Guadeloupe & Martinique: Overseas France Series
Previous article from 'Overseas France Series' here: French Guiana.
From South America, we move to the Caribbean to talk about another two interesting regions that happen to not be considered countries, but instead are overseas territories of France. These are Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The islands are two separate French departments. They are located in the eastern Caribbean sea. Here is some information and interesting facts about both regions, what you can visit, local food you can try, as well as activities to do there:
This island archipelago is known for its lovely soft white and black sandy beaches, making it highly touristic all year round. But the island does not fail to attract visitors for its beautiful mountainous regions, lush rainforests, volcanoes and waterfalls.
It is located south of Montserrat (British overseas territory) and Antigua and Barbuda, and north of Dominica, which are independent island countries.
What to see and do?
You can first visit Basse-Terre, which is the capital of the department, and is named after the island it is located on, carrying the same name. The other big island is Grande-Terre. There are many other smaller numerous islands that you can visit as well.
Some worthy landmarks include Carbet Falls, La Grande Soufrière stratovolcano (where the highest mountain peak in the eastern Caribbean islands is located), Guadeloupe National Park, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Jardin Botanique de Deshaies (botanical garden), Sainte Anne Beach (the most popular beach), and a lot more.
There are too many sights in a small package, so the best thing to do is see with your own eyes what this gorgeous place has to offer.
Another Caribbean pearl is Martinique. It is the other big French overseas territory in the Antilles, situated north of Saint Lucia and south of Dominica. Similarly to Guadeloupe and the other Caribbean islands, Martinique also has beautiful beaches and sufficient tourism.
Some places worth to visit may include the tropical rainforest near Fond St-Denis, Les Salines beach, Balata Botanical Garden, Fort-de-France (the capital), Les Trois-Ilets, etc.
Abundant nature does not miss on this island, neither do the tourist sites. For whatever purposes, visiting this beautiful place would be beneficial and likely a very positive experience for most.
But what is common for both regions, other than the similar climate and location proximity?
Language & Culture
In both Guadeloupe and Martinique, French is the official and administrative language. However, slightly more spoken is Antillean Creole, a French-based creole language, spoken not only in those two regions, but in Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada and many other countries in the Caribbean. It shares a lot of similarities with Haitian Creole and French Guianese Creole. Some English is spoken mostly in touristic areas, so picking up a few basic French phrases would come in handy if traveling to these regions.
When it comes to culture and history, both places have had an unfortunate past of slavery and colonization, but now they are a great place for carnivals, and with a rich music and art scene. Even though the islands are small, there is no shortage of culture, so they are unique destinations to visit for an unforgettable experience.
One word that can sum up the cuisine in the regions is - variety. Caribbean food has been influenced by many cuisines in general. You can find Indian, African, French and more influences. The nice climate makes it suitable for growing a variety of different fruits, vegetables and spices. Delicious seafood is abundant on these two regions, as it is in the rest of the Caribbean cuisines.
The typical and most popular dish in Martinique is Colombo, which is a unique curry chicken with spiced masala. Other common dishes are: Accra (fritters), Dorade (grilled sea bream with potatoes, rice and spices), Blanc Manger au Coco (dessert with coconut milk and vanilla), Ti Punch (Martinique's national cocktail), and a lot more.
In Guadeloupe, the most popular food is a Bokit sandwiche, which is made from friend dough and can have many and different fillings inside. Some dishes like Accra and Ti Punch are very common here as well. But if you visit, do not miss the chance to try Coco Flan, which is another tasty dessert with coconut milk.
These two territories share a lot of similarities in terms of culture, climate, food, and both have a lot to see. They are just two of France's different and many faces, and more of them are coming soon.
© 2019 Tery Peta