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Churches of Martinique

Discover the churches of the island

Martinique is an island with a rich and impressive cultural heritage. Located in the center of the Lesser Antilles, it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Among the must-see places to visit during a visit to this archipelago, there are of course the churches.

The main religious obedience of the island of flowers is the Roman Catholicism. There are now almost 50 parishes throughout the territory. If you plan to go there, this guide will be of great help. We have listed some important cathedrals that we invite you to discover.

The churches of Martinique: a brief historical review 

As in most of the neighbouring territories, it is the colonization which contributed to the arrival of the first missionaries on the island of flowers at the beginning of the 17th century.

At that time, Catholicism was very dominant. Some owners imposed it on their slaves. Historians even reveal that there was a black code to make its (Catholic religion) applicability mandatory.

It is after the abolition of the slave trade that this religion began to really take hold on the island. As a proof, we had to count baptisms and marriages in greater numbers compared to the slave trade period. Several churches and cathedrals in Martinique are part of the UNESCO world heritage. This recognition is due to the authenticity of these works.

The Saint-Louis Cathedral of Fort-de-France 

It is inevitably one of the main attractions of the archipelago. It is actually the seat of the bishopric of Fort-de-France and Saint-Pierre. This cathedral is in the capital of Martinique. The parish proudly bears the name of its patron saint, the French king Saint Louis.

It is true that the parish has a different face than the one it should have had. It has come out of several disasters related to bad weather, fires and even earthquakes. 

The numerous renovations give it an unoriginal appearance. For the record, the construction of the current building dates back to 1891. However, the chapel will again suffer a setback in 1970 with an earthquake and it is only in 1979, it will benefit from a deep restoration and then open its doors. The last arrow received was in 2016. It has given the building a new lease on life.

One of the most beautiful attractions in Martinique 

Why do we love this cathedral? Simply because it is one of the most beautiful churches in Martinique. The particularity of this building results from its rather special architecture. It is a combination of neo-gothic and Romanesque-Byzantine style.

Moreover, it has a spire that makes the whole temple splendid. The parish is easily noticeable by its immaculate white painting with blue decorations. It is an important building that stands gallantly in the old town. You can see it from a distance, even from the Bay of Flanders.

When you discover its interior, you will be amazed. Indeed, the room is decorated with various varieties of flowers, fine and very subtle. The other impressive architectural aspect is the stained glass windows. These give a remarkable richness to the wall.

They briefly retrace the life of Saint Louis, with a fascinating display of his coat of arms. For non-Catholics, this is an opportunity to learn a little more about the religion. You will see many mottos and religious symbols harmonized like a symphony.

The access to the cathedral is simple and practical. You can visit the site for entertainment or to commune with the Foyalais who are the locals.

The very famous cathedral of Notre-Dame de L'Assomption 

1654 marks the year of its inauguration. But, colonization and English bombings unfortunately did not spare it. As was already the case with the cathedral of Saint Louis, it is constantly facing numerous earthquakes. These have contributed to the continuous modification of its appearance.

 The island was hit hard by the eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902, which marked its destruction. 21 years later, the reconstruction began, and its face has evolved a lot since then, to finally have the appearance that we see today.

Since the island is a victim of nature's torments, the designers decided to build it with reinforced concrete, which makes it a truly massive and impressive building. It is quickly recognizable thanks to the two 3-storey stained-glass towers designed by one of the world's greatest architects, Victor Anicet.

A church in the image of the Virgin Mary 

Our Lady of the Assumption of Sainte-Marie in Martinique seduces through its white and blue dress, which are the colors of the Virgin Mary. It stands majestically at the top of the Bourg, above an impressive staircase.

We particularly like it because of its exterior beauty. The building has a dark look to it, but it has many exposed beams that give it a unique appearance.

As it is unfortunately the habit on the archipelago, a cyclone named Dean devastated everything in its path. As a result, the church was forced to close its doors for two long years.

Visit to the Sacred Heart Church in Balata

This church is special, because it is built in the middle of the tropical forest in the famous garden of Balata. The parish is a perfect reproduction of the Sacred Heart Basilica in Paris, except that it is five times smaller. Initially, this building existed only as a small parish.

However, with the population boom around Fort-de-France, many restructuring projects have been carried out, including a new church.

 The Sacred Heart parish in Balata is painted white. It has green decorations that match the lush vegetation that surrounds it. If you are in Martinique for a short stay, consider visiting the garden. Do not hesitate to immortalize your visit by taking some pictures.

At the gates of Saint-Henri Anses-d'Arlet 

Among the parishes that you must visit at least once in Martinique, there is the church of Saint-Henri in Anses-d'Arlet. At first sight, its sober appearance is not particularly attractive. The same is true for the bell tower (despite its multiple levels).

It is above all its location that attracts many tourists every year. It will undergo the cyclone, then its bell tower will see its inauguration in 2008.

The building is positioned at the edge of the sea. Its entrance is on the same line as the pontoon of the beach of des anses d'Arlet. When you stand at the end of the wooden construction, you have in visual a beautiful landscape. In front of you, there is a magnificent beach of fine sand. There is also a church and houses in the background. You will also see the azure blue sky above your head.

Several other sites to visit in Martinique 

The list we have just illustrated to discover Martinique is far from being exhaustive. There are many other parishes you can explore besides those mentioned. 

We have for example, those of the Immaculate Conception, Saint-Jacques du Carbel or Notre-Dame de la Nativité de Ducos. We could also mention Sainte Hyacinthe du Lorrain as a compulsory detour.

With such assistance, you will find it hard to get lost. Moving from one town to another will be a breeze. It is advantageous to have someone accompany you, as it allows you to access all the cathedrals and parishes with ease. So, don't wait any longer and come and touch the most impressive religious places of Martinique.

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1 churches to visit in Martinique