Fort-de-France is the capital city of Martinique, which is a French overseas Caribbean department. Fort-de-France is on the west coast of the island of Martinique, at the mouth of the Madame River. It lies on a narrow plain between the hills and the sea, though reachable by road. Fort-Royal was the original name of the city before the name changed to Fort-La-Republique during the French Revolution and finally became Fort-de-France in the 19th century. The name Fort-Royal is nonetheless still widely used by the inhabitants of the city. Fort-de-France has been the capital city of Martinique since 1680. It is the chief port, busiest commercial center, and largest town.

Fort-de-France, with about 85,295 people, is the only major metropolitan center on the island and one of the major cities of the Caribbean. Most of the population converge daily into Fort-de-France, choking the streets during the day. As part of France, most of the inhabitants are descendants of the original French settlers. However, people of African ancestry and mixed European represent more than nine-tenths of the population.

Although Fort-de-France has undergone great challenges in the past decade, the city has revitalized itself as a popular tourist destination. The cruise-ship trade is one such activity that attracts tourists from Canada, France, and the US. More than that, Fort-de-France is a beautiful mountainous island with a variety of attractions. For example, the great Fort St-Louis is on the far side of La Savane. The fort dates from 1640. There is the Le Vieux Foyal, a brimming restaurant with fresh and tasty local cuisine. The common delicacy at the Le Vieux Foyal is a plant-filled patio. Besides, there is a live dinnertime jazz on Thursdays. The Bibliotheque Schoelcher is another popular tourist attraction in Fort-de-France. This landmark building is colorfully designed with a Byzantine dome and an intriguing interior. Other popular destinations are the Le Yellow, Statue of Empress Josephine, La Savane, among others.

Fort-de-France has a surprisingly consistent climate. The average temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius with average minimums of 20-22 degrees Celsius, and average maximums of 30-32 degrees Celsius. Temperatures sometimes exceed 32 degrees Celsius although the northeast trade winds moderate the heat. However, winds originating from the south are hot and humid and can at times bring hurricanes. There exist two distinct seasons: a rainy winter from July to December, and a rather dry season, which lasts from December to June. Further, heavy rainfall is experienced in all months, especially in July and September.

This page was last modified on November 22nd, 2017