Very little crime or poverty thanks to France's support and social services
Lots of construction along the waterfront as trolley system is being built 2015
saw things this way
An overseas department of France, the island is economically stable with good social services, very little crime or poverty. Currency is the euro. Known as the “Island of Flowers,” guide Rafael led us on the Botanical Gardens of Balata tour. After a quick stop at Sacre Coeur de Balata, a one-fifth scale replica of the famous Sacre Coeur of Montmartre in Paris, we continued on to the gardens. Landscape gardener Jean Philippe Thoze began collecting plants as a hobby before opening his garden to the public in 1986. It’s now the second largest botanical garden in the Caribbean and the most visited attraction in Martinique. Thoze arranged his plants according to the continents they come from, laying them out around the 18th-century Creole cottage that was his grandmother’s home. Some of 42 varieties of palm trees are represented along with a bed of bromeliads, water lilies and the heavy porcelain roses geishas wear in their hair. Everyone chuckles when the group stops at a plant called Governor’s Secret, named for the island’s last governor who was just a little insecure about a certain part of his male anatomy. The plant’s waxy red flowers, five or six inches long, stand erect on cluster of leaves.Farther along the garden path Rafael points out a series of rope and cable bridges suspended between trees and encourages us to climb up for a walk through a canopy of leaves. Two persons at a time on each bridge, please.