Our History

The name Papillote dates back to the 1850′s, post-emancipation years when two freed slaves, Pappi and Alliot, settled in the Roseau Valley area and engaged in subsistence farming.

Howard Rolle, a descendant of the original slave owner, acquired the land in the early 1930′s, raised his family, tended his cows and pigs and farmed a garden of dasheen, tannia, cassava, coffee, citrus, watercress and breadfruit. Most of these plants, and an occasional shard of pottery from his ancestors can still be found on the grounds today. In our museum cabinet are several items from this era.

In the 1960′s, a new stage in development began when Anne and Burl Grey purchased some of this land and opened a snack bar, which over the next few years became a restaurant, then a popular nightclub with live music.

In the 1970′s, Papillote redefined itself as a small retreat, local craft center and restaurant which prospered through Independence and in 1978 Anne and Cuthbert Jno Baptiste were married.

All was lost in the devastating Hurricane David in 1979. Anne and Cuthbert designed an integrated, all-encompassing rebuilding plan and pursued it with fervor. They implemented the first skills training program in Dominica and engaged Trafalgar youth in building skills. Focus was placed on the restaurant as potentially the most job creative first project.

Over the past 30 years, two retreat buildings have been restored, a new restaurant built as well as the development of a spa and a non-profit botanical garden.