Habitation Clement is THE place to visit absolutely from Martinique. Throughout its history, what it represents for Martinique past and present, this symbolic place will immerse you into the heart of the history of Martinique.
Le François is a town in the Atlantic center of Martinique. It is located east of Lamentin, Ducos and Saint-Esprit, south of Le Robert and north of Vauclin. With more than 53 square kilometers it is the third largest municipality in Martinique after Lamentin and Gros-Morne.
At the start of colonization, Le François did not really interest the French and when Martinique was shared between them and the Caribbean Indians, it was the latter who opted for the Atlantic part of the island and therefore the François. In addition, François Bay was considered unapproachable due to a large number of reefs, the coast at this point was uninhabitable because it was swampy and infested with mosquitoes.
In December 1694, Father Labat landed there to found a parish (administrative and religious division under the Ancien Régime).
Throughout the period of slavery, Le François will be one of the most lively towns on the island with the presence of many plantations seeing a succession of crops (coffee, cocoa, sugar cane then bananas) dedicated to the export. Some slave revolts take place in the town but are quickly extinguished and harshly repressed. The culprits are hanged or then undergo the worst punishments in front of the other slaves of the Habitation to dissuade them from attempting marronnage (escape of slaves) or a possible rebellion.
The first church, first built of straw, earth and reed, was partially destroyed. Rebuilt, it was again ravaged by the violent hurricane of 1891.
It is after this that the Saint-Michel church will be erected, built by the architect Henri Picq to whom we also owe the Schoelcher Library and the Saint-Louis Cathedral. The new building was again destroyed by fire in 1973. The new church was then built by Marc Allie with a more futuristic appearance but quickly became dilapidated. In a new church was completed and inaugurated taking inspiration from the old Saint-Michel church from the beginning of the 20th century.
In the 19th century, in the village of François, a sugar and rum factory was built which employed many people.
The year 1900 will be marked by a general strike at the factories of Sainte-Marie, Trinité and du François. The cane cutters are demanding a salary of 2 francs which they have been refused. The strike movement started on February 5, 1900 and then spread from north to south of Martinique. It will end on February 24, not without a dramatic human toll. Indeed 9 agricultural workers are killed (7 from Robert and 2 from Le François).
The beginning of the 20th century smiles on the Franciscan economy despite the two world wars which is experiencing growing economic activity. Sodas and lime are made there in the regions of Monnerot and Frégate. The extraction of building stones in many quarries provided beautiful cut stones which allowed the restoration of the church and the construction of houses in the village.
The thermal spring of Frégate is very successful in being recommended for its cures against liver diseases. In terms of agriculture, food crops are important, particularly in the heights of Morne-Pitault, Chopotte and Morne Acajou. At that time, the population was already 12,000 inhabitants.
The port of the town has an important activity with the presence of European and American boats which come to load sugar and rum and unload there fertilizers, charcoal and other foodstuffs which are forwarded to the town of the town. by gauges which go up the canal. The goods are redistributed to Robert and to all the homes on the Atlantic coast.
During the Second World War, the city had problems of subsistence and even after the war, the recovery was slow. Between 1945 and 1975, the economic development of Le François is that of a rural commune. The cultivation of bananas replaces that of sugarcane then in crisis. The city is developing in parallel on the heights of the Cotonnerie with the establishment of individual villas which symbolize the reality of a large class of employees in the tertiary sector.
Since the end of the 20th century, the François has experienced a new boom thanks to the construction of new facilities, the renovation of the town center and the development of certain neighborhoods. Le François then turned more to services and the establishment of numerous shops, which revitalized the city. In addition to new businesses, fishing and agriculture hold an important place in the economy of Le François.
Fishing and agriculture have been the town's major economic activities for decades. Towards the end of the 90s, however, the town took an opposite direction with the establishment of numerous shops and the establishment and then expansion of the Zone Artisanale de Trianon (Trianon Craft Zone).
Today the François is no longer a rural municipality but a municipality in full economic development where commercial and industrial activity now counts.
Tourism is important there with the presence of white funds (Baignoire de Joséphine) and islets (Ilets Oscar, Thierry, Frégate, Long, Pelé, Métrente) of volcanic origin which allow companies to offer tourists excursions in places that have nothing to envy to the different paradisiacal islands, the Habitation Clément, rich in its history and its rum which made it world famous. It is therefore logical that the 5-star hotel of Martinique the Cap Est Lagoon Resort & Spa had been established there (closed since 2019) in addition to other hotels (Plein Soleil and Frégate Bleue) and cottages (Maison de l'ilet Oscar) which were already there.
The municipality's main districts are 2 Courants, Beauregard, Bellegarde, Bellevue, Bois Soldat, Bonny, Cap Est, Chapelle Villarson, Chopotte 1, Chopotte 2, Chopotte 3, Cotonnerie, Croix Pelage, Desroses, Dostaly, Dupuis, Gabourin, Grand Fond, Hauteur Bellevue, la Francisque, la Haut, la Manzo, Magdelonnette, Morne Acajou, Morne Courbaril, Morne Gamelle, Morne l'Estomac, Morne Lacroix, Morne Pavillon, Perriolat 1, Perriolat 2, Perriolat 3, Petite France, Pointe Courchet Nord, Pointe Thalemont, Presqu'Île, Rivière Bambou, Saint Laurent, Saint Laurent Bicêtre, Saint Roch, Trianon and Vapeur.