I

had no idea that yet another island could capture a piece of my soul, but here I
am – in love with a destination whose heart is exquisitely French and whose veins pulsate with rich Afro-Caribbean traditions. It’s not a land of contradiction, but one of a unique melding of the best of both worlds. From the cuisine and cocktails to the je ne sais quoi air of Gallic sophistication, this island offers unique, effort- less unpretentious chic.

No high-rise resorts or time-shares for let, but hotels like Le Bakoua where you are checked into your oceanfront rooms by someone who seems more like a local storyteller than a front desk man. His dexterity at multi-tasking lets you know you are in good hands… but there’s some- thing compelling about him that makes you want to ask him a few questions that will lead to reminiscence of days of old. I found him so intriguing that I think I deliberately kept visit- ing the desk that rst evening, hoping he would simply start chatting like an older gentleman sitting on a verandah in a rocking chair, whil- ing away the hours by recounting stories (with a very heavy accent) on the way things used to be. Alas, he was not my treasure trove of tales of Martinique, but I loved where my imagination took me… must have been his greying beard and kind eyes.

“So I wound up at a beachfront, toes-in-the-sand restaurant owned and operated by Guy Ferdinand, also known as CHEF HOT PANTS!”

Guy Ferdinand
Guy Ferdinand

Martinique embodies some of the loveliest aspects of the French countryside, but in tropical form. It feels far removed from the sensibilities of other Caribbean islands in that it is a very grounding place, with so much great food. Wishing the term French-fusion weren’t scorched earth at this stage of the game because that’s exactly the term I would use to describe some of the dishes – very French, infused with a strong Caribbean touch. Island life is nothing if you don’t have a great local beach spot to hang out and amazing views, in my opinion, and when I travel, I love to visit like a native.

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