Martinique with kids!

People often wonder : Is Martinique a dream destination when travelling with kids ? My answer is definitely YES! No need to mention that thousands of children live here and that women (including me 😉 give birth everyday here ! Of course, it’s hot and there are mosquitos but is it really a reason to miss all the treasures Martinique offers ? Believe me, it’s truly a paradise for adults as well as children !

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Martinique is a French Caribbean Island where you will find hospitals, doctors and pharmacies, which does not prevent you from taking a first-aid kit with the key medicines for kids and your prescriptions as well if your children have specific medical needs. You will also find everything you need for babies and children at the supermarket.

Depending on the accommodation you choose on the island, feel free to ask if it is possible to get a cot or a highchair for instance. If not, you can always rent childcare equipment on site, which can be useful.

In this case, I recommend you get in touch with :
BĂ©bĂ© Vadrouille – Sainte Luce
Stéphanie Lafon
+596.596.74.58.44
http://www.bebevadrouille.com

Please note that you can order online and be delivered directly at the airport or at your holiday home.

Regarding the car seat, be aware that most of the Car Rental Companies offer this service, but do not forget to mention it when booking.

IT’S JUST A MATTER OF ORGANIZATION

Cabin Baggage

Many parents worry about the restrictions for liquids on an airplane. Note

that Baby food, milk and water needed on board are allowed when travelling with children.

My advice :

Get extra clothes for ALL the family ! Again, I am talking about what I already experienced 😉 You never know what can happen.

Get extra diapers and baby wipes (it’s better to be safe than sorry) and a towel to put on the changing table in the airplane as well. Even if toilets in the airplane have special arrangements for babies, I recommend you prefer the airport toilets until the final boarding! Much more comfortable.

Last but not least, get your firstaid kit on board (thermometer, paracetamol, physiological serum, nasal aspirator,
)

Transportation

If you are travelling with a little baby, lucky you, it is often much easier. Trust me, as soon as your child is able to walk, the only thing he will have on his mind is exploring the airplane to its most remote corners. Unless you have something much more interesting to offer!IMG_8013

First step: When you are at the check-in desk, do not hesitate to ask the hostess/stewart about the flight load – and if you are lucky enough – ask her/him to save a seat for you. You will never have too much room in an airplane, especially when travelling with a kid.

Second step: How to distract a chid during the flight?Children under 24 months old are not entitled to a seat. I recommend you book an infant bassinet (a tiny bed that connects to the wall of the aircraft, designed just for babies) as soon as possible because there are only a limited numbers available. And once you’ve booked it, do not hesitate to call the airline company to make sure your request has been registered. Be aware that in case of turbulence, the crew may ask you to take your chid in your arms which means taking the risk to wake him up but
 safety first!
Keep a bottle or a dummy handy during take off and landing. Best way to avoid earache due to a drop in cabin pressure.
Do not forget to bring a baby sleep bag or a soft and warm blanket. Nights are often really cold in an airplane. And if not, you’ll just have to take it off.

For older children (15 months and +), I suggest you bring some new toys that might distract them, at least for a few moments. (Forget the noisy ones if you want other passengers to have a little empathy for you) :
‱ stickers
‱ Coloring book, coloured pencils, felts,..
‱ Finger puppets
‱ Books
‱ Magic Slate
‱ little secret boxes
‱ Video game Console
‱ Cards
‱ origami,


Do not give them all at once, save some !

If your child is 2 years old or more, he will have his own seat and his own tv screen! Good news, yes, but, most of the time, headphones are standard-size and a bit too large for young children.
The solution ? Get headphones for kids (volume limited). You can find nice ones on the internet for less than 20 dollars.

What to do on site with children?

IMG_6477Martinique offers dozens and dozens of amazing beaches but some some of them are more adapted to babies or young children with calm sea and easy access.

1 / Beaches I would recommend with kids (non-exhaustive list) are : Sainte Anne, Pointe Marin, Anse Mitan, Pointe Faula, Grande Anse, Anse d’Arlet, Anse Dufour, Plage du bourg de Tartane, Salines, Anse Figuier, Anse Michel, Cap Chevalier, Ilet Chevalier, Anse Ă  l’ñne
 Note that beaches in « Le Diamant » are beautiful but there are dangerous sea currents there. So you should be very careful.

