As an overseas départment of France
's culture is French and Caribbean
. Its former capital, Saint-Pierre
(destroyed by a volcanic eruption), was often referred to as the Paris
of the Lesser Antilles
. Following French custom, many businesses close at midday, then reopen later in the afternoon. The official language is French
, although many Martinicans speak a Creole
patois. Based in French, Martinique's Creole also incorporates elements of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and African languages. Originally passed down through oral storytelling traditions, it continues to be used more often in speech than in writing.
Most of Martinique's population is descended from African slaves brought to work on sugar plantations during the colonial era, white slave owners or from Carib or Kalinago people. Today, the island enjoys a higher standard of living than most other Caribbean countries. The finest French products are easily available, from Chanel
fashions to Limoges porcelain. Among young people, studying in France is common. For the French, Martinique has been a vacation hotspot for many years, attracting both the upper class and more budget-conscious travelers.
Music contributes a great deal to Martinique's culture. The most popular style is zouk
, which originated in Martinique and Guadeloupe
by combining elements of a number of musical styles from the Caribbean and United States
. Its biggest influence was biguine
, which was popular dance orchestra music... Read More