Fort-de-France is the largest city in and capital of Martinique.
Fort-de-France became the capital of Martinique in 1902, replacing Saint Pierre, which was completely destroyed in the eruption of Mount Pelée.
The city developed around the 17th-century Fort Saint-Louis. Today it has nearly 150,000 residents and has spread like wildfire to the point of reaching the hills and plains where the airport is located.
The center, which is always somewhat crowded, extends to the seaside promenade where multiple bars and restaurants are in a typically French atmosphere. The imposing Fort Saint-Louis dominates the center. At the side you'll find "The Savannah" (French: La Savane), with many species of tropical trees. To the east of the center lies the port area, where cruise ships and merchant vessels dock.
- 1 Aimé Cesaire International Airport (FDF IATA) (in the suburb of Le Lamentin). Most of those traveling to Martinique will enter through here.
Cruise ships often stop in Fort-de-France's harbor.
If you want to go from Fort-de-France and into other towns, don't hesitate to use public transport. In Fort-de-France, the bus service runs from 06:00 to 20:30 every day, including Sundays and holidays.
The city of Fort-de-France provides many taxi companies. You can use them at any time, 24/7.
Mopeds and cars are also possibilities.
- 1 Fort Saint-Louis. A fortress on a peninsula in Fort-de-France harbour constructed during the reign of Louis XIII. It houses a French naval base, and parts of the fortress have been turned into a museum and are open to the public.
- Bibliothèque Schoelcher. One of the nicest colonial buildings in town is a library next to Place de la savane.
- Le grand marché, rues Blénac et Isambert. Covered market.
- Cathedral Saint-Louis, rue Victor Schoelcher. It was built in 1671, and was damaged by numerous fires and earthquakes before being totally reconstructed in 1890 by the same architect as the Bibliothèque Schoelcher.
- 2 Place de la Savane.
- Dillon distillery, 9, route de Chateauboeuf.. A small museum about rum-making in the former distillery Dillon. All the rum making process has been moved to a new site.
- Sacré-Coeur de Balata. A replica of the Montmartre Church in Paris, constructed in 1925 on a cliff surrounded by tropical forest. Open everyday from 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00.
- Jardin de Balata (10 km away on the road to Morne Rouge). Botanical garden with more than 200 species of plants and flowers.
- Cascade Absalon, Up on the route de Balata, take a left right after the Balata Gardens. Easily accessible waterfall where you can swim in the water basin. Park the car just after the bridge and watch out on the slippery steps.
- Hike to Cascade Didier (take the route de Didier from the rond point du Vietnam heroique; go all the way up, through the tunnel and now you are in the tropical jungle only 10 min from downtown). Trail is not marked, park next to the power generator almost at the end of the road. Walk down towards the river, cross the bridge and up on the other side you ll find a tunnel, bring a flash light. The 1st waterfall is a 15-min walk away up the river, it is around 6 m high and jumping from the top is possible. The 2nd waterfall is another 45 min up the river and consist of a 25-m drop in a basin where you can swim. Watch out for the green and purple matoutou spider on the way.
- La Galleria, in Lamentin (near airport), is the island's largest mall, with several European branded stores and others.
- Fort-de-France's Spice Market offers stalls full of local/unique flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and herbs and spices.
- Rue Victor Hugo is Fort-de-France's main shopping street... a Paris-like strip of boutiques, island shops and vendors of fresh fruit and flowers
- Leader Price, rue Ernest-Deproge. If you're travelling by boat, this is the closest store for restocking on groceries.
- Babaorum, 42 route de Chateauboeuf (behind Carrefour Dillon), ☏ . Lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, dinner only on Saturdays. Outside bar in a garden and restaurant inside.