The Bastille Day celebration in Atlanta drew some 530 Francophiles who danced the night away to Martinican rhythms and lamented the absence of a nonstop flight from Georgia’s capital to the island known as “the Flower of the Caribbean.”

An overseas department of France, Martinique is an integral part of the French republic, no less than the state of Hawaii is a part of the United States.

The island was highlighted at the national day evening celebration held in the ballroom of the Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station on July 14.

Christel Coita, communications coordinator of the Martinique Promotion Bureau/CMT USA in New York, told GlobalAtlanta that she still was hoping Delta Air Lines Inc. would reschedule its nonstop flight between Atlanta and Fort de France, Martinique’s capital. Since the Delta flight was launched in December 2006, Martinique has promoted the flight in an attempt to increase the number of American tourists traveling there.

Given rising fuel prices and an insufficient number of travelers, Delta cancelled the flight in keeping with its rigorous policy of achieving certain guaranteed revenues.

Only 2 percent of the 450,000 tourists who visit Martinique annually come from the U.S., while many come from Europe, Latin America and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Ms. Coita said that she still believes that Delta will reinstitute the flight in the future. Meanwhile, Martinique, she added, would continue to promote its meetings and incentives packages to corporate clients.

“We always have a lot of European companies holding their annual meetings there. We can accommodate many people,” she said, adding that as a department of France the island’s infrastructure and communications facilities are equivalent to those found in Europe.

The absence of a nonstop flight didn’t inhibit the attendees from enjoying themselves as they learned the beguine, a rhumba-like dance developed on the island, from Jessica Marie and Franck Muhel and then danced to the Martinican band Madinina, which is based in Montreal.

Art works by the Martinican painter Cecil Bernard, Martinican rum-infused cocktails and creole food also added to the festive atmosphere of the evening.

Watch the above video to get a feel for the evening’s activities.