Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

Martinique’s capital city and the largest city in the French West Indies, Fort-de-France, proudly exhibits French and Creole heritage. Martinique remains a department of France and thus, as part of the EU (European Union), the local currency is the Euro.

 

Viva la France and the European Union -- the island is a department of the country of France; Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Viva la France and the European Union — the island is a department of the country of France; Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

 

The 21st century metal works sits on the 19th century French wrought iron, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

The 21st century metal works sits on the 19th century French wrought iron, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

Iron balconies festooned with bountiful floral displays evoke memories of New Orleans and the South of France. Snippets of conversations in melodious Patois and French fall pleasingly on the ear.  The central park, Place de la Savane (Savane Park), contains a statue of Empress Josephine (Napoleon’s wife) who was born on the island.

 

Bibliothèque Schoelcher (Schoelcher Library) was built and featured at the Paris Exposition of 1889, disassembled and shipped to Martinique; Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Bibliothèque Schoelcher (Schoelcher Library) was built and featured at the Paris Exposition of 1889, disassembled and shipped to Martinique; Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

Honoring the memory of Victor Schoelcher, a pivotal figure in freeing numerous individuals from the slave trade in the 19th century, Bibliothèque Schoelcher (Schoelcher Library)’s elaborate design was built and featured at the Paris Exposition of 1889, then shipped to Martinique piece-by-piece.  One of the city’s most beautiful buildings, its design by Henri Picq features a Byzantine dome, Egyptian lotus-petal columns, turquoise tiles and other ornate features.  Listed as an historical monument in 1993, it currently houses more than 300,000 volumes.

 

The legacy of France – Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

The legacy of France – Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

 

Statue of Empress Josephine (Napoleon's wife) by Vital Debray in Place de la Savane (Savane Park), whose head was chopped of in a political protest late in the 20th C, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea_

Statue of Empress Josephine (Napoleon’s wife) by Vital Debray in Place de la Savane (Savane Park), whose head was chopped of in a political protest late in the 20th C, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea_

 

Préfecture de la Martinique (the Government House of Martinique) was the first reinforced concrete building when completed in 1928 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Préfecture de la Martinique (the Government House of Martinique) was the first reinforced concrete building when completed in 1928 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

 

Christophine fruit (a local delicacy) on sale at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Christophine fruit (a local delicacy) on sale at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

Christophine fruit (a local delicacy) is another name for chayote, an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae.  It originated in South America and is grown widely in the region.

 

A variety of locally prepared bottled punches on sale at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

A variety of locally prepared bottled punches on sale at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea.jpg

 

 

The hat gives away what this lady is selling at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

The hat gives away what this lady is selling at the city’s central market, Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

 

A closeup of the facade of Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

A closeup of the facade of Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

The Hotel de Ville (City Hall) is now Theatre Césaire and hosts live performances instead of being the seat of the city government.  Aimé Fernand David Césaire, born in Basse-Pointe in 1913 was a Francophone and French poet, author and politician from Martinique.  He considered himself of Igbo descent from Nigeria, and considered his first name Aimé a retention of an Igbo name.  In 1936, Césaire began work on his long poem, “Cahler d’un retour au pays natal”, a vital and powerful depiction of the ambiguities of Caribbean life and the culture in the New World and is widely regarded as “one of the founders of the negritude movement in Francophone literature”.  He was also an accomplished playwright.  His works have been translated into many languages and continues to be studied in both political activism and popular theater.

 

Architectural detail of street lamp at Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

Architectural detail of street lamp at Hotel de Ville (City Hall), Fort-de-France, Martinique, Caribbean Sea

 

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