Fort-de-France, Martinique

Freedom, Bipolarity and Tropicality


Schoelcher Library
The elegant Schoelcher library with many of the books that belonged to the personal collection of Victor Shoelcher, a representative of the abolitionist movement in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Caribbean Houses
Panoramic view of the colorful coastline of Fort-de-France.
Les San Chenn
Band San Chénn plays in a street in Fort-de-France.
France green and yellow
Colorful historic buildings on a street in the capital of Martinique.
tropical street
Verdant coconut palms tower over a colorful, almost earthy building in Fort-de-France.
Fortified Baths
Children play in the Caribbean Sea in front of Fort Saint Louis.
Hen&Stag
Moment of a French military funeral.
Trenelle-Citron
The densely populated district of Trenelle Citron, on the outskirts of the capital Fort-de-France.
panel church
Saint Louis Cathedral in a mosaic-reflected version.
Vendors
Two saleswomen unload goods from a truck.
Liberté, Equalite, Fraternité
Passersby cross the square in front of the former town hall of Fort-de-France.
Martiniquean pride
A young man from Martinique rests next to Fort San Louis, on the Fort-de-France waterfront.
Funeral Francophonie
Patriotic procession carried out during the funeral of a military man from Martinique.
Wall Street of Clothing
Clothing store with stock market in Fort-de-France.
The capital of Martinique confirms a fascinating Caribbean extension of French territory. There, the relations between the colonists and the natives descended from slaves still give rise to small revolutions.

In previous online contacts Philippe Lucien had already warned us that he was depressed. Shortly after we find him in one of the holiday homes he manages, he finally unburdens himself with the reason: “You know, my life in Martinique is not easy.

I was born here but moved early to France, got married there and had children. But I never felt integrated. They asked me all the time if I was from Algeria or Morocco, a little suspicious of my look. Afterwards, when I came back here, I also felt without an identity.

We are in an officially French paradise, but here, you have to choose which side you live on, whether the black or the white… I don't belong to any.”

San Chénn Ensemble, Fort de France-Martinique, French Antihas

Band San Chénn plays in a street in Fort-de-France.

In the various weekends that we spend at table with him and his girlfriend Severine, the Francophone contradictions of the Antilles come to the fore again and again, with the most distinct developments. Then, the following mornings, we left early to explore Martinique and experience the theme on the ground.

Philippe Lucien is the son of a wealthy Fort-de-France lawyer. It was in these two generations of Luciens that the island's capital changed the most.

Fort-de-France's rivalry with the neighbor Saint Pierre by the status of capital it lasted until the turn of the XNUMXth century, when the two cities had almost the same number of inhabitants and shared administrative and military institutions. By that time, Saint Pierre was at the forefront as its population was more concentrated and urban.

But in 1902, Mount Pelée volcano erupted and devastated her. Only two of its almost 30.000 inhabitants resisted and survivors from the surrounding area had to move to Fort-de-France.

Since then, the city has become the true capital of Martinique and has never stopped growing.

A Curious Incursion into the Trenelle-Citron neighborhood

With the advent of the economic crisis of the 30s and World War II, Fort-de-France went out of control as the population approached 2 inhabitants, many of them settled in slums.

Trenelle Citron, Fort de France-Martinique, French Antihas2

The densely populated district of Trenelle Citron, on the outskirts of the capital Fort-de-France.

From 1945 to 2001, the mayor Aimé Cesaire sought to restore order to his city, but not all problems were completely resolved.

We find in one of them – the Trenelle-Citron quartier – an unexpected visual appeal that ends up giving rise to one of the most curious adventures we experience in Martinique.

Schoelcher Library, Fort-de-France-Martinique, French Antihas

The elegant Schoelcher library, with many of the books that belonged to the personal collection of Victor Shoelcher, a representative of the abolitionist movement in Martinique and Guadeloupe.

We probe the alleys below a viaduct in the suburb of Shoelcher to find a spot to photograph Trenelle's houses when we come across a Rue du Photographe. At a bad time, we decided to register your plate.

