Habitation Saint-James is a distillery located on the municipality of Saint-Marie.
This rum has celebrated its 250 years in 2015!
Open Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. The visit of the museum of rum and the house of distillation, housing and tastings are free.
Possibility also from the house to take a train ride in the plantations of canes and bananas.
- Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 am to 01:30 pm (first departure at 10:00)
- and Saturday from 9:30 am to 01:30 pm and from 02:00 pm to 05:00 pm (last departure at 16:00).
To get to the Habitation Saint-James, from Fort-de-France, direction East of the island, by the fast lane (A1) and exit towards the town of Robert (N1). Follow along the way, the direction of Robert, then La Trinité and finally Sainte-Marie. It takes 30 to 40 minutes drive from Fort-de-France. Cross the town, the distillery is on your left along the N1 going towards the Marigot. Go past it, when you see it on your left take the third exit at the next roundabout so you can access to the site and the car park (Direction banana museum at the roundabout (point).
You will see on your left a large gate giving you access to the car parks. You have a small as soon as you enter and a larger one at the end of the site.
Park and head to the Habitation shop, take advantage of the exhibition of some remains that were once used for sugar and rum production.
Enter the house to enjoy the many exhibitions of objects that once served. You can visit both floors and enjoy the view from the balconies.
The shop is also located at the end of the habitation where you can taste the different rums of the brand Saint-James.
View from one of the second floor windows
A little history…….
In the 19th century, many rum distilleries were mainly sugar houses. They distilled their rum from molasses resulting from the manufacture of sugar. The rise of the invention of the steam engine and its adoption in sugar houses will intensify and concentrate sugar production in large factories. The isolated habitations will then concentrate exclusively on the production of agricultural rum, improved by the adoption of the European imported tray column replacing the still. After 1960, the closure of most sugar houses puts an end to the production of industrial rum. The agricultural rum takes place with its flavors and terroir, making it a rum that is worldwide recognized.
1763-1765, the father Edmond LEFEBURE puts in service the sugar factory of Trou-Vaillant, strong of its plantations on grounds towards Fond-Mahault. Father Gratien BOURJOT will succeed him one year later. In this period of wars of positions between the colonizers, King Louis XV gave Martinique the right to export his rum to countries other than France. The only country that could buy this rum at the time was New England.
In 1765, the rum of Trou-Vaillant was named Saint-James, in order to facilitate its sale to Anglo-Saxons.
In 1777, on this domain is produced tafia, sugar and rum.
In 1794-1802 then 1809-1814: English occupation.
In 1852, the Domaine de Trou-Vaillant became a disciplinary workshop.
In 1861 auction of the estate.
In 1882, the mark Saint James is filed as well as the famous square bottle, the first in the world by Paulin Lambert.
In 1890, Paulin Lambert bought the habitation Trou-Vaillant. The export is growing internationally
In 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee. The installations of Trou-Vaillant are buried under the ashes but they will be quickly put back in state.
From 1920 to 1930 important expansion of St. James rums in Europe and in the colonial empire.
From 1955 to 1967, the house is sold and will pass by many owners with its lot of liquidations.
In 1971, acquisition by the company Cointreau and regrouping of installations on the one site of Sainte-Marie.
In 1980 opening of the rum museum
In 2003 the habitation is bought by the Martiniquaise.
In 2010 opening of the house of distillation.
In 2015, the 250th anniversary of the historic Saint-James plantation central unit that was the Trou-Vaillant sugar refinery.
The entrance to the “Maison de la distillation” is at the end of the site.
This house celebrates the rise of distillation over the centuries from the still to the distillation column that we know today. Chemists have sought to perfect distillation to achieve higher alcohol levels, better quality and higher yields.
The distillation column is “the heart of the rum manufacturing system” and this museum reminds it to us perfectly. .
Other interesting thing, this house has hidden treasures, bottles of St. James rum dating from 1885. These bottles escaped the disaster of 1902 because they were stored in a warehouse in Amsterdam. Today, they are kept preciously as you can see.
End of the visit. Go backwards to the rum museum to taste the various rum offered at the counter.
Feel free to visit their website to learn about the history, the know-how and the different rums designed by Habitation Saint-James.
Ø Circulation in Martinique: During the weeks you will encounter many traffic jams from 7 a.m. to 9. 30 a.m. in the industrial and commercial areas. Especially mornings driving from south (Rivière Salée, N5) to the North (Fort-de-France, A1), but also East (Robert , N1) going North , you will find the same traffic jams every evening on the other side from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Tip, think of the way and time you want to travel in order not to lose time.
Ø Visit and tastings:
– Interest: 5 out of 5, you will have many things to discover in different museums in an attractive area with its shop and train that can take you to the fields of canes and bananas. A place marked by a great history (more than 250 years). The visit and the tasting are free. The train ride is not free (departure times in the article).
Ø Opening hours : Open from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.
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OLIVIER Damien, your humble guide