The arrondissement of Saint-Pierre has 5 cantons and 8 communes.
It is noted for its many beautiful natural attractions, such as black sand beaches, rivers, hills and mountains, and of course, the sleeping volcano of Mount Pelée. Saint-Pierre is also home to the Canal du Beau Regard, the Saut Manoel Waterfall, the coral reefs of Caye de l'Hopital, Balata Gardens and Balata Church.
The arrondissement is the site of the tragic Mount Pelée eruption which occurred on May 8, 1902.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Saint-Pierre was a flourishing economic and trading centre in Martinique. Much of the city's prosperity was attributed to its rich sugarcane plantations—which worked slaves prior to the abolition of slavery in 1848—and rum distillery. In fact, in 1900, Saint-Pierre was the leading rum exporter in the world. Such was the city's success that it became known as the Little Paris of the Antilles.
All this changed on May 8, 1902, when Mount Pelée erupted, sending devastating pyroclastic flows which obliterated the city and neighbouring villages. Only two men survived the eruption: a prisoner named Louis-Auguste Cyparis, whose miraculous survival and disfiguring scars made him an attraction of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and Léon Compere-Léandre, who was living in the city's outskirts.
The present city of Saint-Pierre was built over the ruins of the old city, and it has yet to regain its former grandeur; a few of the historic sites remind locals and tourists of the destructive power of Mother Nature. The Trade Houses, the Old Church of the Fort and the Theatre are in ruins. Saint-Pierre's Cathedral had been completely destroyed, but was rebuilt exactly identical to the original in 1924. One intact structure is the Dungeon of Cyparis, named after the survivor. The Mouillage Cemetery is where the grisly remains of the poor victims were buried.
Other interesting sites include Monte-au-Ciel Street, which was cleared and restored in 1991, and the 180-year-old Colonial House of Health, which was the first private psychiatric hospital in the Antilles.
The last village along the Caribbean coast, Le Prêcheur was named after a rock formation that resembled a preacher, but was later submerged during the 1802 eruption. It is the starting point for tour excursions around the island.
Le Prêcheur is famous for its black sand beaches, among them Anse Ceron, Anse Couleuvre, Anse Lévrier, and Anse à Voile. It is also noted for its hot volcanic springs.
Other tourist attractions here are the Habitation Ceron, the ruins of a 17th century sugar refinery now known for its exotic birds and centuries-old trees, and the diving spot Ilet la Perle.
One of Martinique's finest beaches is Anse Ceron. Unlike the other volcanic beaches in the region, Anse Ceron's sands are more gray than black in colour, and boasts of transparent waters. Sea grapes and coconut palm trees provide shelter from the sun. Steep cliffs provide an awesome backdrop for the beach.
Although relatively secluded, Anse Ceron does have a snack shop with picnic tables, shower and bath facilities.
Not far from Anse Ceron is the round rock of Ilet la Perle, a famous diving spot in the northern region.