American Airlines Martinique

ADDITIONAL SUMMER AIR SERVICE with American Airlines!

American Airlines offers a new non-stop weekly service between Miami and Fort-de-France since April 2013.

It is now much easier for US travelers to get to Martinique as American Airlines recently launched new weekly non-stop to the island. American Airlines flies weekly to Martinique on Saturdays out of Miami.

The new flight, represent the first non-stop air service between Martinique and the U.S. mainland since 2008.
In addition to its weekly Saturday flight, Fort-de-France Wednesday flight out of Miami will resume from June 11th to August 13th 2014.

MIAMI (MIA) – MARTINIQUE (FDF)
Day Flight # Departure Arrival
Wed 1243 11:20 am 2:50 pm
Sat 1243 11:20 am 2:50 pm
MARTINIQUE (FDF) – MIAMI (MIA)
Day Flight # Departure Arrival
Wed 1243 3:55 pm 7:25 pm
Sat 1243 3:55 pm 7:25 pm

5 reasons to go to Martinique this winter according to Fodor’s Travel

Baby, it’s cold outside. As temperatures across the northern hemisphere drop to down-jacket-worthy lows, thoughts of white sands, warm temperatures, and the infinite pleasures of wearing fewer than four layers of clothing are all but unavoidable. This winter, consider making your escape to Martinique. With newly expanded air service, a major literary milestone, and some of the best rums in the region, this French-Caribbean island beckons.

Martinique Mont Pelée

1. WALK THE LINE

This year, Martinique celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of national poet and noted politician Aime Césaire. One of the founders of the négritude literary movement in 1930s Paris, Césaire also oversaw Martinique’s transition from a French colony to department in 1946, and served as mayor of the Martinican capital, Fort-de-France, for over 50 years. He passed away in 2008, but his memory lives on via the newly installed “literary path” at Route de la Trace’s Camp Balata, a 19th-century military fort turned mahogany-lined park where Césaire was known to wander. Follow up your visit with a trip to the Balata Botanical Garden, where 3,000 varieties of tropical flora and fauna stand as a living, leafy homage to Césaire, who was also an enthusiastic botanist.

2. FLYING HIGH

For many travelers, when it comes to choosing which Caribbean destination to visit, it’s all about accessibility. Martinique is now poised to answer that call. In April 2013, American Airlines debuted the first-ever direct flights to Martinique from the mainland U.S. That weekly departure out of Miami International Airport proved so successful that, last month, the airline announced it will double its Martinique service to twice weekly through March 26, 2014. In addition, in June 2013, St. Croix-based Seaborne Airlines debuted four direct weekly flights to Martinique from San Juan‘s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

Carnival in Martinique

3. MARCH ON

If the sounds of Martinique’s racy zouk music put a swerve in your step, go ahead and mark March 1–5, 2014, on your calendar. Martinican Carnival is a four-day celebration across the island, and the mix of French, Creole, African, and indigenous tribal traditions give the proceedings a tropical, transatlantic je ne sais quoi. Festivities include performances in traditional masks; a pajama-clad morning parade in Lamentin; countless street concerts by zouk, steel drum, and beguine bands; and a parade of burlesque drag brides. Because what happens in the Lower Antilles, stays in the Lower Antilles.

4. TASTE THE DIFFERENCE

With 7,000 islands and hundreds of rum distilleries, the Caribbean has no shortage of spirit. Martinique, however, has the distinction of producing the region’s only appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) rums. AOC, which translates to “controlled designation of origin,” is the French government’s prestigious label for terroir-driven, gourmet products like Champagne or Roquefort cheese. Martinican rums are made directly from the island’s indigenous sugarcane, resulting in some the purest rhum agricole around. Thirsty for proof? Head to Habitation Clément, a 125-year-old distillery in the coastal town of Le Francois, where visitors can spend the afternoon exploring the grounds, which include a Creole mansion, a 4,800-square-foot contemporary arts center, and a brightly lit tasting room where friendly staffers pour samples of the world-renowned Rhum Clément.

