On the beautiful French Caribbean island of Martinique, you will find scores of gorgeous beaches. In fact, the whole island, from its lush green interior on the Route de la Trace, to its dramatic coasts, and historic sights, seems to have been dreamt up by an artistic genius in love with island nature. Or at least that's how it struck me when Zickie and I "ran away" to the Island of Flowers.
(The beauty of Martinique...at Grande Anse. Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
We rented a small house not far from Les Anses d'Arlets, a region on the southwestern coast famous for its authentic (read: not touristy) fishing villages, picturesque Creole houses, and of course unspoiled Caribbean beaches.
The first day, we just went for lunch, and discovered a lolo or beachfront restaurant called Bidjoul. (Which I've described in a previous post.) Fortunately, we'd brought our bathing suits and towels in the car, and even more fortunately, there was a clean public bathroom where we could change. You should have seen us racing to pull on our swimsuits!
Why the hurry? Let's just say that some remarkably pristine, aqua ocean proved impossible to ignore. The sand felt warm under our feet as we passed through fishing boats, crab traps, and nets on the way to "la plage."
(Walking through nets and traps to the beach. Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
Then we walked right, or north, to a clear stretch where hardly anyone else was hanging out. How could a beach as beautiful as this could be so uncrowded? For one thing, it was Martinique's low season, the month of June. For another, it's just a quiet little village, with one main road, a few restaurants, a dive shop, and small houses, some of which tourists can rent.
(This Anse d'Arlets beach was definitely not crowded. Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
The most happening spot in town seemed to be Ti Sable, a cool looking beach bar and restaurant on the northern end of Grande Anse. We got some cold drinks there, but didn't stay...because the quiet of the rest of Grande Anse was just too special. Why listen to tunes (as nice as they were) when you can hear the sound of the surf?
(Paddling in the protected cove of Grande Anse. Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
A man paddled by in his kayak with his dog, probably on the way to his sailboat anchored in the cove's protected waters. We happened to have brought our masks and snorkels, and decided to take a closer look under the sea. Guess what we found in front of Ti Sable? A long line of rock with colorful little tropical fish. The whole experience was enchanting.
(We saw tropical fish this close to shore. Photo: Zickie Allgrove.)
I don't have to tell you that we returned to Grande Anse again, and repeated the same experience: lunch, then swimming, snorkeling, and lazing on one of the prettiest beaches that Zickie and I had ever seen. We felt so relaxed and happy...and grateful to be in Martinique.
Especially for American travelers, this island represents something a little different, with its Caribbean soul and French flair. We'll be posting more stories in the months to come...so you can see whether Martinique's the slice of tropical paradise you're seeking!