Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caribbean Island Of Flowers

(NAPSI)-Known as the Caribbean Island with French Flair and also called the Isle of Flowers, this island remains one of the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world, as unforgettable as a summer romance or a first kiss.

The waters of the Atlantic Ocean lap its shores on the east and the Caribbean Sea is to the west. To get there, American Airlines and Air France could be good places to start researching travel information.

Got it yet? Here’s another clue: This lovely island is an overseas region of France, and in keeping with its traditions, this vibrant island stirs the passions with awe-inspiring natural beauty, a rich cultural history, distinctive culinary delights, warm smiles and so much more.

One More Clue

Napoleon’s bride, Empress Josephine, was born and raised here.

If you guessed Martinique, you’re right. And it’s not called the Isle of Flowers for nothing. In the morning, there’s the fragrance of flowers and herbs glistening with dew. As the day wears on, a delicate mix of aromas wafts through the air, hinting at the fresh ingredients of Creole dishes being prepared.

Superb Gardens

The Carib Indians named the island Madinina, or “Island of Flowers.” A visit to the superb gardens of Martinique will show visitors how appropriate this name really is. Two-thirds of the island has the French classification “Regional Nature Park,” which means that most of the territory is natural and protected. The northern part of Martinique gives us the most accurate idea of how Madi-nina was back when the Caribs lived on the island. This region is a gold mine of old trees, untouched rivers and waterfalls, unique tropical flowers, and sugarcane, pineapple and banana plantations.

Gauguin’s Favorite Village

Located in Carbet-Paul Gauguin’s favorite village on the Caribbean coast-Habitation de l’Anse Latouche, formerly a sugar factory, was built in 1643 and is one of the oldest plantation estates of Martinique.

Today, Jean-Philippe Thoze, legendary founder of the Balata Botanical Garden, has transformed the grounds of Habitation Latouche into a spectacular yet peaceful garden where history and nature are joined in a love story.

Martinique’s Hotels

Martinique’s hotels range in size from large (300 rooms) to very small (fewer than 10 rooms), and their ambience and atmosphere vary from seaside Caribbean resorts offering every tourist amenity from expensive to quite modest. All the larger hotels have sports facilities, a choice of restaurants and evening entertainment; all beachfront hotels have full water-sport programs. Some hotels have kitchenette studios. The island boasts approximately 4,656 rooms in more than 100 resorts, bed-and-breakfast inns and distinctive hotels de charme.

Get Going

One of the best ways to experience all the natural wonders that Martinique has to offer is by escorted 4x4’s, or what Americans call suburbans. These are air-conditioned, and local guides accompany all excursions, ensuring an insider’s introduction to all the best that Martinique has to offer.

For a bouncier trip around the island, rent a “quad,” which is a cross between a motorcycle and a go-cart and tough and nimble enough to traverse Martinique’s thick rain forests, picturesque meadows, historic ruins, back trails and even secluded beaches inaccessible by conventional roads.

Planning A Trip

To learn more, contact the Martinique Promotion Bureau/ CMT USA located at 825 Third Avenue, 29th floor, New York, NY 10022. You can also call 212-838-7800, ext. 981 or visit

An island of awe-inspiring beauty, this lovely island is an overseas region of France.

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