Marie-Galante is a dependency of Guadeloupe and therefore a part of France. It covers a land area of about 158 km² (61 sq. miles) and has12,000 inhabitants. It is nicknamed is La Grande Galette or ‘the big cookie’ due to its round shape and almost flat surface. It produces sugar cane and a delectable rhum agricole.
To start our tour we used our legs and took a walk around Grand Bourg which is the largest town on the island (5,707 inhabitants). Quiet, colorful, humble, a little funky and somewhat retro is how I would describe the place.
Even though it was only 11:00 a.m., as they had visitors they declared it was time for an early aperitif and offered us a variety of homemade rum punches and rum arrangés (a preparation of rum macerated various ingredients such as leaves or fruit). Not wanting to offend our hosts, we felt obliged to comply...
From there we headed west, skirting beautiful pristine beaches surrounded by turquoise seas so clear you wouldn’t need a mask to see the bottom. We stopped in Capestere to purchase our sandwiches for the picnic that Diane and Alexis had proposed for lunch.
The venue was a secluded beach, their favorite, accessible by trekking about a kilometer down a footpath. Several enterprising locals had constructed shelters on the beach using driftwood and palm fronds which provided some much-appreciated shade for our feast. The perfect spot for a picnic!
Sadly our time was short so we had no time to visit one of the many rum distilleries that make this island famous. To be ‘polite’ we did make the time to purchase some, for testing purposes of course...
Alexis and Diane had plans for a family meal out with friends that night at a rather rustic local establishment of sorts and kindly included us in their plans. I have no idea where we went as it was dark and raining buckets by the time we drove out there, but suffice it to say it was somewhere in the middle of the countryside.
We were the only guests, a party of 12 and were requested to phone in our main course order before arriving. The choices included: goat, octopus, conch or fish. Patrice was more adventurous and chose the conch, while I played it safe and went for the fish (I did not regret my choice...). But oh what a feast it was! We began our meal with the local version of Ti Punch made with lime, rum, and a local wild cherry syrup--delicious!
The starter was an wonderful assortment of local delicacies including a crab cake, mango ‘chow’ (a kind of salsa) and several salads. This was followed by a delicious soup with mystery meat (I didn’t want to ask), our main courses were amply augmented by local vegetables and we ended the meal with ice cream and fresh fruit-- mmm MMM Good!
All in all it was a delightful day and evening. We are so grateful to our friends for taking the time to show us their lovely island. Since we were leaving early for Les Saintes the next morning, we said good bye to them at the dock that night promising to return one day.