2 / Sea excursions: Go off to explore the island seen from the sea, meet dolphins and Iagunas, experience the famous « fonds blancs » and so much more. If your kids are comfortable in the water, you might think about snorkeling! (In this case, go around « les Anses d’Arlet », Grande Anse, Anse Dufour, Anse noire,


Those ones are really worthy :
http://www.croisieres-denebola.com
http://www.bonbagay-activitesmartinique.com
http://samsara1924.com



3 / Amusement park or ou recreational activities:
Mangofil – http://www.mangofil.eu
Acro’kids – http://acrokids.fr
Acro’kart – https://www.acrokart.com
Le Maya Beach Club (Anse Caritan) : http://www.mayabeachclub.com
RadonnĂ©es en buggy – http://www.randobuggymartinique.com
Aquabulle – https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Attraction_Review-g776151-d4450645-Reviews-Aquabulle-Le_Marin_Arrondissement_of_Le_Marin_Martinique.html



Other excursions :
The Zoo – http://www.zoodemartinique.com
Balata Garden – http://www.jardindebalata.fr
Le domaine d’émeraude (Morne Rouge) – http://pnr-martinique.com/visiter/domaine-demeraude/
L’habitation Belfort – http://www.visitebelfort.com
Distillery JM and its trip en 4X4 au coeur de l’habitation – http://www.rhum-jm.com/fr/
Le saut du gendarme waterfall
« Coeur Bouliki » Forest



Precautions that must be taken

IMG_8116I would definitely point out 4 main risks when travelling to Martinique with (or without) kids : Sun, Mosquitoes, dehydration et Manchineel trees.

‱ Apply high protection sunscreen on your kids, a lycra and a hat.
‱ Encourage him to drink water regularly
‱ When the sun goes down, apply « special kids » insect repellent lotion. Personnaly, I use the « MoustiCologne » sold in pharmacies for my daughter and it is a very good one.
‱ Be aware that trees with a red ring on their trunk (called Manchineel trees) can be very toxic, especially when it is raining. Discourage your children from picking and eating fruits, hanging clothes, climbing or even touching them.
‱ At least, sandal jellyfish can be a good option to go skippping on the beach or on the rocks.

Bien voyager en Martinique avec des enfants

Vous ĂȘtes nombreux Ă  vous poser la question : La Martinique est-elle une destination adaptĂ©e aux joyeux bambins ? Ma rĂ©ponse, sans hĂ©siter, est OUI. Il est important de rappeler que des milliers d’enfants vivent en Martinique et que des femmes y accouchent chaque jour, j’en fais partie.
 Bien sĂ»r, il fait chaud et il y a des moustiques mais est-ce vraiment une raison pour se priver de tout ce que la Martinique a Ă  offrir ? Croyez moi, ici, c’est le paradis des grands comme des petits 🙂

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La Martinique est un dĂ©partement français, vous y trouverez donc hĂŽpitaux, mĂ©decins, maisons de garde, mĂ©dicaments (ce qui ne vous dispense pas de prĂ©voir une petite trousse Ă  pharmacie avec les incontournables ainsi que vos ordonnances si vos enfants suivent un traitement particulier.) Vous trouverez Ă©galement sans mal tout ce qui vous sera nĂ©cessaire en terme d’hygiĂšne, et d’alimentation au rayon « bĂ©bĂ©s » des supermarchĂ©s !

En fonction de votre lieu d’hĂ©bergement, n’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  demander s’il est possible de disposer d’un lit parapluie ou d’une chaise haute par exemple. Dans le cas contraire, vous avez la possibilitĂ© de louer du matĂ©riel de puĂ©riculture sur place, ce qui peut s’avĂ©rer trĂšs utile.

Je vous recommande dans ce cas de vous adresser Ă  :
BĂ©bĂ© Vadrouille – Sainte Luce
Stéphanie Lafon
05.96.74.58.44
http://www.bebevadrouille.com

PossibilitĂ© de commander en ligne et d’ĂȘtre livrĂ© directement Ă  l’aĂ©roport ou sur votre lieu de sĂ©jour.

