Saint-Pierre, Martinique

A city ravaged by a volcano:

Saint Pierre, Martinique

 

sainte pierre martinique

Once the cultural capital of Martinique, Saint-Pierre was known as “the Paris of the Caribbean.”  It was a thriving town full of theatre and the arts and was the first permanent French colony on the island.

tree in saint pierre martinique

 

Theatre, you say?

 

Why, yes old sport! -And since my travel partner, Kat, and I both LOOOOOOVE theatre, we just had to go check out the ruins!  If you’d like to visit them yourself, read on to the bottom of the post where I have some better instructions for how to find this lovely place.

 

martinique theatre

martinique theatre stairs

martinique theatre ruins

Couldn’t you just see yourself walking up this grand staircase for a night at the theatre?  I know I could! Granted, my French is horrible, so it’s doubtful that I would understand much of it.

 

Once you get “inside”, the rest of the ruins are still quite amazing!  Even the old floor and the abandoned rigging are interesting components to see:

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique

martinique theatre

old rigging in theatrical ruins

martinique statue

This statue was created long after the volcano’s eruption as a way to bring in more tourism and art to the city.  

However, they placed it in a strange corner of the theatre ruins, so it is barely visible. Odd.

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique

 

Sadly, we couldn’t go see any shows at the theatre.

 

The town was destroyed again on 8 May 1902, when the volcanoMount Pelée erupted, killing over 30,000 people, the entire population of the town

-Wikipedia

The eruption of Mount Pelée was dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century

ruins in Saint-Pierre, Martinique

 

graffiti in martinique

 

 

My awesome travel partner and I hiked  the volcano Mt Pelée- it was beautiful (well, since it wasn’t erupting and trying to kill us)- click here to read more about the hike and see photos!

Montagne Pelée- hiking an active volcano

 

 

The most interesting thing to me, however, is that one person IN the town managed to live through the disaster. A prisoner by the name of Louis-Auguste Cyparis happened to live through the eruption because he was living in the prison cell seen below:

Jail cell in martinique only survivor of the volcano was here

French theater theatre ruins in Saint Pierre, Martinique Jail cell

 

Also, the sand on the beach is now black:

black volcanic sand beach martinique

martinique black sand beach

martinique black sand beach

 

 

Saint-Pierre was definitely an interesting place to visit, though there were definitely not too many people, nor many establishments open for business.  One could clearly see that this town was in ruins, and though it has been built back up, it will never come back to its former glory.

saint pierre destruction volcano ruins

martinique

 

 

Information for tourists:

If you’re trying to find the ruins of the theatre or the jail yourself- they shouldn’t be hard to find, the sign for the ruins is even sitting right along the street.  Somehow, we managed to pass it the first time we drove by.  The jail is visible just to the north edge of the theatre (walk in the theatre to what would be backstage right, or up the stairs and all the way to your left, and look over the ledge)

  sainte pierre

 

You’ll need to be driving north through the city on D10- it’s a one way street headed north that breaks off from the main road of N2 on the north and south sides of the city.

The ruins will be almost near the north end of town on your right. There is a street, “rue du theatre,” that you will pass on your right just before you find the gate and stairs to the theatre.

There’s no special parking nor entrance fee.  Just park on the street somewhere and walk in.  A decent amount of the informational plaques were surprisingly in English!

 

 

saint-pierre martinique

 

Thanks for joining me on my tour of Saint-Pierre, Martinique!

 

 

Would you like to join me on some other adventures?

Click here to read about my trip to the beautiful monastery of St. Kevin in Glendalough, Ireland.

glendaloch graveyard

Or Click here to learn more about Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT

tinkerbell butterfly garden disney

 

 

martinique

 

  • Have you ever visited a city that was destroyed by an act of nature?

 

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2 thoughts on “Saint-Pierre, Martinique

  1. Alyssa says:

    Your post has made me nostalgic. I spent a lot of time in Saint-Pierre once upon a time. I might my partner when we were teaching assistants in Martinique and he lived in St Pierre, while I lived in Ste Anne – complete opposite ends of the island!

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