How would you like to take A Walk through Fort de France Martinique with me? I know, you can’t actually be here, but I thought I would share some photos and a little information about the capital of Martinique with you today. Loads of photos will follow, so you can really see it.
I actually live in one of the small tourist towns on the island. I wanted to be super close to the beach and that wish came true for sure. It’s only about a 2 minute walk. To get back to Fort de France, when we visit the city, we take a ferry from our beach to their pier. It’s so convenient not to have to drive there. Driving here is not my favorite thing. So here is my daughter and I, getting windblown and loving it.
Fort de France is not the original capital of Martinique. The first capital was Saint Pierre, which was then called “The Paris of the Caribbean”. Originally named Fort Royal, it didn’t become Fort de France until sometime in the 19th century, although some still call it Fort Royal. Fort de France because the capital after Mount Pelee erupted in 1902, destroying Saint Pierre.
The streets are pretty narrow in Fort de France and made even more so by the cars parking on the sides. The buildings are all the colors you would expect to see in the Caribbean. I just love them. If I ever buy a house near a beach, I’m going to paint in an amazing bright color. The colorful buildings are actually one of my favorite things about the Caribbean.
Cruise ships run through Martinique from October through March or April, so several times a week it is pretty crowded in Fort de France. I’ve been here long enough that I have come to appreciate days with no cruise ships. Maybe I’m almost a local?! I do stand out though. Most of the locals have the most beautiful skin color. I am so pale that some of my friends like to compare their skin color to mine and just laugh.
So this is a funny story. The first time we walked around Fort de France, I saw this shop front and took a photo. It is so pretty, right? I had never heard of this store before, but because of the name, I thought it must be a cellular phone store with a great paint job. Some of my friends in the US and Romania told me it was a shop with beautiful clothes and accessories.
The next time we went to Fort de France, Robyn and I took a trip into the store and we both fell in love. I wish I had loads of money because I might like one of everything. I actually bought one of their purses, but I’ve seen some really cute skirts I would love to have too. The picture below is inside their store. If you ever see one of these somewhere, I highly recommend them. They are a Spanish brand. Love them.
One of the old buildings.
Local art work on the street. Isn’t it lovely?
This is the Bibliotheque Schoelcher and it has an interesting history. It was named after the French politician Victor Schoelcher, who was a very popular man. There is a town, this library, statues and loads of streets named after him. He was a representative of the Abolitionist movement and actually left over 10,000 books to the grand council of Martinique to educate the freed slaves.
This building was built by Pierre-Henri Picu in Paris. After it was presented to the Parisians, it was then dismantled and shipped in pieces to Martinique to be reconstructed. After several events disrupted the work, it was finally open in 1893. This is my friend Candice in the photo with me. We had so much fun while she was here. I hated to see her go.
This is a statue of Victor Schoelcher in front of the old judicial building.
It’s just me, in the middle of the road. Actually, part of the roads are closed to vehicles downtown. I like walking on those roads so much better than the ones with traffic.
I love this turtle mural on one of the main streets. I’ve seen murals in quite a few places here and am always impressed with the artists abilities.
In Fort de France, you can find a huge Spice Market. It is divided into sections, one for fresh foods, one for spices and mixes, one for tourist trinkets and then there is a little restaurant at the end. I love going in there and seeing all there is to see, although my nose is usually itchy and running by the time I leave.
There are loads of tiny shops in Fort de France. Robyn and Kassye thought it would be fun to try on some hats. Silly girls.
Fort de France was originally started as a fort to protect the port and island. The name of the fort was originally Fort Royal and then Fort de la Republique and finally For Saint Louis, which it is called today. It was originally built in 1638, although the first fort was destroyed and this on rebuilt in 1669. It has been continuously occupied by the French since that time, except for a few years when it was under British control.
It is still an active naval base, so if you take a tour, you can only see part of the fort. If you are lucky enough to get Maurice as our guide, you will learn so many things of it’s vast history. He also speaks excellent English, as he is from Saint Lucia.
The old gate to the fort.
One of the green iguanas who lives at the fort. They are not indigenous to the island. It’s thought they came in on some ships from either French Guyana or the Îles des Saintes.
This is Fort Saint Louis from the top of a building a little ways away, plus the ferry and small boat port.
The ferry and small boat port from the fort.
Downtown Fort de France. Don’t you love all the colors? The tall church you see has been being refurbished since we got here. I’m hoping they finish soon so we can go in and can get some good photos.
A canal for fishing boats that leads to the bay.
More Fort de France. A few weeks ago I wrote about Jardin de Balata. That is actually in Fort de France too, although way up in the hills on a crazy windy road. I really loved that place though.
I hope you enjoyed taking a Walk through Fort de France with me. It’s a pretty interesting place, with a lot of history. We don’t go across to it often, but we always have fun when we do!