5. SAIL AWAY

Unlike some Caribbean resort vacations, where travelers can feel confined to one swatch of land, Martinique’s location makes it an excellent jumping-off point for day trips and overnight visits to neighboring islands—without high-season airline prices. L’Express des Iles is a ferry service with multiple daily departures between Fort-de-France, Martinique, and Castries, St. Lucia, or Portsmouth, Dominica. Trips run about 90 minutes to two hours each way, so bring a book and some sunscreen, or tune into the French films screened on board. Be sure to check L’Express’s website for schedules and to purchase tickets in advance. Bon voyage!

Posted by Emily Saladino on January 01, 2014
Emily Saladino is a food and travel writer based in New York City.

 

Celebrate Carnival in Martinique

From March 2 to March 5, 2014

During the four-day holiday of Carnival festivities, activity on the island nearly comes to a standstill. Preparations begin as early as Epiphany Sunday with the election of the Carnival Queens, and last until the day before Fat Sunday (dimanche gras). The parades and parties start on Big Sunday and finish on Ash Wednesday when the carnival effigy, the “Vaval” King, is burned.

Themes:

  • Fat Monday: comical wedding
  • Fat Tuesday: red devils
  • Ash Wednesday: she-devils and black & white dress.
  • It’s Fun and It’s Safe
Street Band During Carnival

Street Band During Carnival

Traditional Carnival Dancers

Traditional Carnival Dancers

Drummers in the Street

Drummers in the Street

Red Devil on Fat Tuesday

Red Devil on Fat Tuesday

Painted Bodies on the Street

Painted Bodies on the Street

It’s easy for tourists to take in all the fun of Carnival. They can safely join the parade or watch from bleachers set up on the sidewalks or from balconies overlooking the streets and squares. Truman Capote’s story describes “one marvelous marching group: 50 men carrying black umbrellas and wearing silk top hats, their torsos painted with phosphorescent skeleton bones; old ladies with gold-tinsel wigs and sequins pasted all over their faces.”

Focal point for the final celebration is King Carnival, a giant colorful effigy known as Vaval, along with his alter ego, Bwa-Bwa, who towers over the floats and dancing procession. By now, humorous death notices of King Carnival have been announced in local media. Festivities continue as his funeral pyre is built. Dusk falls, then flames light up the night sky. As Vaval’s effigy is consumed by the fire, dancing reaches its apogee. Only when the flames die down does a calm settle over the crowd. With the burial of Vaval, they chant “Vaval, pas quitte nous”, which translates into “Carnival don’t leave us.”

Then it is over. At least for the time being…

The mischief is revived three weeks later – with a 24-hour reprise of Carnival called Mi-Carême, or mid-Lent. There is no Vaval, but there are costumes and parades again, endless marching bands, plus much revelry and rum — all in the spirit of Carnival, Martinican-style. In towns and villages throughout the island, there is dancing and dining galore. The favored food everywhere is “matoutou” or curried crab, a dish that is also popular just after Lent at Easter Monday beach picnics.

Honoring Aimé Césaire

MARTINIQUE CELEBRATES AIME CESAIRE CENTENNIAL

Special events planned throughout 2013 to commemorate the life of Martinique’s famed poet and politician.

The life and eternal contributions of famed poet, playwright and politician, Aimé Césaire, is celebrated throughout his home island of Martinique in 2013, the centennial anniversary of his birth. Césaire, who passed away in April 2008 at the age of 94, is widely hailed as a principal crusader for civil rights within the French West Indies, both through his writings and in his 55 years serving as the Mayor of Fort-de-France.

Bench by the Road (Tony Morrison Society)

Toni Morrison Society honors Martinique’s Aimé Césaire, a towing voice of the 20th century.

Toni Morrison Society dedicates a Bench by the Road to Aimé Césaire.

Bench Tony MorrisonOn June 26, 2013, the Toni Morrison Society placed a Bench by the Road in Fort-de-France, Martinique in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Aimé Césaire. The bench placement represents one of the keystone events in the year-long celebration and commemoration of Aimé Césaire in Martinique, France and throughout the world.

