Saint Pierre is a French city, a sub Prefecture (French admin subdivision ranked under the equivalent of a Province); In the Department of Martinique, in the Region of Martinique (French Admin Division for Province). Saint Pierre is located 19 miles (31 km) from Fort de France up in the north, on the Caribbean coast of the Island, and at the South West of the Mount Pelée. Its inhabitants are named the Pierrotains (can also be written Pierrotins) and the Pierrotines.
The City of Saint Pierre is built on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, bordered by a sand beach and rises in terraces, with soft and slow hillsides. The River Roxelane crosses the Town, dividing it two Burroughs, one named the Fort Burrough as a tribute to the Fort that D’Esnambuc built there (He was a French pirate who ended up as an army official), and the other the Mouillage Burrough. Before 1902 the town was divided in three Parishes, the Fort Parish, the Center Parish, and the Mouillage Parish, the river demarcated the Center Parish in the North, and the Petit Versailles Street on its even numbers side demarcated it in the South.
Early April 1902 fumaroles are seen on top of the Mount Pelée, then light rain of cinders on its southern and western side, together with sharp underground shocks, were observed the 23rd of April. On April 25th, the mountain emitted a large cloud containing rocks and ashes from its top. On April 27th, on the first day of the Parliament Election, the strong smell of sulfur was all over the city. On May 2nd , the mountain produced loud explosions, earthquakes, and a massive pillar of dense black smoke that even blocked the Sun. Even if the situation is beyond alarming, the Officials wish to maintain the second round of the election, and maintained business as usual, even though the prominent families and socialite are divided whereas to evacuate or not the City, depending on their political opinions. On May 5th the city’s streets are invaded by an army of ‘lance head’ snakes, chased from the top of the mountain by the burning ashes, their lethal bites will kill 50 peoples, and over than 200 animals. At the same time at the mouth of the River Blanche, the Sugar Plant Guérin is invaded too by thousands of ants and venomous centipedes, before being buried under 20 feet (6 m) of boiling mud, killing 25 people. Then the sea suddenly receded about 330 ft (100 m) and then rushed back flooding parts of the city. Tens of inhabitants already fled the city by now, and again few prominent citizens are voicing that the wise decision would to proceed evacuating the city, yet since the second round of the election is to take place May 11th and the problems that would result in postponing, rules the evacuation out. The Mayor Roger Fouché, the Governor Mouttet, the owner of the main newspaper Les Colonies Marius Hurard, or the prominent plant owner Eugène Guérin are all guilty of minimizing the danger of the volcano. May the 8th at 7:52 am, a pyroclastic flow hurtles down from the top of the mountain to Saint Pierre at the speed of 416 miles per hour (670km/h.) This mass of more than 1000°C/1832°F kills 26000 people in few minutes while burning down the town and more than 40 ships in the bay. One prisoner named Cyparis, survived ironically, protected by the depth of the wall of his jail cell. The Shoemaker Leon Compère Léandre survived also miraculously in his workshop. On May 20th a second eruption, way more powerful than the first one, finishes to destroy the city.
The Following days, people from nearby islands and villages came to pillage the city of Saint Pierre, under the false pretense to look for their relatives. An official pillage is then launched by the French Government in order to put away the gold, treasury bonds and the cash stocked in the city’s bank. The Government put in place a commission specially in charge of recovering the jewels on the corpses, with the false promise of returning those to the families of the victims. People then continues to pillage the town, stealing marble, statues, fountain and even stealing the cannons. The City will stay a sad sight of desolation and ashes for years, despite generous donations sent from everywhere. Its biggest rival Fort De France takes at last and logically the title of the economic and cultural capital of the Island.
The deadly wounded city disappears officially of any maps, due to the Law of the 15th February 1910, its territory is then given the nearby town of le Carbet. That law authorized the recipient city to sell the assets and dispose of every single thing of the given city and liquidate the whole town, keeping all the profits. Thereby Saint Pierre lost most of its architectural and archeological heritage.
Like a phoenix rising, the City of Saint Pierre was reborn officially in 1923. The rebuilding started and some landmarks such as the Chamber of Commerce were rebuilt identically (one of the most beautiful landmark building of the whole Island).
In 1990 the whole town received the Town Of Art & History Label, by The Culture & Communication Secretary of State. Thanks to that the main economy of Saint Pierre is based on tourism, in particular diving, due to the high numbers of shipwrecks in water of the bay.
Ziléa, the club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique is the professional alliance of the key players in tourism of the Island.
Our Hotels, Hotels Clubs, Resorts, Vacations Villages, Travel Agencies, Car Rental Companies, Leisure & sports activities, and all of our others tourism partners in Martinique, all joint in the Club of Tourism and Holidays Professional in Martinique Ziléa, welcome their guests as soon as they land in Fort de France. Our Only Goal: Improve and Upgrade the Tourism Offer in Martinique, in a clear desire to cater for all.
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Ziléa in Martinique is the connection or if you may the link between the general public and the members of the club: Hotels, Hotels Clubs, Resorts, Tourist Residences, Car Rental Companies, Leisure & Sports Activities, and all of other partners in the tourism field in Martinique.
We represent the whole spectrum of the tourism industry in Martinique: the whole range of accommodation (hotels, tourist residences, hotel clubs and resorts, deluxe and exclusive rentals, registered and labeled Tourism Lodging, and guesthouses…)
Vacation planners (travel agencies, destination management companies, conventions, business travel…) nautical tourism (cruises and sailing yachts) historical and leisure tours, car rental, etc.