IMG_8013En ce qui concerne le siĂšge auto, sachez que la plupart des loueurs proposent cette option, encore faut-il penser Ă  le prĂ©ciser lors de rĂ©servation. J’aurais mĂȘme tendance Ă  vous conseiller de vĂ©rifier que votre demande a bien Ă©tĂ© prise en compte, 48h avant votre arrivĂ©e !

TOUT EST QUESTION D’ORGANISATION !

Le bagage Ă  main

Beaucoup de parents s’inquiĂštent quant aux restrictions en matiĂšre de liquide lorsqu’on voyage en avion. Sachez que ces restrictions ne s’appliquent pas aux enfants en bas Ăąge. Vous pouvez donc prĂ©voir sereinement : bouteille d’eau, lait, compotes et autres petits pots ! Sans restriction mais dans la limite du raisonnable bien entendu.

PrĂ©voyez des vĂȘtements de change pour TOUTE la famille. LĂ  encore, je parle d’expĂ©rience. Un incident est vite arrivĂ© !
Pensez Ă  prĂ©voir des couches et lingettes  en quantitĂ© suffisante (Mieux vaut trop que pas assez) ainsi qu’un lange ou une serviette de toilette pour poser sur la table Ă  langer de l’avion. Bien que les toilettes de l’avion disposent d’un amĂ©nagement spĂ©cial pour changer bĂ©bĂ©, je vous conseille de profiter des toilettes de l’aĂ©roport, bien plus confortables, jusqu’au dernier moment ;).

Prévoir enfin une petite trousse à pharmacie (thermomÚtre, paracétamol, sérum phy, mouche bébé,
) Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir !

Le transport

Je ne vais pas vous raconter d’histoire, 8 heures d’avion, c’est long
.

IMG_6477C’est long oui, mais c’est parfaitement faisable, avec un peu d’organisation !
Si vous avez un tout petit bĂ©bĂ©, rĂ©jouissez-vous, c’est souvent bien plus facile Ă  gĂ©rer qu’un long courrier avec un enfant qui a bien compris l’utilitĂ© de ses deux jambes et qui n’aura qu’une idĂ©e en tĂȘte : arpenter les moindres recoins de l’avion.

PremiĂšre Ă©tape : l’enregistrement. Lorsque vous enregistrez au comptoir, n’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  interroger l’hĂŽtesse sur le remplissage du vol. S’il n’est pas complet – et si vous tombez sur quelqu’un de sympa – demandez lui s’il possible de bloquer la place Ă  cotĂ© de vous ! On n’a jamais trop de place dans un avion, surtout quand on voyage avec un bambin plein d’énergie.

DeuxiĂšme Ă©tape : Comment occuper votre enfant pendant le vol ?
Les enfants de moins de deux ans n’ont pas de siĂšge rĂ©servĂ©. Je vous recommande de reserver une nacelle (c’est un mini lit bĂ©bĂ© qui s’accroche au mur, face Ă  vous) au plus tĂŽt! Leur nombre Ă  bord est limitĂ©. En thĂ©orie, elles sont gĂ©nĂ©ralement rĂ©servĂ©es aux enfants de moins de un an ou moins de 9 kilos, mais dans la pratique, cela dĂ©pend vraiment de la compagnie aĂ©rienne et du personnel Ă  bord. N’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  vous rapprocher de votre compagnie aĂ©rienne pour plus de prĂ©cision.

Gardez un biberon (ou une sucette) sous la main pour les phases d’atterrissage et de dĂ©collage. Cela peut Ă©viter l’inconfort et le mal d’oreilles liĂ© au changement de pression.

Enfin, pensez Ă  prendre une gigoteuse ou autre couverture ainsi que le fameux « doudou » s’il en est un. Sauf exception, il fait plus souvent froid que chaud dans un avion !

