A Taste of France in the Caribbean
If you love all things French – the language, the architecture, the culture – have you thought about cruising to some of the Caribbean islands that are officially part of France? There are a few to choose from in the French West Indies, including Guadeloupe, Saint Barthélemy (commonly known as St. Barts or St. Barths) and Martinique.
With miles of white sand beaches, rainforest-covered mountains and countless flowers and fruit trees, Martinique is beautiful. On this sizable island, sugar cane is still grown and excellent rums produced. The capital, Fort de France, has the type of elegant restaurants and chic boutiques found in Paris, along with distinctly French-influenced architecture, parks and open-air markets. French is the official language of Martinique and not many residents speak English – it may be helpful to pick up a few basic phrases in French before you visit.
St. Barts is something like a little piece of the French Rivera dropped into the Eastern Caribbean. The island was also a Swedish colony for a time, and remnants of that period remain as well. St. Barts was once a playground exclusively for the very wealthy, such as members of the Rockefeller and Rothschild clans. It’s still a high-end destination, and you’re likely to see a number of sleek, privately owned yachts bobbing in the harbor. It rarely rains on St. Barts, making it nearly certain that you can enjoy some time on one of the island’s 21 beaches during your visit.
Guadeloupe also has sandy beaches and a gorgeously lush, mountainous interior. It’s a bit more diverse and casual than Martinique or St. Barts, and this relaxed feeling is favored by many vacationers. Guadeloupe is actually a small collection of islands, with two – Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre – forming Guadeloupe proper. You could take an excursion to one of the outlying islands – La Desirade, Marie-Galante or Terre-de-Haut – or to Carbet Falls, one of Guadeloupe’s most-photographed natural features. If you have the chance, try some of Guadeloupe’s incredible Creole cuisine.
Parlez (or just talk) with Cruise Holidays about experiencing a bit of France on a Caribbean cruise.