My clients soon realize when I am passionate about a place; I become overly enthusiastic! They hear it in my voice and it becomes immediately apparent in my joyful demeanor! I am a lover of the sun, sand and sea; thus I have ventured to almost every Caribé island. If a destination has an exceptional reputation, I’ll find my way to it!
St. Barthélemy is not your typical Caribbean island; it’s certainly not like any I have previously visited. The tropics is a place that always beckons my return, I succumb to the allure of warm ocean breezes and the carefree island spirit. I return for the moonlit sky as it reflects silver off of the sea and the sweet scent of the ocean air – the Rastafarians with their long untamed dreadlocks, they haven’t a care in the world, always reminding me – that I live incorrectly – “me La-dee (my lady), you work too much in America and need to slow dee pace (the pace).” You won’t find Rastafari ideology in St. Barth’s, none that I could see and I was looking! And the people who live on the island, well, they are obviously doing something correctly, after all, they seemed happier than most. When I visit it’s a constant reminder that I physically exist in the wrong part of the world! I love everything about the Caribbean, it’s freeing!
I didn’t see wild Mango or Papaya fruit trees in St Barth’s, instead perfectly manicured Bougainvilleas and large Coconut trees lining the impeccable streets. Over the hill, in the distance is the port with fancy yachts, and happy people enjoying spirits on the decks. When I was in Sardinia I learned, that in winter the same imposing fleet of Mega Yachts leave Porto Cervo and make their voyage to the Caribé. In summer months the townspeople leave St. Barth’s and go to work in Corsica (a French island in the Mediterranean).
Across all the Caribé islands the faithful attend church. The weekly ritual attract the locals dressed in crisp white linen; you can hear their loud joyous singing across the island. The islanders always welcome tourists to their energetic service, you can hear the echoes of songs across the island! It’s a wonderful way to awaken on a Sunday. Following their morning prayers, the locals convene for an afternoon at the beach, swimming to steel bands and Regee music. You can go to the beach BBQ Sunday’s at 1:00 pm, where I indulge in a “bushwhacker,” my favorite island drink made with the finest island rum. But – I couldn’t find one in St. Barth’s – there seemed to be a different theme throughout this island. It wasn’t the Caribé, where I had visited so many times before. You won’t find a trace of garbage on the roads, nothing is out of place, it defines “pristine.” St Barth’s is an island experience altogether different, but with a very familiar flare, French!
The Americans spell it St. Bart’s and to the Europeans it’s St. Barth’s howbeit, I wasn’t there long before I was immersed in the language, the euro currency and everything French. Perhaps this could be like a “Paris by the sea?” Well, not exactly. But it’s certainly French, beyond the cliché! You can’t escape the finest French cafés and the famous La Creperie in Gustavia, and like all things French, there is a certain aura, an uninhibited nature (that we all love about the culture), which included being naked on the beaches. A civilized affair governed by some “lenient rules,” which were meant to be broken, especially here! And in the French tradition of “free spiritedness” bathing suits are not required, especially on Saline beach, where you can “bare it all!” Although nudism is said to be forbidden in St. Barth’s, this rule is not practiced and never enforced. I didn’t see one sign that read “nudity prohibited.” Saline beach (the first 3 photos) is where bathing suits are infrequently worn. It’s a natural landscape surrounded by “wildlife,” hidden in a sophisticated manner; it’s freeing in a subtle way. With that spirit, Saline is my favorite beach on the island (photo 1 – 3). Yes, St. Barth’s was starting to “grow on me.” There are lots of things to love about such a beautiful and safe island. Every corner is stunning with magnificent panoramic sea views.
Saline Beach is located not far from the main town of Gustavia (great shopping), but it’s a bit of a hike from parking. You will have to carry your things up a steep gravel road for 15 minutes, when finally you’ll arrive to Paradis! Here you will joined by wild goats, turtles, exotic birds and other typical Caribé wildlife, it’s the best beach on the island (photos 4, 5 & 9).
Back to the beach topic.. another favorite beach is Shell, a short walk from the main town of Gustavia. It’s the best place for a fun weekend scene and home to the famed restaurant Do Brazil. Here is the perfect position for the islands best sunset views (photo 8). Enjoy a romantic sunset on Shell beach, followed by a swim at dusk. Other beaches across the 35 km island are St. Jean, Toiny, Petit Cul de Sac, Grand Cul de Sac, Flamands, Marigot, Lorient, Colombier, Gouverneur all with white soft sand and turquoise crystal clear water. Ok, let’s keep it “French,” so now pack an evening basket, including an exceptional bottle of French Bordeaux, a baguette, some flavorful cheeses and fruits – from La Petite Colombe boulangerie pâtisserie. After the sunset take a short ride to Flamands beach for a night swim, it’s close to the road and no one is there, everyone is at Shell beach!
Nikki Beach is the funnest place to be for the beach party and SAXMAN at Nikki Beach, make sure you make reservations way in advance!
So, now turn up the heat, add luxurious villas, elegant small hotels, and world class French restaurants, “Voila” now we know why this island has the reputation, as a place of “sophisticated charm!” In no time at all, we were in love with the island of St. Barthélemy!
Sunset at Do Brazil, Shell beach
2017, photos copywrite restricted