French flair flavors Caribbean beauty on St. Martin, a gourmet’s delight.
The pleasures of St. Martin are legendary, from its haute cuisine to its golden beaches. When you enter St. Martin, you’ve entered France, and not just figuratively speaking. St. Martin is as much a part of France as Marseilles or Nice, and a flight here from Paris is a domestic flight. It’s as if you can make a quick trip to Europe without spending eight hours on a plane. And, unlike in the home country, everyone speaks English.
Stroll along the waterfront in the capitol, Marigot. Pareau-draped mademoiselles sip café au lait under spreading flamboyant trees, and boutiques tempt with items from duty-free jewels to high fashion.
As you take in this scene of Gallic luxury, remind yourself to return for market day, when, in front of the harborside bistros and boutiques, vendors fill the parking lots with goods from home-brewed liquors to burlap sacks overflowing with cinnamon, nutmeg and chili peppers. Ladies in madras dresses and buoyant kerchiefs haggle over enormous squash and cabbages the size of bowling balls.
St. Martin is action-packed but also laid back. Its Orient Beach, perhaps the Caribbean’s best-known clothing optional strand, is also its premier location for water sports from windsurfing and jet skiing to “parascending” on a boat-towed parachute.
For a different kind of adventure, visit Loterie Farm, where a former slave trail leads you upward to breadfruit trees descended from the original plants brought to the Caribbean aboard the H.M.S. Bounty. Streams trickle through dense foliage; guavaberry, mango and mahogany trees surround you with astounding lushness; iguanas lumber across pathways; and hummingbirds dart across the flowers. A trail leads to Pic Paradise, the island’s highest point.
Similarly, you can have a meal fit for a dauphin at one of the Caribbean’s toniest collections of restaurants, but you can also eat well for a sou (give or take). In the village of Grand Case, fine eateries line a beachside road like grande dames awaiting your attendance. Yet amid these culinary palaces lie the “lolos,” a series of wooden shacks overlooking the sea where you can feast on a mountain of stewed conch, fried fish, rice, beans and plantains — all for about $10.
It’s not just in Grand Case that you’ll eat well: From LowLands to Sandy Ground to Marigot and the less visited Nettle Bay, savvy cooks are waiting to tempt you. It’s a good idea to eat heartily, because your days will be spent in a variety of activities, including a visit to the Butterfly Farm – where such beauties as the Cambodian wood nymph and the Brazilian blue morpho turn your day into a fluttering parade of color.
Also venture to the Colombier area, where cows graze tranquilly behind blossom-clad stone walls. Further on, a long road curves around Oyster Pond; men ride by on horseback as if from another era, and pigs root around by oceanside roads.
Entertainment available includes: Dinner/Dancing. Cocktail lounge music. Disco. Cinemas. Casinos (Dutch side).
Air Canada (Charter). Air France. Air Caraibes. American Airlines. BWIA. Caribbean Star. Continental Airlines. Corsairfly (Charter Nouvelle Frontiere). Delta Airlines. KLM. LIAT. Northwest Airlines (Charter). US Air. Windward Islands Airways (Winair). Caribbean Connection Plus’ Shared & Private Charters.
Airports: Princess Juliana International Airport Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, N.A., Aéroport Saint-Martin Grand Case
US and Canadian citizens may stay up to 3 months.
US citizens need a valid passport or an original birth certificate with a raised seal and a state issued photo ID.
Canadian citizens must have a valid passport.
A return or onward ticket is also required.
Marina Port la Royale. Shopping complex, including top French and Italian designers fashions.
Fort Louis, the main historical building, built in 1789 in the reign of Louis XVI, has a wonderful view overlooking the entire French capital.
Paradise Pic, the highest peak of the Island, 1,400 ft.
The Museum, “On the trails of the Arawaks”, the museum is a historical and cultural patrimony of the Island. It displays artifacts from the Arawak Indians, telling the history of colonization of St. Martin, and an Art Gallery.
Loterie Farm, located in the lush interior region of French St. Martin, is the island’s only private nature reserve. This former sugar plantation, set in 150 acres of pastures, tropical forest, and soaring mountain peaks, offers interested tourists the opportunity to rediscover the fascinating natural heritage of St. Martin. Guided hiking tours of different levels are offered daily on centuries old trails. A growing population of wildlife including the green monkeys, raccoons, and an abundance of birds is testament to our preservation efforts.
Recently opened, the, “L’eauLounge cabana club & piscine de source” promises to be an exceptional addition to their repertoire. With more than 500 square meters of free form multi-level swimming areas connected by cascades and surrounded by almost an acre of lush tropical vegetation, the L’eauLounge is destined to be another one of the extraordinary attractions of SXM.
There are only 11 chic & stylishly designed cabanas for rent on a daily basis. Each cabana will accommodate up to 10 guests. Guests of the cabanas will enjoy exclusive privileges of the pools. Furthermore, cabana guests will be entitled to free use of the hiking trails and an unprecedented 25% reduction on the Ti-Tarzan and the Fly Zone.
Open daily from sunrise to sunset
The Butterfly Farm, where you can walk amongst the rare and exotic butterflies from around the world flying freely in a tropical paradise, with music, flowers and fresh waterfalls.
Civil ceremonies are held exclusively at the Collectivité of St Martin Salles des mariages.
A letter stipulating the desired date of marriage and the names of the couple-to-be should be sent to the President of the Collectivité at the following address :
Collectivité de Saint-Martin – BP374 – 97054 Saint Martin
Tel: 05 90 87 61 80
Fax: 05 90 29 63 09
Beforehand of the ceremony the formalities are :
1. Constitution of the wedding file (see list of documents needed below)
2. Registration of the file at the “Service Etat Civil de la Collectivité”
3. Publication of the wedding banns for a period of 10 days
Please note that the ceremony cannot take place before the 10 day publication period.
For more information please visit http://www.stmartinisland.org/