Saint Pierre, former capital of Martinique, was completely destroyed in 1902 by the eruption of Mt Pelée, which overlooks the city.
Today Saint Pierre is principally a tourist centre with shops and restaurants of every variety.
Looking across a picturesque bay with a black sand beach and the striking backdrop of Mt Pelée sunrise and sunsets are a special time of day in Saint Pierre.
The city’s centre is long and narrow, with two parallel one way streets dominating the geography.
Completely rebuilt upon the ruins of its former self, the city demonstrates the wrought iron balconies and Persian adorned entrances that are considered characteristic of the architecture of early 1900s. By getting off the beaten track and keeping a careful eye out, you can still find forgotten remnants of the former city such as ruined walls.
The principal examples of the former city can be found on most tourist maps of the city, available on both English and French.
Perhaps the most significant of these is the historic theatre, a magnificent building seating 800 people, in its time the venue held host to theatre and musical companies from France.
Beside the theatre, where the prison formerly stood, you can see the cell which held the only survivor of the 1902 catastrophe, Cyparis, saved by the thickness of his cell’s walls.
The volcanological museum of Saint Pierre exhibits many interesting artifacts recovered from the eruption including petrified rice.
Visit the North Caribbean region of Martinique