Travel Pics Theme: Fort-de-France

Sacred Heart Balata

Sacred Heart Balata

This week, our Travel pics series is F for Fort de France.

And for Tuesday, it’s the Sacré-Coeur de la Balata.

This is like a one-fifth miniature version of the Sacred Heart Basilica in Montmarte, and construction was proposed, perhaps not coincidentally, in the same year as its larger namesake was completed.

It was built to cater for the overflow of parishioners in Fort de France after thousands of inhabitants were forced to move there by the destruction of Saint Pierre in a volcanic eruption in 1902.

It was also dedicated to the 18,000 Martiniques who served in World War One – and the 1,300 who died.

The church has survived two fires in the 90-odd years since its construction – which locals put down to ‘miracles’ – and it is home to some lovely stained glass windows inside its remarkably subdued interior.

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