Martinique has four ‘arrondisements’ (areas): Le Marin in the south; Fort-de-France and Saint-Pierre in the west; and La Trinité in the east. Here I’ll be talking about my experience in the south-west area of Le Marin, including Les Trois Îlets and Pointe du Bout.
Petite Anse is located in the south-west of Martinique. ‘Anse’ means ‘bay’ or ‘cove’ and many of the beaches here take that name.
Petite Anse was our first beach to visit, on our first day. We were a bit shell-shocked from our arrival the night before, and Petite Anse didn’t exactly allay our fears that leaving St Lucia had been a huge mistake. The sea was very rough that day (some people were still enjoying the waves) and the sand was neither black nor white – it just looked a bit dirty.
There wasn’t a huge amount of shade – we got there around noon. Nor were there were any facilities (toilets or beach bars, although I think there were some cafés as we drove in). This isn’t a criticism, just info. We parked right opposite the beach but there wasn’t a huge amount of parking.
After an hour or two, we headed off to our next beach, Le Diamant.
Le Diamant is also located in the south-west, a little east of Petite Anse.
Le Diamant is huge, much longer than Petite Anse. There were quite a few people there but very spread out. However, the shade from the (mangrove?) trees at the back of the beach meant that most people gathered there. We were nearish two French families having a lovely picnic. They were very tan and lithe and chic, as the French do so well.
We had parked on the side of the road and walked through the trees to get to the beach (30 second walk). There didn’t appear to be any facilities that I could see.
The surf was very rough again and I only waded in up to my knees, admiring le Rocher du Diamant in the distance.
I can’t believe we missed out on seeing the Memorial de l’Anse Caffard, the moving memorial to Martinique’s slave trade and especially those who drowned off the coast in 1830. I would definitely like to visit on my next trip.
We headed north to Les Trois-Îlets to try and find some food. Being Easter Monday, many places were closed. However, as so often happened during our week here, we stumbled across a cafe and had the most delicious feast. Boulangerie La Guérande had the most amazing array of French pastries, macarons and breads. If you are French or spend a lot of time in France, this might all look rather ordinary. But, living in the USA, it was a feast for the eyes and belly! Our sandwiches were made with fresh baguettes and were absolutely delicious. We bought a few macarons for a late-afternoon treat. Had we known this would be the only place we would find macarons, we would have bought more!
We carried on to find our next stop, Anse Mitan.
Anse Mitan is a cute beach in a great location – there are cafés, bars and restaurants nearby and it was a perfect spot to enjoy a late-afternoon swim and sunset.
It was very busy when we got there (Easter Monday – lots of locals enjoying the holiday) and at that time of day the beach was very narrow. We managed to find a free spot of sand and settled in.
We had parked our car on the hill above the beach. As the sun started setting, we headed back to the car and changed out of our wet swimsuits into some dry clothes that we’d brought. We ended up doing this several times during the week – rather than making the hour or so drive back up to La Trinité where we were staying, to shower and change for dinner, it was easier just to bring something to change into and stay in whichever area we were visiting.
We headed back down to the beach to find one of the bars we’d spotted. Most restaurants (if not all) only open at 7pm or 7:30pm for dinner, making a late-afternoon/early-evening aperitif essential!
I was so excited to try a Ti Punch – local rum with a splash of lime and cane sugar. I don’t think I realized quite how little of a splash is used – it tasted like neat rum. I’m ashamed to say I had to buy a bottle of Coke to dilute it. Be warned!
Unfortunately I didn’t note down either the name of this bar or the restaurant next door where we ate dinner. I think both were attached to the hotel. This was probably the most disappointing meal of our trip. It was a buffet of local food – everything was good but nothing was outstanding. The restaurant was huge and had big tables set up. There was a local show with dancing and singing, which was fun, but it all felt very geared up for tourists who don’t like to leave their hotel.
For more ideas of what to do in Les Trois Îlets, check out the Weekend Jetsetter’s review of her family vacation there!
Check back for my upcoming reviews on Martinique’s other areas: Saint-Pierre (now live!), Sainte-Anne, Presqu’ile de la Caravalle, our rum distillery tour and our fabulous day on a catamaran!