. Pelée volcano erupted, wiping out the city and its 30,000 people in just three minutes.
Sofitel Bakoua Coralia - Discover all of the charm that Martinique has to offer in this luxurious resort located in a sumptuous tropical garden directly on Fort de France Bay in the active Trois-Ilets are of the island. Enjoy a vast array of activities centered on the exquisite crescent of beach. An overflowing swimming pool is the centerpiece of this exciting resort. The island's only championship golf course is located less than five minutes from the hotel.
Hotel La Bateliere - The Hotel La Bateliere is an elegant Creole-style resort situated near the capital city of Fort-de-France and overlooking a tranquil white-sand beach. The hotel's rooms and suites, with lovely views of the island and sea, have recently undergone extensive refurbishment featuring Caribbean colors and refined dark wood. Enjoy a seafront dining experience, or relax with a cocktail at one of the hotel's three bars.
Villas de Sainte Luce - Pierre & Vacances - Set in the heart of lush tropical gardens and surrounded by the white-sand beach and azure sea lays the Village de Sainte Luce resort. This beautiful full-service resort is perfect for the active vacatioiner who embraces land and water sports alike. The large rooms and connecting suites in this exotic resort, and many daily and nightly activities for adults and kids make for the perfect family vacation spot.
Karibea Resort Sainte Luce Amandiers, Amyris and Caribia - The Karibean Resort Sainte Luce incorporates three smaller hotels - the Amandierse, the Amyris and the Caribia hotels in its beachside complex. The hotel enjoys a beautiful location alongside two white-sand beaches and is located near the picturesque fishing village of Sainte Luce. It is set in the heart of a historic sugar cane plantation and is near the Montravail nature sanctuary.
Residence Mercure Diamant - Nestled on a hillside in an extensive tropical garden and surrounded by lush vegetation, the Residence Mercure Diamant is located in the southern resort area of Diamant. From each comfortable studio, panoramic views of Rocher de Diamant (Diamond Rock) and the blue Caribbean Sea are featured. This very active resort features an enormous swimming pool with a waterslide and is perfect for families.
Karibea Baie du Galion Resort - The Karibea Baie du Galion Resort is a hotel complex situated on the Caravelle peninsula, on a hillside facing the sea, in a protected site just minutes from the fishing village of Tartane, with its restaurants and shops along the sea. In addition, this is the ideal starting point for all the excursions that will enable you to discover the north of Martinique.