We arrived in Martinique's capital, Fort De France by the ferry L'Express Des Iles which operates in the Caribbean connecting St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. The trip from Castries in St Lucia to Martinique takes one and a half hours. Martinique and Guadeloupe are both officially part of France - the currency is the euro and the number plates say 'France'.
With only 4 days scheduled for our stop over in Martinique we had decided on 2 days beach and 2 days history/town.
The beach part was easy. The Verdettes Tropicales ferry service operates from several small wharves a short walk from the inter-island ferry terminal. It travels to a number of beach resort towns on the other side of the bay from the city.
We jumped on the verdette to Anse a L'Ane and for 5 Euros each we found ourselves just 20 minutes later walking up the wharf towards the beachside town of Anse a L'Ane. At the end of the wharf and across a small section of beach was the gate to our accommodation Coubaril Village. We couldn't believe our luck. We knew that we'd booked a place close to the beach, but we didn't know it was ON the beach. And at 59 Euros ($US65/$AUS87) a double room per night (low season) we were well pleased.
Nearby there was a Huit a Huit (Eight to Eight) supermarket which sold all the essentials of a 'French' holiday – fresh baguettes, very reasonably priced French wine, and an array of French cheeses. Yes, they also sell other things but these didn't really attract our attention.
We spent the next two days dipping in and out of the cooling water of the beach in front of our gate and indulging in the aforementioned French delicacies and peering across the bay at not so distant Fort De France.
The second half of our stay was in the city of Fort De France where we had hoped to do a trip up the west coast of the island to St Pierre, 21 kms from Fort De France. St Pierre was the capital until it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption by nearby Mont Pelee in 1902. Of the then 30,000 inhabitants only 3 survived. There are still ruins from the eruption to be seen in the town as well as close up views of looming Mt Pelee.
Unfortunately we did not realise that Martinique virtually stops around midday on Saturday and remains dormant until Monday morning. Practically everything was shut apart from a few fast food restaurants. Public buses to St Pierre were not in evidence Saturday afternoon when we did a reconnaissance for our proposed Sunday trip to St Pierre. A lone taxi driver quoted us the price of our first born to do the trip on Sunday. We politely declined.
As it turned out, it rained heavily and continuously on Sunday so we were not overly disappointed that we had not gone to St Pierre.
In between downpours we did a walking tour of the near deserted central part of the town and took a few photos.
As the rain commenced again we headed back to our hotel. Time for more pre-purchased baguettes, wine and cheese. C'est la vie.