22787
Martinique
The Allure of Martinique: A Taste of France in the Caribbean
The enchanting island of Martinique boasts fascinating French history and breathtaking Caribbean beauty. Explore this unique island with naturalists and local experts.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22787RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
1,949
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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8 days
7 nights
13 meals
7 B 4 L 2 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Check In, Welcome Dinner
Martinique
D
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Please note that due to Martinique's tropical climate, you may experience high levels of humidity during the program.

Afternoon: We will meet our Group Leader outside the baggage claim area, then transfer as a group by private motorcoach to the hotel for check-in.

Dinner: We’ll sit down to a light dinner with main course and dessert, accompanied by a glass of French wine and coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll introduce ourselves and begin getting acquainted with our fellow Road Scholars.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Please note that the order of events in the schedule may change according to the flight departure day.

DAY
2
Orientation, Fort-de-France
Martinique
B,L
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 1/4 mile, approximately 12 minutes to ferry; flat, paved sidewalks and road. Ferry ride approximately 20 minutes, open and covered areas. In Fort de France, walking up to 3 miles and standing.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the daily breakfast buffet offers choices such as soft and hard boiled eggs, cheese, fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, traditional French breads and pastries, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Orientation. We’ll gather in the hotel conference room where the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation for field trips will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then set out with our Group Leader and walk to the Pointe du Bout marina and take the ferry across the bay to Fort-de-France. Upon arrival, a local expert will lead our walking field trip to explore Martinique’s capital city and see highlights such as the colorful central market, the Aimé Césaire Museum, and the Bibliothèque Schoelcher (Library). This small museum is dedicated to the renowned poet, playwright and politician, Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated cultural figures. He was a long-serving Mayor of Fort-de-France and a Deputy from Martinique to the French National Assembly, honored throughout the French-speaking world. Unique in its architecture, the Schoelcher Library was built in France for the World Exposition of 1889. It was then dismantled, shipped to Martinique, and reassembled piece by piece as a monument to the 19th Century French abolitionist writer Victor Schoelcher.

Lunch: At a traditional restaurant, we’ll have a 2-course meal featuring Creole specialties plus coffee, tea, water. Martinican cuisine is a mélange of African, French, Carib and South Asian flavors using local produce.

Afternoon: After returning on the ferry back to the hotel, we’ll gather for a lecture by a university professor to learn how the economy of Martinique operates as an overseas department of France. We’ll then walk to a nearby restaurant to enjoy conversation and cultural interaction with local Martinicans over an apéritif.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are numerous choices in the area around the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Domaine d’Emeraude, Balata Gardens, Le Carbet Beach
Martinique
B,L
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Walk to ferry, cross bay; full day of travel by motorcoach over winding, sometimes mountainous roads. Walking about 1/4 mile, approximately 45 minutes at Emerald Domaine and again at Balata Gardens; paved and unpaved paths; uneven and rocky terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll walk to the marina and take the ferry to Fort-de-France, where we’ll board a private motorcoach. Heading north, we’ll drive through the center of the island to the town of Le Morne-Rouge situated on a plateau between Mount Pelée and the Carbet Peaks. At the Balata Gardens enjoy the lovely tropical flower collections and scenic viewpoints on a self-guided walk. We continue our journey a short distance to the Domaine d’Emeraude (Emerald Field) nature reserve, we’ll meet a naturalist who will lead our walking field trip through the lush green rainforest that provides habitat for more than 100 native species. We’ll learn about the island’s formation, its unique biodiversity, economic development through the revival and study of rare and endangered plants, and sustainable land use.