Immediately, the door of a house next door opens and a young resident with a naked torso and a thick beard comes outside, screaming in an intimidating way. “What do you want? Get out of here! They have nothing to interfere in our lives.”

An Understandable Confusion and Rejection

We reacted with amazement and took several minutes to calm the resident, meanwhile accompanied by 5 friends all wearing caps, sports clothes and, luckily, much cooler.

With the necessary patience, we explain and prove to them that we have nothing to do with the police. It's enough to tell us that they are from Haiti and Dominican Republic, and the reason for so much disquiet: “Since they opened the police station down there, they have not stopped controlling us.

We don't have the patience to put up with them anymore and we put that camera over the door to understand when they come here. That's how we saw you. Here they arrest us for everything and nothing. We ride the bike and go inside. We smoke a weed and go inside again…”

We ended up living with the “gangsta” Rolando and António de Castilla and we talked about everything.

from the unknown Portugal, Carnival and Brazilian women and the economic policies of Sarkozy and the peaceful, the descendants of the island's first settlers, some of them from still and always powerful families that the population blames for the increasingly unaffordable cost of living in Martinique.

Store, Fort de France, Martinique, French Antihas

Clothing store with stock market in Fort-de-France.

Afterwards, we said goodbye with mutual respect and continued to the heart of the capital.

Fort-de-France: the Caribbean Capital of Martinique

We walk along the wooden walkway that runs along the Caribbean Sea, overlooking the garden of Place de La Savane and up to the imposing wall of the Saint Louis fort and military base, where coconut trees and an inevitable tricolor flag flutter.

Fort de San Louis, Fort de France-Martinique, French Antihas

Children play in the Caribbean Sea in front of Fort Saint Louis.

During the day, Fort-de-France is given over to the activity of its numerous one-story stores, mostly shoe shops and boutiques with armies of mannequins.

We cross the Grand Marché, full of tropical fruit, aromas of spices, handicrafts and bottles of rum, ti punch and other liqueur specialties sold by large ladies and even bigger promotional gifts who ask us “From that department êtes-vous…” curious about which French corner we came from.

Around us, we also spoke with two Egyptians who named their shop Adham and joined an already significant immigrant community from the Middle East and surrounding areas.

Facades under coconut trees, Fort de France-Martinique, French Antihas

Verdant coconut palms tower over a colorful, almost earthy building in Fort-de-France.

We also meet the Chen family who decided to move three years ago from Cayenne and open their Mei Dieda bazaar because French Guiana has become too dangerous.

From time to time, this more down-to-earth and multi-ethnic Fort-de-France makes you forget who you belong to. The sensation rarely lasts.

When we reach the vicinity of Saint Louis Cathedral, the funeral of a former war veteran takes place, a ceremony that takes place with pomp and military circumstance.

Military Funeral-Fort de France, Martinique, French Antihas

Patriotic procession carried out during the funeral of a military man from Martinique.

The slow procession comes from the coastal area decorated by more French flags and insignia.

Officials, family and friends with a Gallic profile greet and greet other Afros, and the moment, so delicate, once again shuffles the data. We needed a year or two to live in these French-speaking confines to better understand its true universal principles.

Saint-Pierre, Martinique

The City that Arose from the Ashes

In 1900, the economic capital of the Antilles was envied for its Parisian sophistication, until the Pelée volcano charred and buried it. More than a century later, Saint-Pierre is still regenerating.
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
Cilaos, Reunion Island

Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

Cilaos appears in one of the old green boilers on the island of Réunion. It was initially inhabited by outlaw slaves who believed they were safe at that end of the world. Once made accessible, nor did the remote location of the crater prevent the shelter of a village that is now peculiar and flattered.

Island of Goreia, Senegal

A Slave Island of Slavery

Were several millions or just thousands of slaves passing through Goreia on their way to the Americas? Whatever the truth, this small Senegalese island will never be freed from the yoke of its symbolism.”

Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

The Swampy Freedom of Quilombo do Remanso

Runaway slaves have survived for centuries around a wetland in Chapada Diamantina. Today, the quilombo of Remanso is a symbol of their union and resistance, but also of the exclusion to which they were voted.
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Soufriere e Scotts Head, Dominica

The Life That Hangs from Nature's Caribbean Island

It has the reputation of being the wildest island in the Caribbean and, having reached its bottom, we continue to confirm it. From Soufriére to the inhabited southern edge of Scotts Head, Dominica remains extreme and difficult to tame.
Maho Beach, Sint Maarten

The Jet-powered Caribbean Beach

At first glance, Princess Juliana International Airport appears to be just another one in the vast Caribbean. Successive landings skimming Maho beach that precedes its runway, jet take-offs that distort the faces of bathers and project them into the sea, make it a special case.
English Harbor, Antigua (Antilles)

Nelson's Dockyard: The Former Naval Base and Abode of the Admiral

In the XNUMXth century, as the English disputed control of the Caribbean and the sugar trade with their colonial rivals, they took over the island of Antigua. There they came across a jagged cove they called English Harbour. They made it a strategic port that also housed the idolized naval officer.
Saint George, Grenada

A Caribbean History Detonation

The peculiar Saint George spreads along the slope of an inactive volcano and around a U-shaped cove. Its abundant and undulating houses attest to the wealth generated over the centuries on the island of Grenada, of which it is the capital.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Safari
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Architecture & Design
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Adventure
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Goiás Velho, Legacy of the Gold Fever, Brazil
Cities
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Meal
Markets

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Culture
Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia – High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

From New Zealand to Easter Island and from here to Hawaii, there are many variations of Polynesian dances. Fia Fia's Samoan nights, in particular, are enlivened by one of the more fast-paced styles.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Traveling
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Tulum, Mayan Ruins of the Riviera Maya, Mexico
Ethnic
Overall, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

History
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Mexcaltitán, Nayarit, Mexico, from the air
Islands
Mexcaltitan, Nayarit, Mexico

An Island Between Myth and Mexican Genesis

Mexcaltitán is a rounded lake island, full of houses and which, during the rainy season, is only passable by boat. It is still believed that it could be Aztlán. The village that the Aztecs left in a wandering that ended with the foundation of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the empire that the Spanish would conquer.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Literature
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Nature
Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Machangulo, Mozambique, sunset
Natural Parks
Machangulo, Mozambique

The Golden Peninsula of Machangulo

At a certain point, an ocean inlet divides the long sandy strip full of hyperbolic dunes that delimits Maputo Bay. Machangulo, as the lower section is called, is home to one of the most magnificent coastlines in Mozambique.
Roça Sundy, Príncipe Island, Theory of Relativity, Lookout
UNESCO World Heritage
Roca Sundy, Príncipe Island, São Tomé and Principe

The Certainty of Relativity

In 1919, Arthur Eddington, a British astrophysicist, chose the Roça Sundy to prove Albert Einstein's famous theory. More than a century later, the island of Príncipe that welcomed him is still among the most stunning places in the Universe.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
Characters
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Tobago, Pigeon Point, Scarborough, Pontoon
Beaches
Scarborough a Pigeon Point, Tobago

Probing the Capital Tobago

From the walled heights of Fort King George, to the threshold of Pigeon Point, southwest Tobago around the capital Scarborough reveals unrivaled controversial tropics.
Religion
Annapurna Circuit: 5th - Ngawal a BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Train Fianarantsoa to Manakara, Malagasy TGV, locomotive
On Rails
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
cozy Vegas
Society
Las Vegas, USA

World Capital of Weddings vs Sin City

The greed of the game, the lust of prostitution and the widespread ostentation are all part of Las Vegas. Like the chapels that have neither eyes nor ears and promote eccentric, quick and cheap marriages.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
Wildlife
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.