Pour les plus grands (Ă  partir de  15 mois), je vous recommande de prĂ©voir quelques « nouveaux » jouets qui vont susciter l’intĂ©rĂȘt de l’enfant – au moins pendant quelques minutes :
– Gommettes / autocollants
– Coloriage – feutres, crayons de couleurs
– Marionnettes Ă  doigts
– Livres
– Ardoise magique
– PoupĂ©es russes ou petites boites Ă  secrets
– Console de jeux
– Cartes
– origami et autres jeux de pliage

Et bien entendu, sortez-les les uns aprĂšs les autres
 Pas de prĂ©cipitation 😉

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Si l’enfant a plus de deux ans, il se verra attribuer un siĂšge et par consĂ©quent un Ă©cran de tĂ©lĂ©vision. Par expĂ©rience, les casques proposĂ©s sont rarement adaptĂ©s aux oreilles de nos chĂ©rubins. La solution ? acheter un casque audio enfant (avec sĂ©curitĂ© sonore). Vous pouvez en commander sur internet pour moins de 20 euros.

Le décalage horaire :

Selon la pĂ©riode de votre sĂ©jour (heure d’étĂ©/heure d’hiver), il y a 5 Ă  6 heures de dĂ©calage entre la mĂ©tropole et la Martinique. PrĂ©parez-vous donc Ă  des rĂ©veils trĂšs matinaux les jours qui suivent votre arrivĂ©e. Par chance, le soleil se lĂšve tĂŽt chez nous 🙂
Il n’y a malheureusement pas de recette miracle
 Par expĂ©rience, j’aurais tendance Ă  vous dire de respecter le rythme de votre enfant, mĂȘme s’il lui faut quelques jours (ou quelques nuits) pour se caler.
Dans le sens du retour, les vols sont gĂ©nĂ©ralement des vols de nuit et malgrĂ© l’excitation du voyage, peu d’enfants rĂ©sistent au passage du marchand de sable. Vous arriverez en dĂ©but de matinĂ©e, la nuit aura probablement Ă©tĂ© courte mais essayez dans la mesure du possible d’esquiver la sieste ou de la limiter au maximum. Moins l’enfant dormira sur cette journĂ©e de transition, meilleures seront vos chances de rĂ©cupĂ©ration du nouvel horaire.

Que faire sur place avec un enfant :

La Martinique offre des dizaines et des dizaines de plages magnifiques mais certaines, plus calmes et plus faciles d’accĂšs, sont mieux adaptĂ©es aux familles.

1 / Les plages Ă  privilĂ©gier avec des enfants en bas Ăąge (liste non exhaustive): Sainte Anne, Pointe Marin, Anse Mitan, Anse Caritan, Pointe Faula, Anse Dufour, Plage du bourg de Tartane, Salines, Anse Figuier, Anse Michel, Cap Chevalier, Ilet Chevalier, Anse Ă  l’ñne, Grande Anse
 La plage du Diamant, bien que trĂšs belle, peut s’avĂ©rer dangereuse pour les enfants en raison de ses forts courants.

IMG_81162 / Les sorties en mer (bateau ou kayak), Ă  la rencontre des Dauphins ou en mode « éco tourisme » rencontrent toujours un franc succĂšs auprĂšs des enfants. Vous pouvez Ă©galement envisager, selon l’ñge de l’enfant, des sorties « PMT » (plongĂ©e masque tuba) plus communĂ©ment appelĂ©es « snorkelling » (PrĂ©fĂ©rez dans ce cas les plages de l’Anse Dufour, Anse Noire, Les Anses d’Arlet,
 )

3 / Les Parcs d’attraction ou activitĂ©s ludiques :
Mangofil – http://www.mangofil.eu
Le Lions Parc – http://www.lionsparc.fr/plan-site.php
Acro’kids – http://acrokids.fr
Acro’kart – https://www.acrokart.com
Le Maya Beach Club (Anse Caritan) : http://www.mayabeachclub.com
RadonnĂ©es en buggy – http://www.randobuggymartinique.com
Aquabulle – https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Attraction_Review-g776151-d4450645-Reviews-Aquabulle-Le_Marin_Arrondissement_of_Le_Marin_Martinique.html

Autres ballades :
Le Zoo de la Martinique – http://www.zoodemartinique.com
Le Jardin de Balata – http://www.jardindebalata.fr
Le domaine d’émeraude au Morne Rouge – http://pnr-martinique.com/visiter/domaine-demeraude/
L’habitation Belfort – http://www.visitebelfort.com
Distillerie JM et sa ballade en 4X4 au coeur de l’habitation – http://www.rhum-jm.com/fr/
La cascade du Saut du gendarme
La forĂȘt de Coeur Bouliki
L’habitation CĂ©ron

Les précautions à prendre :
J’aurais tendance Ă  insister sur les 4 « dangers » Ă  prendre en considĂ©ration lorsqu’on voyage en Martinique avec un enfant : Soleil, Moustique, dĂ©shydratation et Manceniliers.

