Why? First, it IS France, or rather one of 102 “departments”, or administrative divisions, just like Hawaii is a state. Thus, everything is French, including the food! The infrastructure, legal and financial systems – the Euro is the local currency – schools, social services, such as healthcare, everything is French, and modern…including that they speak standard French here, just like on the continent.
What’s more, roughly 80% of the tourism comes from France, so actually, it’s English that they struggle with, which means, they are patient with French language learners and will encourage a learner to speak French.
It’s warm and beautiful all year round. From the white sand beaches, marinas, beautiful villas, golf courses and sugar cane fields in the South, to the rugged mountains, lush rain forests, and banana plantations in the North, Martinique is a beautiful, tropical Caribbean island with a rhythm to their lives that is more Caribbean than cosmopolitan but definitely modern.
Activities abound, from beach and water activities, including excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, of course sailing, kite surfing, fishing, etc., to abundant hiking trails near the beaches as well as throughout the mountainous terrain and rain forests. Visit banana plantations or the rum distilleries and sample the artisan rums that are one of the country’s major exports. Visit Saint-Pierre, the town that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, or the beautiful Balata Botanical Gardens.
The people are warm and welcoming, both the natives of Martinique as well as the transplants from the French mainland, and they are very proud of their tropical paradise and are willing and eager to share it with visitors.
AA offers daily flights to Fort de France (FDF) from Miami and Norwegian Air now flies several direct flights from New York’s JFK, Providence, R.I., and Fort Lauderdale, during the high season from late October through March, which is also the driest season (although the “rainy season” usually means partly cloudy with light afternoon showers!).
These routes make Martinique an easy destination to reach from the East Coast and Midwest but a still a bit more challenging from the West Coast. Distances traveled make a rental car a necessity but the infrastructure is very so it’s not any great challenge to get around.
Martinique is a tropical paradise! I enjoyed the outdoor beach life while practicing my French for the month of February. The island is very much European in style, and I enjoyed the wonderful French food at all the local cafes and restaurants.
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