An Estate in the Martinique
In the West Indies, the denomination “estate” designates a Plantation, with its fields, its warehouses and plants, and of course the Main House and the sheds and other outbuildings. The Clément Estate is unique in the sense that it still functioning till now, focused mainly in the cane culture, and the rum producing (aging process) with its own Distillery on site, the hub of the cultural heritage of the Island.
Established in the 18th Century in order to grow the cane and manufacture sugar out of it, the Acajou Estate, was bought in 1887 by the Dr. Homère Clément, a symbolic act to say the least. This Great man symbolizes the access to education, financial & political powers for men of color under the Third French Republic.
Located at the François, the Clément Estate blends the Grand Agricultural Rums’ tradition and the Martinique’s heritage, emphasizing it at the same time. The Clément Estate, the only creole estate open to the public, has become in just few years a key site in terms of heritage and a unique testimony of the creole way of life.
The Tour is designed around four “worlds”, ambiances, giving to the visitor the liberty to organize his tour regarding his personal areas of interests.
The Créole World
Around the Main House and its sheds, maids quarters, the creole “world” renders the daily creole life, with its domestic life on the Estate, the creole architecture, furniture and style. All the rooms of the two stories Main House are open to the public. A potager, ancient cooking gally, has been rebuilt in the kitchen to evoke even more the past and nostalgia. The Stables have now been transformed into a Museum of The History of the Estate and Plantation.
The Botanical World
It showcases the 16 hectares/40 acres of gardens, pounds, the Palm Tree Grove, the Tropical Fruit Garden, and a wonderful display of the Trees around the Estate. There is more than 300 botanical species identified on the estate.
The Industrial World
This part of the tour takes place in the old distillery and its surroundings. Series of exhibitions educate and show the history and the making of Rum, in between fully restored and functional Steam Engine. Those machines and how they operate is explained in details to the visitors.
The Rum World
The Rum World pays tribute to the long tradition and savoir faire of the many generations of cellar masters who have worked at the Plantation. Four aging cellars and casks are available for the visitors for a sensorial experience; you can there breathe, smell all the different aromas of the wood and rum combined in that pyramid of antique barrels, where the rum ages slowly and gracefully.
The Audio guide
Beyond the aesthetic experience lived by the visitor touring the Garden, the Park, the House, we at the Clément Estate, want to stress the educational and didactic side of the tour, hence the specially designed Audio Guide. It is a great and easy support in order to gain the fullest understanding of the Estate and its history.
The Clément Foundation
The tour ends up with a show case of the Work that the Foundation Clément does in regards the Contemporary Art. Each year an Art Show is set up, whether a collective art show or a solo artist one, in order for local or more larger Caribbean artists to show case their Body of Work.
You can check all the Foundation Clément activities and Art Shows on the Website www.fondation-clement.org
Photos Credits: Henri Salomon