1/ Protéger votre enfant avec crÚme solaire indice 50, lycra et chapeau

2 / N’attendez pas que votre enfant se plaigne d’avoir soif. N’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  lui proposer de l’eau rĂ©guliĂšrement.

2/ A la tombĂ©e de la nuit, badigeonnez-le avec de la lotion anti-moustique (le Mousticologne vendu est pharmacie est celui que j’utilise pour ma fille)

4/ Sachez que les arbres marquĂ©s d’une bague rouge au niveau du tronc appelĂ©s Mancenillliers peuvent ĂȘtre extrĂȘmement toxiques : Interdisez Ă  votre enfant d’en cueillir les fruits, de l’escalader ou mĂȘme d’y suspendre des vĂȘtements, surtout par un temps pluvieux.

Enfin, n’hĂ©sitez pas Ă  investir dans une paire de mĂ©duses ou autres sandales en plastique pour gambader sur la plage et dans les rochers.

Alors ? Convaincus ? 😉

Martinique, Surf et Photographie. Le tiercĂ© gagnant d’Olivier Egloff, Reporter de sensations fortes

Entre le championnat de Martinique, la coupe de France de Surf et dans quelques jours, le Martinique Surf Pro 2017 – une compĂ©tition internationale qui rĂ©unira plus de 140 surfeurs venus du monde entier – l’actualitĂ© surf est bien chargĂ©e ces derniers jours.

Parce que chez Martinique Travel Consulting,  on aime aborder les choses sous un angle un peu diffĂ©rent, c’est Ă  travers le regard d’Olivier Egloff, photographe, que nous avons dĂ©cidĂ© de vous faire dĂ©couvrir l’univers du Surf. En peu de temps, il est devenu en Martinique une rĂ©fĂ©rence incontournable en matiĂšre de photographie de surf. Focus sur le parcours de ce Reporter de sensations fortes.

Olivier Egloff SelfieCertes, Olivier et la photographie, c’est une longue histoire d’amour. Plus qu’une passion, un « virus que sa mĂšre lui a transmis dĂšs son plus jeune Ăąge » nous a t-il confiĂ©. Pourtant, c’est dans un tout autre univers qu’il va dĂ©marrer sa vie professionnelle : celui de l’artisanat du bĂątiment. AprĂšs avoir sillonnĂ© la France, l’Angleterre et l’Italie en tant que charpentier chez les Compagnons du Devoir, dĂ©vorĂ© par ses envies d’ailleurs, il dĂ©cide finalement de voyager “librement”. Tour Ă  tour moniteur de kitesurf et de plongĂ©e sous-marine aux Canaries, en Egypte puis en ThaĂŻlande,  c’est finalement en Martinique qu’il dĂ©cide de poser ses valises il y a un an et demi pour se consacrer entiĂšrement Ă  sa passion pour la photographie.

The EscapeUne discipline qui, tout comme le surf, nĂ©cessite une excellente condition physique, un bon niveau de natation, d’apnĂ©e, de solides connaissances sur le milieu marin. Mais pas seulement
. Car photographier des surfeurs, c’est avant tout maitriser dans l’eau un matĂ©riel imposant, mais aussi composer avec la nature et les Ă©lĂ©ments extĂ©rieurs : les vagues, les courants, la lumiĂšre naturelle et bien entendu
 les surfeurs ! Une communautĂ© au sein de laquelle Olivier s’est intĂ©grĂ© sans aucune difficultĂ©. « De tous mes voyages, c’est sans appel l’endroit ou j’ai rencontrĂ© aussi facilement autant de personnes vraiment adorables et avec autant de bonnes vibrations. C’est une communautĂ© ouverte et accueillante, plein de belles valeurs de respect et de partage. »

