The best time to visit Fort de France is in May or June. This is outside the peak season of December through April when prices can skyrocket on flights and hotel rooms, and the number of visitors is at its highest. Prices are often considerably lower in May and June. Rainy season in Martinique is during July and August and also a time when many hotels and businesses shut down making it a poor time to visit. Martinique Carnival is from Lent to Easter and anyone wanting to experience the event should book flight and hotel several months in advance.
Fort de France is the capital of Martinique and while many people simply opt to pass through on their way to other destinations on the island, Fort de France has much to offer in its own right. It’s worth spending some time here in addition to using it as the gateway to Martinique’s many natural attractions. Fort de France has markets, museums, shops and historic sites, as well as a charming ambiance and close proximity to several beaches.
Start with a visit to the colourful Bibliothèque Schoelcher, which was built in Paris, displayed at the 1889 World Exposition and then dismantled, shipped to Fort de France in pieces and reassembled where it stands today. Visitors who enjoy exploring local markets have a few options including the Grand Marché, a good place to stock up on crafts and souvenirs; Marché des Fermiers, and Marché aux Poissons (fish market).
Get a sense of the history, people and background of the region with a stop at the Regional Museum of History and Ethnography, browse both Paris fashions and local handicrafts along Rue Victor Schoelcher, and spend some time in La Savane. La Savane is a 12 and half acre park complete with fountains, trees and benches. The park also houses various food stands and eateries, a tourism information office, public restrooms, and arts and crafts vendors.
Anyone interested in beaches close to Fort de France can catch a ferry directly across from the park to take the 20 minute journey to the beaches at Anse-Mitan and Anse-à-l’Ane.
Getting around Fort de France is easily done on foot. If you get turned around at any point, just look for signs pointing you back to the centre, which read “centre de ville”. Ferries are an affordable option for seeing a bit more of the island and regularly depart from Fort de France to the ports of Pointe du Bout, Anse-Mitan and Anse-à-l’Ane. Taking a ferry is easier and cheaper than renting a car.
The easiest way to get from the airport (FDF) into Fort de France is by taxi, which are available outside the terminal. For anyone planning to see more of Martinique, renting a car is also an option, but it’s important to keep in mind that street signs are in French.