Pictures from Saint-Pierre on the northwest coast of Martinique: the Earth Science Center (CDST) and the "Maison de la Bourse".
The Earth Science Center at Saint-Pierre in Martinique. © Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme / Luc Olivier
Saint-Pierre is a town that is located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea in the Northwest of Martinique, about thirty km from Fort-de-France. It is the cradle of the French colonization of Martinique. Capital of the colony at its beginning and its main economic and cultural center for more than 200 years, Saint-Pierre was known as "the Paris of the Caribbean, since the settlers developed significantly the infrastructure of the locality and were anxious to create a European way of life in the colony.
The city, which lies southwest of Mount Pelée, was fully destroyed by a violent volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée on May 8, 1902. Followed by several aftershocks in the following months, this eruption caused the death of some thirty thousand people and made some 20,000 refugees.
The city was rebuilt gradually thereafter. Today it is mainly oriented towards tourism and vacations.
Saint-Pierre has been labeled as a "City of Art and History". The local sites of historical interest include the Mont au ciel Street - an old, once very lively, alley stepped into the hillside in the North of the city - and the ruins of the ancient "Chefferie du génie" and the dungeon of the prison. The thick walls of the dungeon protected its single occupant, Louis-Auguste Cyparis, who was one of the three survivors of the disaster.
The Earth Science Center (in French, Centre de découverte des sciences et de la Terre) opened in 2004 at Saint-Pierre. It is a museum created in memory of this volcanic eruption. With its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Earth Science Center is both a memorial and an introductory tool to volcanology, seismology and astronomy.
The Earth Science Center is located near the Stadium Pierre-Paul Charles at the northern end of Saint-Pierre, at the foot of Mount Pelée. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Its building is designed according to modern anti-seismic techniques.
On the other hand, the Franck Perret Museum, named after the American geologist and volcanologist who created it in 1933, is also set in Saint-Pierre. It exhibits pictures of the city before and after the disaster and exposes various documents, archive, and other objects collected by the volcanologist about the volcanic eruption. The museum is located rue Victor Hugo.
The wreckage of several ships destroyed by the eruption lie in the waters of the harbor of Saint-Pierre. They are some of the most beautiful diving sites in the Caribbean Sea.
Former Chamber of Commerce, commonly known as "Maison de la Bourse" at Saint-Pierre, Martinique. © CMT / Henri Salomon
After 1902, the city was rebuilt very gradually. The building of the former Chamber of Commerce of Saint-Pierre, commonly called Maison de la Bourse, has been rebuilt identically. It is now one of the most remarkable buildings in Martinique.
It is located Bertin Square.