Flowers and Flames: Martinique Welcomes the Passing of Paris Olympic Torch on June 16-17

Mount Pelée, photo courtesy of Martinique Tourism Authority

Jesson & Co / MNI Alive

Release Date

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


The Olympic and Paralympic Games, set to take place in France later this year, will be the country's largest sporting event ever organized. Scheduled from July 26 to August 11, 2024, the Games are a renowned, multicultural event where individuals gather to cheer on their beloved countries. With Paris' iconic landmarks transformed into sporting arenas, the city will provide an unparalleled backdrop for showcasing athletic talent.

Featuring 329 events across 35 venues, with 10,500 athletes competing in 754 matches and ceremonies, the Games is a major quadrennial spectacle eagerly anticipated by millions of spectators worldwide. Also expecting the traditional relay of the Olympic Torch, an ancient custom dating back to Olympia, Greece, this symbolic Flame is set to pass through the Caribbean island of Martinique, an overseas region of France.

As a World Biosphere Reserve known by the epithet “The Island of Flowers”, Martinique is a uniquely verdant setting for the Olympic Torch Relay. The relay is set to showcase the diverse volcanic and tropical landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and notable figures of Martinique. As the world waits with anticipation for the Torch to illuminate the island's storied landmarks and unspoiled beauty, we’ve prepared an overview of its exciting route below.

Lighting the Flame - The Starting Point of the Olympic Torch

At the crack of dawn, the Torch will be lit, and the journey will begin at the summit of Montagne Pelée, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the northern tip of Martinique. The journey's first step is intended to honour Martinique’s illustrious representatives, including Aimé Césaire, the Mayor of the capital Fort-de-France from 1945 to 2001 who passed away on April 17, 2008. Césaire was known as something of a Renaissance man who published important literary works that influenced the dialogue on colonialism and several collections of poetry.

Saint-Pierre, Martinique

Saint-Pierre, Martinique - courtesy of the Martinique Tourism Authority

Illuminating History

The Torch's journey through Martinique follows a carefully planned route highlighting the island's key locations. The first stop is Le Lamentin, the economic center and second most populated city. From there, the Flame will pass through Le Robert, a relay point that pays homage to traditional Martinican boats. The journey continues with stops in Sainte-Marie, Saint-Esprit, and finally, Saint-Pierre. 

The town of Saint-Pierre, often referred to as "Little Paris," was formerly the island’s economic centre before it was razed by the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902. Continuing on this exploratory tour, the route acknowledges the eruption, bypassing the Old Theater and the Memorial of the 1902 Catastrophe. Following this, the Flame will make its fourth stop in the commune of Le Diamant, located on the island's southern end. Summiting Morne Larcher before going to Cap 110, this memorial symbolizes the unidentified victims of the slave trade with 15 two-and-a-half-meter-tall statues. 

Espace Muséal Aimé Césaire, Fort-de-France - courtesy of the Martinique Tourism Authority

Espace Muséal Aimé Césaire, Fort-de-France - courtesy of the Martinique Tourism Authority

Casting A Light on Martinican Culture

After visiting landmarks around Martinique, the Flame will return to the island's capital, Fort-de-France. Touring the largest city on the island, the Olympic Torch will stop at the Louis Achille Sports Complex, a multi-use sports stadium. Passing through the historic Lycée Schoelcher, where the esteemed Aimé Césaire studied and taught, the Torch will proceed to Saint-Louis Cathedral, crowned by its impressive 12-ton steel spire.

Next, the Torch will make its way to the Espace Muséal Aimé Césaire, a museum space dedicated to this iconic Martinican figure, which he occupied during his tenure as the honorary mayor of Fort-de-France. From this point, it will proceed to Schoelcher Library, constructed in 1889, and to the Departmental Museum of Archeology and Prehistory.

Continuing its journey through the city, the Flame will travel through the gorgeous and lush La Savane Park before making its final stop at the Malecon, the seafront of Fort-de-France. Here, at this exceptional venue for many sporting and cultural events, a ceremony will be held to close the day. After a signature Martinican celebration, the cauldron will be ignited at the end of the last relay.

As significant as the Olympics and Paralympics are, the historic tradition of the Torch Relay is equally meaningful and greatly appreciated by enthusiasts and observers worldwide. Martinique, a sanctuary for biodiversity, will showcase its impeccable and visually appealing landmarks throughout the two days, capturing the essence of its rich natural and cultural heritage. For more information on the Olympic Relay this year in Martinique please visit:

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