More than a century after Columbus discovered Martinique, Pierre D'Esnambuc claimed the island for France in 1635, with the arrival of the first European settlers. Today Fort de France is the scenic capital of Martinique, resting along the aqua blue waters of the Caribbean with a backdrop of verdant mountains in the distance. This quaint town, with its distinctive French flair, is ideal for shopping for souveniers or dining in a small outdoor cafe. There's also Central Park, with its flowering gardens and fountains, historic Fort Saint Louis, the Cathedral and Library.
Elsewhere on the island are the Paul Gauguin Memorial, the Museum of Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon and the Museum of Seashell Art. For a scenic tour of Martinique, visit the Regional Natural Park. Hikers can climb Mount Pelee, site of the 1902 volcano eruption which killed nearly 30,000 inhabitants.
The following 11 cruises call at Fort-de-France.
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