My most recent adventure was to the island of Martinique. This overseas department of France is full of vibrant and natural beauty and of course – absolutely delicious French food – making it one of my favourite Caribbean destinations.
Here is my ideal itinerary that you can follow, if you are planning a sweet weekend getaway to the island.
On your first night in the isle of Martinique, I recommend having dinner at the Kay Ali. Located on the foothills near Fort de France, the restaurant is a colonial style house converted into modern yet chic food haven. We were guided to one of the few private and colourful rooms of the restaurant to have a scrumptious three course meal. A three course meal at this gem is a must so you can get a taste of the true Martinique/ French cuisine. The overall experience was quite lovely with its fabulous customer service and laid back island-life ambience. Head down to Lili’s bar, nearby to Kay Ali, for some after dinner drinks, where you can meet some locals and practice your french!
Saturday Day & Night
Martinique is known as the Island of Flowers, so you should not visit Martinique without getting lost in the magnificent palm trees of the lush and tastefully designed gardens of Jardin Balata. Even though it had poured the night before and the sky was quite overcast, we decided to continue our trip to the Jardin Balata to arrive just in time for the opening of its gates. This was a great idea especially as the garden had only a few visitors, making the experience more pleasant and perfect for getting impressive photos! The entrance is marked by white and quaint colonial house surrounded by gorgeous red ginger plants dispersed amongst the greenery of the garden’s numerous walkways. After you enter, you will walk pass the Royal Walkway taking you to one of the most scenic parts of the garden looking onto the valley of the mountains. There is also a fun Tree Top Trail 50 m above ground, where you can admire the flowers from a different and higher angle. The Jardin Balata are by far one of the most magical gardens I have ever explored.
Lunch – La Luciole
On our quest for food after our “strenuous” walk through of the garden (just kidding – it really is a walk in the park), we opted to have a quick lunch at nearby La Luciole restaurant. What a great choice! Rated as number one restaurant in the area, it served delicious meals with a side of great customer service. I ordered the Magret de Canard with French fries and it was yummy!
Afternoon – Les Anses d’Arlet
We made our way through the hills of the south-west side of the island in search of some of Martinique’s famous beaches. There are so many beaches to visit so we decided to spilt our beach adventure into two days. Along the coastline of the region of Les Anses d’Arlet, we uncovered a car park that took you to two different beaches – each so different in nature but yet so close to one another. On the north side of the car park, you descend (via dozens of dozens of steps) onto a beach named Anse Noire covered in silky black sand and surrounded by clear blue waters. A walk along the jetty in this bay was spectacular. On the other side of the car lot is the white sand beach named Anse Dufour. Have a look at both and make your pick of where you would like to relax for the afternoon!
Dinner – La Cave a Vins
Tucked away in the heart of Fort de France, this warm and cozy restaurant was hands down my favourite pick out of the dozen resturants we had eaten at during our stay in Martinique. The grand selection of wines and entrees is perfect for a French gastronomie lover! I had the fois gras, confit de canard and crème brulee. I dream about this meal even weeks after my visit!
Sunday Day & Night
Le Diamant & Anse Cafard
Early Sunday morning, we headed down to the south side of the island again to explore some more of the isle’s fabulous beaches. Just past Les Anses d’Arlet, we came across the region of Le Diamant. Not only can you relax at the beach, but you can drive down to the end of the road to un cover a collection of statues known as Anse Cafard, symbolizing the memorial for slaves whom lived in Martinique. This moving art formation was completed in 1998 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the French West Indies. It represents the tragedy of April 7, 1830, where a ship carrying African salves sank and drowned more than 40 slaves along the coast of Le Diamant.
Cap Chevalier & Lunch
After Le Diamant, we drove much further down the coast to the region of Sainte Anne to Cap Chevalier – Anse Michel beach. You can park your car at the end of a narrow dirt road and walk along the semi hidden path onto the most adorable secret getaway beach. There is also a popular little restaurant located at Cap Chevalier beach – Le Cocotier. It was unfortunately closed during our visit but I hear great reviews. Possibly call to make sure it is open when you plan to visit! The water at this beach is unreal! It was the most relaxing spot to lay down in the clear blue waters and admire the blossoming palm trees all around.
Dinner – La Table de Marcel
As we stayed in at the Simon Hotel, located in Fort de France, we had to evaluate the reknown “La Table de Marcel“. It was quite the experience but make sure you book a reservation or you may not get a table. Excellent customer service and tastefully decorated dishes that will make your mouth water. I had the fois gras (absolutely delicious) and the lobster for my main course and highly recommend both. It is a bit more expensive than the average martinican dinner but it is worth every dime!
We stayed at the brand new spanking hotel, the Simon Hotel, located right in the heart of Fort de France. Its modern elegant design, its ease of access into the city centre and its fabulous restaurants make it a top choice for the island however if you are interested in a quick and relaxing getaway weekend, I would recommend a hotel near one of the island’s many beaches!