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Fond Latisab Creole Park.

fortified the island to use as a base for monitoring the French fleet
on neighboring Martinique. And indeed the Admiral set sail from
this island in 1782 for his most decisive military engagement, the
Battle of the Saints. Joined in the 1970s to mainland Saint Lucia,
Pigeon Island is now officially a national park, administered by the
Saint Lucia National Trust; its attractions include the hilltop, wellpreserved Fort Rodney.
✦ Sitting atop the 2,785-ft. Morne Fortune-Hill of Good Fortune-
is Fort Charlotte, whose construction began under the French and
continued under the British. Because of its strategic location
overlooking Castries (about a 3-mile distant), the fort was a
source of fierce battles between these colonial contestants. Fort
Charlotte has been renovated and given new life as the Sir Arthur
Lewis Community College, which today includes a small obelisk
monument commemorating the 27th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
retaking control of Morne Fortune from the French in 1796. Halfway
up Morne Fortune is Government House, the official residence of
the Governor-General of Saint Lucia and one of the few remaining
examples of Victorian architecture. By appointment, one can visit its
Le Pavillon Royal Museum displaying artifacts, crockery, silverware,
historical photographs and documents.
✦ Saint Lucia offers many chances to peek into the past for insight
into the plantation world that dominated the country for so long.
One of the earliest French estates established by land grant in
1745 was the 135-acre Fond Doux Estate near Soufriere. Still a
working plantation, it produces cocoa, citrus, bananas, coconut
and vegetables. A guided walk introduces visitors to various

aspects of today's cocoa, fruit and flower production, as well as
the original plantation house and the estates military ruins. Also
near Soufriere is the Morne Coubaril Estate, a working cocoa and
coconut plantation that gives visitors the chance to see first-hand
the processing of copra, cocoa and manioc. Additionally, the estate
still has its historic buildings and the ruins of a water and sugar
mill. Then along the southwest coast, you have the Balenbouche
Estate, established in the 18th century by the French first as a
coffee plantation, then adding a water-powered sugar
factory to produce sugar and rum. Today, this heritage site includes
an 18th century plantation house, surrounded by gardens, as well
as jungle-covered ruins of a sugar mill, water wheel and ancient
Amerindian potholes. Visitors are introduced to the history of the
estate, including the present life and activities on the plantation, by
the family-owned plantation and guesthouse. Located outside the
town of Choiseul, the estate is a half-hour from Soufriere.
✦ Not much of 19th century Castries, the island's capital, has
survived the ravages of wind, rain and fire; however, around Derek
Walcott Square, named in honor of the hometown poet who won
the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, stand a handful of wooden
buildings with gingerbread-trim balconies. Dominating the Square
is the grand stone Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in
1897. Its interiors are splendid, painted with trompe l'oeil columns
and brightly colorful biblical scenes, whose primary colors and
Black Madonna and child incorporate a melange of Caribbean and
African influences. b

Simply Beautiful

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