Posted January 6, 2010 by Kate Hamman
Martinique is a slice of France located in the tropical West Indies. Though the euro is still on the rise, you can experience island life by taking a train ride through historical St. Pierre, sampling freshly-distilled rum, and staying in a hotel with a beautiful view without paying your weight in gold.
Le Petit Train de St-Pierre: Hop aboard this tiny train to tour the ruins of St. Pierre, or the Little Pompeii of the Caribbean. In 1902, the volcano Mount Pelée unleashed a devastating blow on the small city when it erupted, killing all 30,000 inhabitants in three minutes, save for one prisoner, Cyparis. The surviving theatre's staircase, church, Monte-au-Ciel Street, and colonial house all stand as reminders of Mother Nature's fury. Tours last about 40 minutes, and run Mondays through Fridays.
La Mauny: Set among sugarcane fields, you'll find a spirited rum distillery. Take a free tour of the grounds, which offers insight into the various production stages of Martinique's favored liquor. After you've learned about the techniques, you can end the tour with a free sample of La Mauny's finest, and then browse the souvenir selection at the boutique shop. Tours run Mondays through Saturdays.
Hotel Residence Diamant Beach (in French only): Come stay at Hotel Diamant located on the edge of the ocean, with a clear view of Rocher du Diamant, or "Diamond Rock," for which it was named. Choose from its 10 small villas, which house 49 apartments situated among coconut palms and fragrant bougainvilleas. At the hotel, you can take in some sun by the fresh-water pool, enjoy the view from your terrace, or prepare dinner in your own kitchen.
To search for flights and compare prices to Fort-de-France, which is home to Martinique’s main airport, please use our price-comparison tool.(Photo: JM Lecerf/Franceguide)
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