Saint-Pierre, France Cruise Port

Within the lovely Caribbean Sea is the cruise port and French overseas department of Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Founded in 1635, the original town was devastated by the Great Hurricane of 1780; upon rebuilding, the town went through a period of peace until it was destroyed by the volcano Mont Pelée in 1902. Legend has it that one of the two who survived the eruption (out of 30,000 people) was a prisoner named Louis-Auguste Cyparis, who eventually hooked up with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. After the damage from the volcano was cleared and the town was rebuilt yet again, it began to attract tourists with unique black sand beaches, historic remains, and diving opportunities. Today, Saint-Pierre with its 4,300 residents is the district capital of Martinique's Caribbean North district, known for a bustling arts scene. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Saint-Pierre, Martinique, France:
 
  • One of the must-see attractions is the Musée Volcanologique (Volcano Museum), founded in 1932 by volcanologist Frank Perret. You'll see items retrieved from the eruption's aftermath, along with "before" and "after" photos of the town.
     
  • Not far from the museum, you'll see what was left over post-volcano, including the ruins of an 800-seat theater that still exudes the aura of its former grandeur. Keep an eye out for the jail cell where one of the survivors lay in wait (before he ran off with the circus).
     
  • After all of that tragedy, visit the Distillerie Depaz for a bit of fun. Here you can learn how rum is made, and top it off with a trip to the tasting room to sample different types of rum.
     
  • The surrounding grounds are lush and green, and there’s an onsite restaurant for a bite to eat.Immerse yourself completely in nature at the Jardin Botanique du Carbet, located on the outskirts of town. Both for lovers of history and plants, the tropical flora of the botanical garden are punctuated by the ruins of an 18th-century sugar mill.

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