Church of St. Catherine in Grand-Rivière, Martinique
As we’ve noted before, Martinique is blessed with many beautiful churches. The Church of St. Catherine in Grand-Rivière is distinguished as the northernmost church on the island. The original chapel here welcomed its first worshippers sometime on the mid-17th century. St. Catherine’s, though, was built in 1878.
The pretty pastel-colored house of worship sits atop a small hill that rises over the town. It’s impossible to miss when walking from the waterfront to the head of the grueling 10-mile Grand-Rivière to Prêcheur hike.
Somehow I managed to complete this adventure last March. This after waking at 4:30am for J’ouvert fun in the streets of Fort-de-France. I honestly still don’t know what I was thinking, or how I survived. Perhaps I received a bit of divine intervention when I stopped at the Church of St. Catherine ahead of my five+ hours of trekking through the jungle…?
How to Visit The Church of St. Catherine
Even if you’re not making the hike, a visit to Grand-Rivière and The Church of St. Catherine is worth it. The town itself is very remote, with most everything geared around fishing and the sea. Natural wonders are unspoiled, people are warm and welcoming, and the sea breezes blow in steadily from across the Dominica Channel. There’s truly a lot to love here.
To visit, you’ll have to drive up Martinique’s Atlantic coast until you literally cannot go any further. There’s no road connecting the Atlantic and Caribbean coasts at the far extreme northern end of Martinique; just the hiking trail from Grand-Rivière to Prêcheur.
Once you arrive in Grand-Rivière, the church is easy to find. Simply look up the hill from the waterfront, or listen for the church bells. This will help you get your bearings. Next, follow Rue de Lucy de Fossarieu on foot up into the town. This main road runs perpendicular to the waterfront. Along this route you’ll come across Chez Tante Arlette, one of the finest local restaurants on the island.
(Note: Tante Arlette also has a few guest rooms above the restaurant. Rates start around €70, making an extended stay in Grand-Rivière very affordable.)
Immediately past Chez Tante Arlette, make a right onto Ruelle Djo Meslien, a narrow side street that connects with Route D10. Turn right at the intersection and St. Catherine’s will already be within view.