Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The heart of any Caribbean island is always a bustling, open air market where locals buy fresh produce, crafts, clothes and anything else considered a staple. In Martinique, the cosmopolitan capital of Fort- de- France hosts the island's shopping mecca, Le Grand Marche' Couvert or covered market. It was designed by a French architect in 1901 and still serves generations of locals.
I love shopping in local markets because it's the best way to sample cultural hallmarks. In Martinique, spices are essential. The line-up of spices shown above include a heaping pile of columbo, the curry powder that flavors many Martinican dishes.
The madras cloth that represents the island's cultural tradition fills many stalls. The boldly colored cloth appears in basket linings, on dolls, purses and on an array of clothes. I spent a long time looking through all the dresses and shirts until I found a turquoise madras sundress that I quickly snapped up.
Jewelry also plays a significant role in Martinican culture, rows of traditional necklaces and bracelets made from seeds and stones claim a prime spot in the market. Notice that the sign welcomes visitors in French, English, Spanish and creole.
Of course, you can actually buy fruit and vegetables at the market as well. Seasonal tropical fruits like genips, and tamarinds and vegetables like christophene dot the stalls with pretty colors and scents. I left clutching my dress and munching on a bunch of tangy genips and I felt like a true Martinican. What are your favorite markets that you've discovered on your travels?