Martinique, heading for the southern beaches

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While winter takes up residence in our temperate latitudes, the dry season promises Martinique a succession of sunny days, azure seas, with a touch of air that refreshes the atmosphere. Impossible to resist the temptation of the Tropics. Head south towards the beautiful beaches, from Anses d’Arlet to Tartane!

The Bay of Fort-de-France

Just opposite Fort-de-France, and its bay entered in the classification of the most beautiful bays in the world, a beautiful advance of the crapahute lands of Trois-Ilets au Diamant. The road weaves its way between the hills engulfed in lush vegetation, hiding in its vines and branches the sea, yet so close. The coves beat to the rhythm of the purse seine strokes at dawn, a little break from activity when the fishermen bring up their nets weighed down by the myriads of red or white fish depending on the season. Later, the sun beats down on the shore. We snuggle up in the shade of a palm tree before running for a dip in the 25°C waves. Behind the shores, the villages lead their nonchalant little life. The restaurants open their shutters and the shops their storefronts.

Grand AnseGrande Anse wakes up

A natural curiosity, Anse Noire is the only black sand beach in the south of Martinique. Secret and preserved, with its landing stage and leatherback turtles in the lagoon, it will remain one of my favorite stops. Especially since you can spend nights there to the sound of the thousand and one noises of the West Indian darkness. The Domaine de Robinson is there for that! On the other side of the cape, its blonde twin, Anse Dufour, with its colorful boats, its lockers under the grape trees, its handful of houses, is livelier. Then there is Grande Anse d’Arlet bordered by a pedestrian street and its litany of eateries and bars by the sea. A few sailboats at anchor oscillate imperceptibly. A boat and its crew of frogmen return apparently delighted from their trip to translucent waters. At the end of the beach, the Ti Sable restaurant receives its first guests. Draped wooden canopies, pensive Buddha, counter in the shape of a ship’s prow, the decor is an invitation to daydream and the menu an invitation to gluttony!

The Diamond of the South

Easily recognizable by its reef in the shape of a policeman’s hat, the Diamond is first observed from above. A metal belvedere has even been dedicated to him. We prefer to walk for a while in the footsteps of Aimé Césaire, along the promenade which today bears his name at Anse Caffard. Beneath the majestic curve of Morne Larcher, one can admire a solemn monument raised in homage to the 86 captives drowned during the sinking of their ship in 1830. The Cap 110 memorial by Martinican artist Laurent Valère represents fifteen identical colossal busts arranged in a triangle and oriented heading 110, towards the Gulf of Guinea. Overwhelmed faces, hunched shoulders, they symbolize the crowd of victims of the triangular trade.

After Sainte-Anne, Grande-Anse des Salines is the most famous beach in Martinique. Its golden strike extends as far as the eye can see. Photographers can collect postcard shots here. But you can also enjoy behind the scenes: the coastal state forest in the mother’s shade. To immerse yourself in this virgin universe, take the time to follow a section of the Caps trail that connects Sainte-Anne to Vauclin.

Beyond the Cabris islet, we pass on the Atlantic Ocean side. The landscape suddenly becomes harsher. The swell crashes into beautiful sheaves against the bristling black rocks of the capes. The wind sculpted the trees. The air smells full of iodine. The coastline, less inhabited, seems to be attacking the sea. Or is it the other way around? From this incessant struggle were born coves and peninsulas: Pointe d’Enfer, Cap Chevalier, Cap Ferré, Cap Macré, Pointe du Vauclin… Surrounded by coconut palms, that of Anse Michel, facing the Ilet Chevalier, is an exception. We meet a happy company made up of tourists and locals.

And here is the Caravelle peninsula, a sort of upside-down Finistère since it points its nose due east! Between cane fields and pastures where lean silhouetted zebus graze, we zigzag almost without seeing the sea. Tartane and its mosaic of multicolored roofs finally appears. We will stop there for a dip, or rather a strange wading in a fluorescent lagoon at least at 35°! Having failed to cool off, we dry off in the shade of the palm trees before continuing to the ruins of Château Dubuc. The site belonged to a large family of planters at the head of 500 hectares and 300 slaves. In this end of the world, a voice-over tells the story of the Habitationand adds to the strangeness of the place. Despite the oppressive heat, we will climb up to the lighthouse perched on the hill. A magnificent point of view that deserves! From up there, the windward coast looks great!

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