Lunch: At Domaine d' Emeraude, we'll enjoy lunch with choices from typical home-style cuisine.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll drive down to the coast to St. Pierre, the former capital of the island, and learn how it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Driving south along the coast, we’ll move on to Le Carbet beach for sunset and enjoy a typical Martinique rum cocktail (or fruit juice). We’ll also learn from a chef how to make accra, the cod fish fritter that is the most popular appetizer on the island. Happy and relaxed, we’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Habitation Clément, Musée de la Banane, Bélé
Martinique
B,L
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Full day of motorcoach travel on winding roads, with some hilly roads. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, about 1 mile at Habitation Clément, standing indoors and outdoors up to 1.5 hours at a time; paved path with minor inclines.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board our motorcoach and drive southeast to Habitation Clément. We’ll have audio guides to enhance our self directed exploration. We’ll see historic 18th century Creole architecture recalling the French West Indian Creole lifestyle of this still operating sugar mill and rum distillery. We’ll also stroll through the grounds that have been designated a “Remarkable Garden” by the Ministry of Culture and National Council of Parks and Gardens. The nearly 40 acres (16 hectares) contain some 300 species of plants and trees from tropical regions of the world as well as modern art sculpture. We’ll browse the Caribbean art exhibition in the newly constructed gallery, then learn how rum was made in the past and now with modern techniques. Next, we’ll drive along the western coast to Musée de la Banane, the Banana Museum.

Lunch: At the museum, we’ll enjoy Creole cuisine.

Afternoon: This small museum is surrounded by banana plants, including hundreds of varieties from around the world. With a museum docent, we’ll learn surprising facts about bananas and walk through the gardens to see an amazing array of flowers and types of bananas. We’ll move on to a cultural center and learn about Bèlè, a traditional dance that developed here hundreds of years ago. We’ll see a performance of this dance that combines African and Caribbean traits in flirtatious back-and-forth movements between a man and a woman, accompanied by drums. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the local fare of your choice.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
La Savane des Esclaves, Musée de la Pagerie,
Martinique
B
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1/4 mile at a time, approximately 1 hour at Slaves Savannah and La Pagerie Museum plus standing; paths and unpaved ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll depart for a field trip to La Savane des Esclaves (the Savannah of Slaves). This re-creation of a “free slave” village, circa 1800, illustrates the experience of slaves who escaped plantations and lived off the land. We’ll walk through the village with a docent and learn about the history of Martinique’s people from the indigenous Arawaks to the heritage of these “Nègre marrons.” Moving back to Les Trois Îlets, we’ll arrive at Le Musée de la Pagerie (Pagerie Museum), all that remains of an old sugar plantation. It was here that Josephine — Marie Joseph Rose Tascher de la Pagerie — the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, was born. The former family kitchen is preserved as a museum, which we’ll explore. In the shade of the former sugar mill, we’ll have a presentation by a local expert on the people and cultural heritage of Martinique. We will then return to the hotel for a free afternoon.

Lunch: On your own in Pointe du Bout to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free. You could head to the local beach, browse the galleries in Pointe du Bout, or take the ferry back to Fort de France to explore a museum.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Cap 110, Moulin de Val d’Or, Grande Anse, Les Salines Beach
Martinique
B,L
La Pagerie Hotel

Activity note: Full day of travel by motorcoach; winding, sometimes hilly roads. Walking and standing outdoors at the mill, approximately 45 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll drive along the southern coast of the island to Cap 110 and stop to view the moving sculpture memorial to victims of the slave trade. It was at this spot in 1830 that an illegal slave ship ran aground during a storm. Out of some 300 slaves on board, only 86 were rescued. We’ll continue to the southeast corner of the island and the Moulin de Val d’Or (Golden Valley Mill), a faithful reconstruction of what was one of the largest sugarcane mills in the Caribbean. Through the explanation of historical interpreters, we’ll learn how sugarcane was milled using human and animal power.

Lunch: At a beachfront restaurant in Grand Anse, we’ll enjoy Creole specialties.

Afternoon: Free Time. We’ll have time to relax or stroll on the Les Salines beach, renowned as one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean with expanses of white sand and palm trees. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy the local fare of your choice.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Free Day for Independent Exploration
Martinique
B,D
La Pagerie Hotel

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time.

Dinner: At a restaurant near the hotel, we’ll have a farewell dinner to celebrate our exploration of this outpost of France in the Caribbean. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for early departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Early morning hotel check out.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet breakfast including cereal, yoghurt, cheeses, pastries, coffee, tea and juices. Time depends on flight schedule.

Morning: Early morning group transfer by private motorcoach to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program.