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Have you ever wanted some palm shade and relaxed tropeidyll when life in the streets of Paris is too busy? Or maybe a bit French elegance and the metropolitan atmosphere of the small, solbeskinte tropical island? The answer to your prayers is Martinique. You can wash down a croissant with locally distilled room or go on carnival wearing the latest Christian Dior dress you bought around the corner.

Martinique has an exotic location in the Lesser Antilles islands midway between Dominica and Saint Lucia, but is actually a part of France. The island has the status of both the French department and region and therefore has its own prefect and elected assembly. The 1100-acre island is volcanic, and the highest point is Mount Pelée at 1397 meters. The volcano is still active and had its most severe outbreak in 1902, when the buried throughout the then main town of Saint-Pierre and its 30,000 inhabitants under incandescent lava masses. By all accounts, was the sole survivor of a murderer who was serving his outrage in an underground dungeon. Pelée and its smaller brethren, that characterizes the northern part of the island, has made the sand on the beaches of gray or black. It is a beautiful and distinctive contrast to the classic white beaches found on the southern part of Martinique. The dramatic crags to the north gradually begins in the rolling hills covered in rainforest, banana palms and endless fields of swaying sugar cane as one moves south.

Around 400 000 people, the vast majority of African blood in their veins, populate the French Caribbean island. The original population were Arawak Indians, who were later displaced by the Carib Indians. Columbus came along in 1502, and the island was colonized by France in 1635. Already in 1660 were all Indians exterminated or forcibly relocated to other islands after they had expressed their displeasure with the French tend to clear away the forest on the island for the benefit of the sugar plantations. Slaves from Africa were introduced as a replacement for the Indians - it was the use of labor for plantations. Martinique was in two stages during the 1700s was occupied by Britain, but returned each time back in French hands. 1700s also brought Martinique far the most famous citizen, namely the young Josephine, who was Napoleon's wife, Empress of France. The first half of the 1900s was marked by sporadic riots instigated by separatist who wanted full independence from France. It ended with Martinique gained status as a French department in 1946 and as a region in 1976.

Martinique is a small piece of France in the middle of the Caribbean - or closer to an exotic cocktail of all the best from France and the West Indies, with its own unique charm. The official language is French, but most speak to everyday Creole, which is a mixed language with elements of French and African languages, spiced with a little English and Spanish. In the capital, Fort-de-France shops are chock-full of French perfumes and haute couture. But the streets, with shiny shop windows and galleries Chanel suits and Louis Vuitton bags, are increasingly filled with exuberant carnival procession accompanied by the aroma of spicy Creole cuisine with a remarkable enthusiasm for ingredient room. The gorgeous capital is ideal for shopping or to visit some of the local museums. In particular, we recommend La Pagerie, which was once the Empress Josephine's house. If a trip to Martinique contain an element of gourmet experiences, one should go to the local kreolkjøkkenet. It serves everything good from lobster to sharks, and are mostly added a small French spice. After the culinary temptations can round off with a sip of the locally produced rum, which is probably made of sugar cane from the plantations outside the city. Martinique's room being considered by connoisseurs as one of the world's best. The city of Saint-Pierre, who suffered the horrible fate under Pele lava flows in 1902, is also worth a visit. Here, most of the ruins that eruption left, used as foundations for new buildings when the city was rebuilt. Others are left as sinister monuments of nature's powerful forces. If you want to have experiences in the country, is the island's most exotic drive Route de la Trace, which from south to north, through lush rainforest with meter high tree ferns and slopes covered with flamingo flowers until it reaches the northern volcanic landscapes and finally the gray-black beaches of the north coast. Get traveling to Marinique, you stay away from the alluring beaches - with sand in one or the other color - as the entire island surrounds himself with.

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