Tony MorrisonThe Bench by the Road Project of the Toni Morrison Society is a memorial history project established by the Society to honor an individual, place, or event that is of great importance in the history of Black people who are part of the African Diaspora. The Project was launched in 2006 on the occasion of the 75th Birthday of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. Since 2006, the Society has placed nine benches in various locations including Sullivan’s Island off the coast of South Carolina, which was the point of entry for 40 percent of enslaved Africans who came to North America, the city of Oberlin in Ohio, which was part of the Underground Railroad, and Paris, in honor of Louis Delgrès, a French general and freedom fighter for Guadeloupe.

Mrs. Toni Morrison’s speech, on the occasion of Aimé Césaire Centennial in Martinique.

The Bench in honor of Aimé Césaire is the 10th Bench placement by the Society. As stated on the bench plaque in his honor was unveiled on June 26th: “This Bench placed in honor of the 100th birthday of Aimé Césaire, son of Martinique and world renowned poet, playwright, author, teacher, anti-colonialist, and political leader.”

For more information www.tonimorrisonsociety.org

Homage to Aimé Césaire

On the occasion of Aimé Césaire Centennial celebration, Timothy Ferguson, famous portraitist from Canada is currently exhibiting at l’Atrium Center in Fort-de-France, a collection of portraits of renowned poet, playwright, politician and political leader Aimé Césaire.

The exhibit, entitled Requiem pour le nègre fundamental, is a sublime, colorful and inspiring collection of paintings of Aimé Césaire through the years, it is on view, free of charge, until the end of July at:
Atrium Cultural Center
6 rue Jacques Cazotte, 97200 Fort-de-France
+ 596 596 60 78 78
www.cmac.asso.fr
Open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 9h to 17h.

About Aimé Césaire

Exposition Aimé CésaireBorn in Basse-Pointe, June 26, 1913, Aimé Césaire was an early proponent of black pride, dedicating his life to the struggle against colonialism and its racial stereotypes and the fight to bring equal to French overseas territories, including Martinique, equal status as region of France.

In 1935, Césaire was admitted to the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and was one of the principal architects of the Négritude Movement, the affirmation of a black and African Diaspora culture and heritage. Césaire’s most famous poem, Cahier D’un Retour au Pays Natal, was published in 1939. From 1945 to 2001, Césaire served as Mayor of Fort- de-France and served in the French National Assembly from 1946 to 1993 as Deputy.

Aimé Césaire passed away on April 17, 2008 in Fort-de-France. In 2011, a plaque bearing his name was placed in the Panthéon of Paris, where some of France’s most revered citizens are buried including Victor Hugo, Pierre and Marie Curie, Victor Shoelcher, Jean Moulin and André Malraux.

Download the “Aimé Césaire Centennial” 1913 – 2013 schedule of events in the US.

Getting To Martinique Now Easier

U.S. travelers have an easier time getting to Martinique in 2013 as American Airlines just launched new weekly service to the island since April 6th.  The new flights, which represent the first nonstop air service between Martinique and the U.S. mainland since 2008, operate on Saturdays as follows:

Miami (MIA) – Martinique (FDF)
Day Flight # Departure Arrival
Sat 474 11:40 am 2:35 pm
Martinique (FDF) – Miami (MIA)
Day Flight # Departure Arrival
Sat 539 3:40 pm 7:05 pm

“These new flights represent a major step forward in Martinique’s development into a primary Caribbean vacation destination for U.S. travelers,” said Mrs. Karine Roy-Camille, Commissioner of the Martinique Tourism Authority.  “Interest has been growing for Martinique among U.S. travelers in recent years.  Now, with our partners at American Airlines offering convenient, weekly direct service, Martinique stands poised to charm U.S. travelers like never before.”

American’s new service to Martinique offers one-stop connections via Miami from hundreds of gateways across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, creating convenient flight options from such major metropolitan areas as New York, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orlando.

American will use a Boeing 737 aircraft for the new Martinique service, offering the comfort of 16 business class and 134 economy class seats.

For fares, reservations and more information, visit www.AA.com.