Lively Fort de France
24 December 2017 | Fort de France Martinique
On to the capital Fort de France, after another nice meal at La Fringale and one at Le Fromager which is the name of a tree. One example of this tree next to the restaurant must have started growing after the 1902 explosion as it was enormous. Le Fromager was perched high above the bay, so lots of nice photos of a tiny Trilogy and others anchored in the far distance, as the photo shows. The restaurant was full of people from an insurance company celebrating a colleague's retirement, so we had a band as well. One of my dishes at La Fringale had the intriguing name of 'Duck Needles'.
The Eyewitness book describes Fort de France as "a lively city with French flair wrapped in tropical colours." It lived up to this description.
We visited the town's highlights which included the Schoelcher Library. Schoelcher was the French abolitionist writer much revered in the Caribbean and the library houses his 130,000 books. The library building itself was constructed in Paris for the 1889 World Exposition then dismantled and shipped to Martinique and reassembled there in 1893. The Cathedral Saint Louis is large and impressive and has had a chequered history. The first church on that spot was built in 1671 but burnt down by Rutyer's soldiers. The next four were destroyed by earthquakes, hurricanes and fires. This one however has stood the test of time. Built in the late 1800s to architect Henri Picq's plans, it has a metal framework and a hemstitched spire. Various comtes and marquis are buried there - the job of Governor General seems to have been a danger to health! There was a Christams service in process, with a massed school children's choir. The priest had a most melodious voice - not a note of haranguing to be heard. There were Santas and their elves wandering the streets, despite the heat and humidity.
I had a lovely birthday in Fort de France. Presents and cards from the Leslies, Lehmans, and the Ferraris ( via Margot), French champers on board, and the best dinner so far at Yellow. It was number 1 in Tripadvisor, and served French food. It had excellent wines, bought by the waiter/owner on annual trips to France. He also said he stocked Wolf Blass. The meals were produced silver service style, with the silver covers being removed simultaneously a la the Oak Room at the Canberra Hyatt of many years ago. The owner even produced a birthday candle to go into my passionfruit soufflé. The customers in this small restaurant were very multicultural. There was a table of 8 young blond Norwegians with perfect American accents at the next table. They were from a catamaran that had sailed from Cape Verde across the Atlantic. There was also a woman from Kigali in Rwanda, who now runs a business in Fort with her French husband, and who was thrilled when she discovered the Leslies had recently been to Kigali. The witty owner, when he discovered Frank talking to the Norwegians, said to us "Eagles shouldn't fly with pigeons!"from which we inferred he was impressed with the size of our boat, and not the Norwegian one.
A memorable 67th birthday.