2. Accommodation and First Night at the Festival

Accommodation – Beautiful surroundings

Our accommodation for the week was at Villa F3 Piscine Privee. We were housed in 3 self-catering Bungalows, one with a swimming pool.

We were captivated by the luscious green surroundings, well-kept lawns, beautiful flowers and tropical trees. If only we had more time to truly relax and enjoy the beauty of this place.

We experienced nature at its best, i.e. flies, frogs, mosquitoes, cockroaches, lizards, horsehair worms, birds singing sweetly in the trees and the crickets melodiously singing at nights. Yes! Without any doubt, we were truly in the Caribbean. It was hot, hot, hot.

Every day our French style breakfast and Caribbean style lunch and dinners was delivered to our main bungalow, take away style, to keep us adequately sustained. We ate and drank together on the cool veranda.

“On the 6th Day it was Sunday morning and we are in the Caribbean! So what is the norm? Sunday morning breakfast and Church! We were thousands of miles away from England but closer to home. I was adamant that we cannot be eating continental breakfast in the Caribbean on a Sunday morning. So at 5 am, while the household slept, I started to prepare breakfast. Later we all sat down to the classic Caribbean Sunday morning breakfast of roasted breadfruit, boiled green banana and salted cod fish with onions and peppers. It was delicious”

One free afternoon at the Bungalow, we had our own fun, relaxing, eating, laughing, playing domino game, exercising in the swimming pool and dancing to the beat of drums. Thanks to Victor and Paul, the Drummers from St Vincent, for transporting us into our ancestors world!

“Such good fun and laughter”

  • Bungalows beautiful surroundings

Our First night at the Festival – Day 1 – Awesome

On our first night in Martinique we were taken to the Centre Bourg, where a Quadrille Ball was taking place. We watched the islanders and the group from France dance the Haute – Taille Quadrille.

“The programme had begun, the atmosphere was electric. As I sat down, I became transfixed. I was transported back in time to the images I had seen of the Ballroom Quadrille Dance, popularised in Europe, including France, during the 18th and 19th centuries. During that time it was danced on special occasions in the royal courts and other high societies as part of their pomp and pageantry. This display tonight – in Martinique – was surreal”

All the dancers were dressed in beautiful, vibrant and elegant costumes. The women’s brightly coloured costumes gave us a view of fashion from those days when quadrille was the main dance in the Caribbean.

“I was mesmerised by the splendour”

The musicians were playing their native quadrille music. It was an unfamiliar old rustic sound that was so different from our recorded orchestral music. All the dancers were moving in unison to the rhythm and beat and instructions of a Caller. We later learned he was speaking in French creole.

“The Haute–Taille style of quadrille dancing was fascinating to watch. Although I didn’t understand a word the Caller was saying, I listened carefully and watched the movements of the dancers to his instructions”

We observed that all the dance groups had real men! so we were looking carefully at how the men were portraying their virtuosity by kicking up their heels and courting the women in their dances. It was a remarkable balancing act.

Onlookers like ourselves were fully enjoying the non-stop dancing and before long, despite our fatigue, we got up, began tapping our feet and dancing to the music.

“The islanders soon recognised we were visitors and starting laughing with us especially when we tried to imitate their dance moves and communicate with them in English. It was fun”

  • Night at the Quadrille Ball

Videos courtesy of Town of Francois.

Series Navigation<< 1. The invitation – Planning our journey – Travelling to Martinique3. JANUKA’s contribution to the Festival >>
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