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.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
safari
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Visitors in Jameos del Água, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Architecture & Design
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
Adventure
Volcanoes

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
knights of the divine, faith in the divine holy spirit, Pirenopolis, Brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Cities
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
Singapore

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
capillary helmet
Culture
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
Sport
Competitions

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Seljalandsfoss Escape
Traveling
Iceland

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
Intha rowers on a channel of Lake Inlé
Ethnic
Inle Lake, Myanmar

The Dazzling Lakustrine Burma

With an area of ​​116km2, Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar. It's much more than that. The ethnic diversity of its population, the profusion of Buddhist temples and the exoticism of local life make it an unmissable stronghold of Southeast Asia.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Lights of Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go, Ogimachi, Japan, Village of Houses in Gassho
History
Ogimashi, Japan

A Village Faithful to the A

Ogimashi reveals a fascinating heritage of Japanese adaptability. Located in one of the most snowy places on Earth, this village has perfected houses with real anti-collapse structures.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Landing
Islands
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
shadow vs light
Literature
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Capelinhos volcano, Misterios, Faial, Azores
Nature
Capelinhos Volcano, Faial, Azores

On the trail of the Capelinhos Mistery

From one coast of the island to the opposite one, through the mists, patches of pasture and forests typical of the Azores, we discover Faial and the Mystery of its most unpredictable volcano.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Walk on the coast, Villarrica volcano, Pucon, Chile
Natural Parks
Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Ascent to the Villarrica Volcano Crater, in Full Activity

Pucón abuses nature's trust and thrives at the foot of the Villarrica mountain. We follow this bad example along icy trails and conquer the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in South America.
Christmas in the Caribbean, nativity scene in Bridgetown
UNESCO World Heritage
Bridgetown, Barbados e Grenada

A Caribbean Christmas

Traveling, from top to bottom, across the Lesser Antilles, the Christmas period catches us in Barbados and Grenada. With families across the ocean, we adjusted to the heat and beach festivities of the Caribbean.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Characters
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
View of Casa Iguana, Corn islands, pure caribbean, nicaragua
Beaches
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Religion
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Bright bus in Apia, Western Samoa
Society
Samoa  

In Search of the Lost Time

For 121 years, it was the last nation on Earth to change the day. But Samoa realized that his finances were behind him and, in late 2012, he decided to move back west on the LID - International Date Line.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
El Tatio Geisers, Atacama, Chile, Between ice and heat
Wildlife
El Tatio, Chile

El Tatio Geysers – Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.