Young ThugEt lorsque l’on demande Ă  Olivier Egloff ce qui, selon lui, rend ses photographies  si « spĂ©ciales », voici ce qu’il nous rĂ©pond : « C’est une question difficile. J’ai mis longtemps Ă  me sentir lĂ©gitime puisque ce n’est pas ma formation initiale. J’ai tout appris seul et ça n’a pas Ă©tĂ© facile. Quand je pense Ă  mon mĂ©tier aujourd’hui, ce dont je suis le plus heureux, c’est d’avoir l’opportunitĂ© d’aller dans les vagues avec les surfeurs. C’est un moment de partage et d’émotions absolument incroyable. Cela procure des  sensations tellement intenses. C’est impossible Ă  dĂ©crire. Je pense qu’il faut vraiment le vivre pour comprendre.  Il y a comme un courant qui passe, une Ă©nergie que l’on se transmet mutuellement. C’est peut ĂȘtre en cela que mes photos se « dĂ©marquent » . Toutes ces Ă©motions, la magie de l’instant, l’amour, c’est vraiment ce que j’essaye de vĂ©hiculer. »

Til The Last Drop

Si vous souhaitez en savoir plus sur le travail d’Olivier Egloff, rendez-vous sur http://www.olivieregloffphotography.com. Notez Ă©galement qu’à l’occasion de la Coupe de France de Surf qui se dĂ©roulera Ă  l’Anse Bonneville Ă  Tartane le vendredi 31 mars 2017, Olivier Egloff exposera sur la plage.

The « Tombolo » in Sainte-Marie is now entirely opened but it won’t last. Do not miss it! It is a treasure.

Once a year, during a few weeks (between February and May), something kind of magical happens in Sainte-Marie City:  The sea level gets lower and a sand bar appears connecting to a tiny island named « L’ilet de Sainte-Marie ».  So if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, just go. You will not regret


IMG_6208 2

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I walked on the water! Yes ! I did that and it was so exciting!

According to the dictionary, the Tombolo is a sand bar connecting a small island to the mainland or to another island. I know, said like this, really, I do not sell dreams
 But that is theory. In fact, it is not less than an amazing scenery Mother Nature offers once a year during a short time. In seven letters: AWESOME!

The Story of « Ilet Sainte Marie »:

Over time,  due to its strategic position « Ilet Sainte-Marie »  was an observation post during wars, a tiny port and even a place for harvest of sugar cane. Besides, you will see the ruins of a small railway that were used to transport marchandises to Sainte-Marie. It is now a Nature Reserve whose primary mission is to protect the bay during bad weather.

The place was developed with footpaths and stairs giving a chance to discover the « ilet » and its surprisingly diverse landscapes.

Note that paths on the right side of the « Ilet » are not accessible during nesting season (from 1st April to 31st August) because it is a nature reserve inhabited by the Roseate Terns (in French: « Les Sternes de Dougall »), a seabirds species.

« Ilet Sainte-Marie » is one of nature’s oddities that is so worth the visit! Whether you are in vacation or you live here, alone or with your family, you have to visit it ! Clearly another not-to-be-missed event in Martinique!

Pay attention: Although this area looks really nice and peaceful, bathing is dangerous and  not supervised. Stay safe!

 

Carnival in Martinique: A Unique, Colorful and Lively Celebration

If you are in Martinique right now or if you plan to travel to this beautiful French Caribbean Island within early-March, lucky you: you will have the opportunity to experience our famous Carnival!

Even though festivities started a few weeks ago now, the Carnival will go full swing from the 26th of February to the 1st of March 2017. A truly unique celebration that you do not want to miss if you are around! Come and join the fun of Carnival!

Let’s get ready for the 2017 Carnival

© Pierre Jullian
© Pierre Jullian

Carnival in Martinique is a very popular event. It occurs annually during the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The festivities start right after the Epiphany and during almost 2 months, they are going to grow in intensity: bands, parties, and parades progressively fill the streets of villages across Martinique. This is Carnival Fever!

