A city ravaged by a volcano:
Saint 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.
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.
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:
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.
Sadly, we couldn’t go see any shows at the theatre.
The eruption of Mount Pelée was dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century
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!
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:
Also, the sand on the beach is now black:
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.
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)
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!
Thanks for joining me on my tour of Saint-Pierre, Martinique!
Would you like to join me on some other adventures?
- Have you ever visited a city that was destroyed by an act of nature?