Living in Martinique is like living in a developed country, and accepting the island's special character. While the island offers many advantages - constant temperatures of around 28°C (82°F) all year round, a rich and well-equipped healthcare system, a well-organized transport system, stores, fast-food outlets, supermarkets and hypermarkets galore - its island nature means that prices are much higher than in mainland France, and specialist doctors are rarer and harder to find. It can take several weeks to get an appointment with a specialist.

As for daily life, it starts early, very early indeed. The sun generally rises between 5 and 6.30 a.m., so activity starts early. Children start school at 8 a.m., even 7 a.m. for higher grades, and the first supermarkets open their doors at 8 a.m. and even 6 a.m. in the case of mini-markets. Government offices open their doors to the public at 7 a.m., and private-sector offices open at around 8 a.m.

The downside is that everything closes earlier too. Schools close at 4pm for young children, and at 5pm for secondary schools. Administrations and post offices will receive you until 4 p.m., but make sure you get there well before then, as it will be difficult to get in a quarter of an hour earlier. Supermarkets and hypermarkets close their doors at around 8 p.m., or even 10 p.m. on Fridays.

From 6 p.m. onwards, as the sun sets, the activity fades and the calm, peaceful night takes over. Nightlife in Martinique is concentrated on weekends, and apart from a few bars in Fort-de-France, don't think it's common to go out for a drink with colleagues in the evening.

Activity is concentrated in the center of Martinique, and the road network experiences traffic jams equivalent to the Paris peripherique from 5:30 a.m. on the south-central axis. In the evening, from 4 p.m. onwards in the opposite direction, you'll often have to deal with traffic jams too. So be patient!

In fact, this road network leading from north to south and vice-versa is very often congested. The roads that allow you to avoid it still don't relieve the overcrowded A1 expressway.

The people of Martinique are very festive, and the slightest opportunity is a good one to open the champagne. In fact, Martinique is the French department that consumes the most bottles per year.

If you're up for the island adventure, you won't be disappointed: despite the small size of the territory, you'll have the chance to meet the locals and find something to keep you busy every day.