© Pierre Jullian
© Pierre Jullian

Known in Martinique as « Dimanche Gras », Fat Sunday is the official first day of Carnival and features daytime parades with a wide range of costumed characters performing throughout the streets of Martinique cities and villages. That’s the day when you can meet the Carnival Queens and its Majesty « Vaval » – the king of Carnival – a satirical figure representing a politician, a public figure or an institution, which is carried through the streets leading to the festival parade.

On Monday, Carnival turns into a burlesque day full of weddings that are unusual for the least. Men and women challenge gender roles for weddings, with men dressing in drag and women dressing as bridegrooms.

© Pierre Jullian
© Pierre Jullian

Tuesday is known as the day of the devil.

All day long the inhabitants of Martinique celebrate by dressing all in red and wear devil masks in parades and celebrations across the island.

On Ash Wednesday – final celebration – everybody is dressed in black and white to escort its Majesty Vaval to its cremation. It is the last opportunity to indulge before the 40 days of Lent.

Just a tip : Do not even try to park downtown Fort-de-France and be aware of traffic congestions at the end of the parade !

If you want to learn more about the 2017 Carnival Agenda before you visit Martinique, please, click here.

ChantĂ© Nwel – Visit Martinique for Christmas

In Martinique, Christmas celebrations are very important and start long before December 25th, like the famous : « ChantĂ© Nwel » (literally “sing Christmas” in creole), a typical way to celebrate Christmas time singing and dancing in a friendly and joyful atmosphere. It is indeed a serious reason to visit Martinique for Christmas. 
Les "CantiK Sans Prétention"
Les “CantiK Sans PrĂ©tention”
Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be invited to a traditional family« ChantĂ© Nwel », where everyone brings traditional local Christmas food (« PatĂ©s salĂ©s », « Boudin crĂ©ole »,
), drinks to share and everyone sings and dances together. And if you have just landed in Martinique and do not know many people yet, you can also attend a not so private and consequently more accessible « ChantĂ© Nwel » organized by the local city, an association or even by a Bar Restaurant. Note that sometimes, a financial contribution may be asked – about 20 euros. It does not appeal to everyone as many people wish the event were less of a commercial operation. In my opinion, this does not take away the very positive Christmas feeling. 
 
Last Friday, I was invited to the « Chanté Nwel » of a private hospital in Fort de France. It was my first one for this year and knowing what it was all about, I was really excited. As quite often for this kind of event, women are asked to bring something to eat and men something to drink. And everyone is supposed to bring what we call here « Cantiques » a collection of Christmas carols in French (which I suggest you purchase if you plan to intend one). Some of them are just beautiful.
Can you imagine dozens and dozens of people gathered in good spirit with one and only common goal: Celebrate Christmas. img_4658Time stops for a few hours and you just keep concentrate on your « cantique » to sing as loud as you can, with all your heart. And do not worry if you sing a little out of tune, music will probably cover your voice! Because the other amazing thing in a « ChantĂ© Nwel » is the musical background: Flute, Guitar, Drum, Harpsichord,
 And there’s always a band that rocks the party!
I had a wonderful time last night and that is the kind of magical moment that makes me so proud to be a Martinique resident. So, if you are in Martinique right now and if you have the opportunity to experience a « Chanté Nwel », trust me, just go : this is definitely the kind of local celebration that you do not want to miss!  
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 My Special Thanks go to the band “Cantik Sans PrĂ©tention“, an awesome band and to Steeve Courcet, Photographer.

« Zamana », one of Martinique’s many treasures.

In Martinique, we have the sun shining almost 365 days a year, we have amazing white sandy beaches, we have a delicious and exotic cuisine, we have probably one of – not to say – the best rum in the world, we have beautiful flowers everywhere and adorable hummingbirds flying over our heads. But what we also have – and that is maybe less known – is a very special tree named Le Zamana, carefully preserved at the Habitation CĂ©ron in Le PrĂȘcheur (North of the island).

I have lived in arbre-richard-1Martinique for 5 years now and I have to confess : I never took the time to go and take a look at this tree named Zamana until a few days ago.

