Plese help: Martinique or Guadeloupe??

Old Jul 21st, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Plese help: Martinique or Guadeloupe??

We love all things French and we'd like to try one of these islands this winter.. Does anyone have a preference?

We are two adults, two young ones. All we need are sandy beaches, good restaurants and some shopping, cafes, etc. to entertain the kids..

We're thinking maybe the ST. Francois area of Guadeloupe or the Fort-de-France/Trois Ilets area of Martinique..

Thanks for any advice
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 04:03 PM
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I've looked at Martinique for a future trip. Not the easiest places to travel to from the US. A great source of information is the Civilized Explorer site:

http://www.cieux.com/
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 02:41 AM
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We went to Guadeloupe and Martinique a couple of years back. We thoroughly enjoyed both islands.

In Guadeloupe, we stayed in Deshaies which is a lovely fishing village. Although we could have stayed in St Francois, we preferred this side of the island which is green, mountainous and beautiful as opposed to St Francois which has the better beaches and hotel acccommodation. As we had a car it did not really matter where we stayed. There were plenty of families with young children and you can get to Pointe a Pitre easily where there are supermarkets and restaurants etc.

From Guadeloupe to Martinique, we took the Express des Isles which was great. It took 3 hours with a short stop in Dominica but there are others that may go direct. If you have problems getting flights to either of these islands, perhaps you can take the flight to the nearest island and then take the Express des Isles. You get a really good view of Fort de France when you arrive on boat. In Martinique, we stayed in Trois Illets, not the prettiest resort but plenty of facilities. We hired a car and went all over the island, St Pierre, the east coast, Les Salines beach (not to be missed), and a beautiful small beach not far from Trois Illets called Anse Noir-great for snorkelling. Grand Case is also near Trois Illets and has some lovely restaurants and bars.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 02:58 AM
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Thanks Odin,

Which would you say has more of an authentic French feel?? Where do you think has a better area for restaurants/walking around, etc.... Did you visit St. Anne area of Martinique??
I can't be too isolated from activities b/c of the kids...

Thanks again
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 04:01 AM
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Guadeloupe is less developed for tourism than Martinique, both islands have an authentic feel, they are France in the tropics with road systems exactly as in France. They have patisseries and boulangeries with baguettes etc, same supermarkets eg Carrefour, use Euros. You won't be isolated, there are loads of French kids there. There are restaurants all over the place. I think St Anne (Martinique) is near the beach of Les Salines which is spectacular, St Anne is lovely for walking around. You can visit volcano in Guadeloupe which is interesting for everyone, Malendure with black sand and loads of kiosks selling local specialities, you can stay in apartments which might be easier to cater for kids (buy fresh tuna from the market and cook it yourself). St Pierre in Martinque has a colourful market and is a very interesting town for walking around, museum that might be interesting with the history of the eruption that destroyed the town. In Anse Noir (Martinique), the kids can see the fisherman pulling in the nets (they caught a turtle when we were there but put it back of course). On the east coast of Martinique, people were windsurfing and doing various watersports.

What the islands do not have is large resort hotels of international standards.

And my mistake, it is Express des Iles, http://www.express-des-iles.com/

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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 04:15 AM
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http://www.antilles-info-tourisme.co...e/p2-in-gb.htm

We used this website for planning our trip to Guadeloupe
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Thanks a million.. I'm leaning toward Martinique at this point, southern coast.. Will probably rent a private villa ...

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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Sounds like a good choice. Les Salines is a perfect beach.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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Sorry---not to burst your bubble but if you're looking for good food do NOT go to Martinique or Guadaloupe. My fiance and I went over to Martinique last winter and were shocked at how horrible the food is--literally the worst I've ever had in the Carribean. We kept reading how great the Creole food was, etc. etc. and it is old, overcooked and basically just gross. Even at the nicest and most expensive restaurants it was bad compared to food you'd find in the States. We ended up having a great time--there's lots to do between the beaches and cool cultural stuff, but I'd never want to travel there with kids. It was hard for us to find stuff we wanted to eat...I think we had about 7,000 plates of Accras and quite a few Biere Lorraines (and we're extremely adventurous eaters from NYC who go to various ethnic restaurants all the time!) so I'd imagine it would be extra difficult to find food for the kids--unless you want to stay in the touristy party (which is kind of not worth it...the point of going to an island like Martinique is to learn more about their culture). Don't stay in Fort-de-France...I'd recommend either staying somewhere more beachy and scenic or staying inland at Habitation LaGrange.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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What about St. Barths or St. Martin? I think those are much more kid-friendly and have more of the shopping, cafes, and good restaurants you were talking about (Martinique has no real shopping and not tons of cafes either).
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Old Sep 10th, 2006, 02:45 AM
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That's disappointing to hear about Martinique's cuisine and lack of shopping.. I was only looking at these two islands b/c we've been going to st. barth every winter and figured we'd change it up.. HOwever, the negative reviews have steered me away... I already booked St. barth again this winter!
Thanks much.
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Old Sep 10th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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I think you are right-Martinique is not for the US market. If you are used to the sophisticated cuisine and impeccable standards of service from the US, you will be disappointed in Martinique.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 08:56 AM
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We love Guadeloupe, and have stayed in St Francois a couple of times. I think Guadeloupe may feel more authentic to you than Martinique, because NO ONE speaks english (I think they are used to more American tourists in Martinique, so there is at least a minimal ability to communicate in English if necessary). Most of the tourists are on holiday from mainland France or from Quebec. Guadeloupe has great day trip possibilities, as there are several out-islands nearby (Les Saints are a must). From St Francois you are an hour from Point a Pitre and another hour from the west coast of Basse Terre, where you have the volcano, the waterfalls (with an incredible hike through the rain forest) and Pigeon Island, which is Cousteau's dive preserve and considered one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. St. Francois is great in the evening because there are plenty of restaurants around the harbor. And one of the things that I thought was so fabulous about Guadeloupe was the way they celebrate both their French state status and their Creole heritage. You can go to the grocery store and stock up on fresh baguettes (the baguette machines are popping them out every 30 minutes), pick up some beautiful french wines and cheeses that are flown in daily, then give yourself a lovely wine and cheese break at about 5 before heading out for a Caribbean dinner at 8 or 9.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:02 AM
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This thread is almost 4 years old
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:14 AM
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well don't I feel silly - I never even looked! The post just got me dreaming of white beaches and cheap white bordeaux!
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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I'm dreaming for next winter, too.
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