We had this contest lately L’arbre de l’annĂ©e 2016 (Tree of the year), a national contest organized by the French Magazine Terre Sauvage (Wild Land in English) and the National Forests Office, and guess which tree just got the Publics Choice Award? The Zamana of course. So, yes, I had to go and see by myself what exactly it was all about.

fullsizerenderAfter a beautiful sunny day at Anse Couleuvre  beach, I decided to stop at l’habitation CĂ©ron on my way back home. I parked the car, walked a few minutes looking for the famous tree and there it was. I can hardly describe what I felt like when standing right in front of this very impressive tree, over 3 centuries old, and so majestic. Its trunk is more than 2.50 meters wide. In a few seconds, I realized why it was just elected the most beautiful tree of France this year. This is definitely a unique and magical show.

Welcome to Paradise!

Plus, located in the heart of a peacefull garden, you will find a restaurant  with amazing food. So yes, once again, I can assure that Martinique will surprise you in many ways and it is worth visiting Martinique for your vacation.

Martinique, Food Heaven

There is so much to say about the Caribbean Cuisine and so many dishes you just have to try when you visit Martinique that I don’t really know where to start.

The Chicken Colombo, the «Accras»img_2690 (which are actually fried codfish, served as an appetizer, a serious not-to-be-missed), the Boudin (spicy blood sausage), fresh seafood, local vegetables, fresh exotic fruits,
 So many smells, so many colors, so many flavors
 A pure delight for both the eyes and taste buds!

img_2657Here is one of the many reasons why you should definitely plan a trip to Martinique : Martinique is a true paradise for gourmands and gourmets. As you will see, French influence has been transported across the Atlantic. But our cuisine is much more complex and richer than it seems : it is a delicious mix of French, African and Indian influences which make it full of taste and exoticism.  One thing is sure, we have no reason to be jealous of anyone around! Martinique’s cuisine reflects its complex history and cultural heritage! From classical French cuisine to local specialities, there is definitely something for everyone! According to your tastes and your wishes, you will have the opportunity to try a fresh lobster on the beach in a tiny popular eatery, as well as French gastronomy since we have a wide choice of restaurants here. Plus, if you are a food loving traveler and you want to learn more about our cooking tradition, you can even take a cooking class with a local chef!

But you should know that we are far from fast food and brisk service here. Martinique has made the img_3012choice to preserve authenticity so please, keep in mind that standards are different in the Caribbean and that patience is a must here! Plus, I strongly recommend you call ahead for lunch and dinner reservations, since Martinique tends to become a destination of choice, especially in season (from November to May).

If you want to learn more about our food in Martinique and challenge yourself to cook delicious “Accras”, here is a video to inspire you : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuP7a4-9y2A. I can guarantee that when you visit Martinique, you will have a great time exploring our cuisine.

Flights to Martinique

For those of you who are preparing for your next vacation,  did you know that there are now more direct flights to Martinique than before ?

Les Anses d'ArletFellow travelers, you’ve got all the reasons to be happy: with more flights to Martinique departing from the US and all over the world, it’s the right time to have a taste of France within easy reach.

This season, Martinique is opening to the rest of the world. The French Caribbean island, which is one of the most popular destination for French vacationers, becomes more accessible and more affordable. Thanks to the great work of the “SAMAC” (the company in charge of the management of AimĂ© CĂ©saire Airport) and the Martinique Promotion Bureau, more and more flights make Fort-de-France (FDF) a very convenient destination :  connections  from/to Miami (FL) and Montreal (YMQ) are still operating and are now more frequent.

Besides, the low cost company Norwegian Airlines announced that it will be resuming its non stop flights from New York (JFK), Boston (BOS) and Baltimore DC (BWI) from November 2016 through the end of May 2017 at least. For more information on flight times, visit the Norwegian website.

Also, AimĂ© CĂ©saire Airport is undertaking major renovation that will significantly improve passengers’ experience (larger, more modern…) and within 2020, the airport will be brand new.

Our German visitors will also benefit from improved connections. The airline Condor is launching flights from Frankfurt to Tobago with a stopover in Fort-de-France, every Sunday, starting in November 2016.

And just so you know, a new route between Brazil and Martinique is very likely to be launched in the very near future.

Now is the right time to book your flight to Martinique and to enjoy a relaxing vacation.