French St. Martin

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Savoring St. Martin

Beautiful sandy beaches, small restaurants with fine French cuisine and boutique shops specializing in luxury European imports, Saint Martin is truly a delicious destination.

St. Martin is probably most famous for its beaches and the one most people want to visit is Orient Beach, which easily accommodates the demand with its numerous chair, umbrella and water sports rentals, along with plenty of snack and t-shirt huts.

Orient Beach is also known for its total nudity, perhaps the real reason for its popularity.

Equally good but usually less crowded are Baie Longue (Long Bay) and the wide sands of Baie Rouge (Red Bay). Topless sunbathing is the norm at all St. Martin beaches.

Most visitors are surprised to learn there is much activity away from the water, but 25 miles of hiking trails are shared by both sides of the island. That’s probably just about the right amount for a week long vacation.
At one time the trails crossing the valleys and mountains were the main thoroughfares for locals, but in recent years they became overgrown.  Thanks to a few local hikers with machetes, the paths are now cleared again.

Since the cruise ship dock is in Philipsburg on the Dutch side, passengers often shop only on the Dutch side because of limited time, so the French and Italian boutiques in Marigot tend to be far less crowded.  Marina Port la Royale, situated on a picturesque lagoon with many sailboats, is a popular shopping stop.

For truly exceptional French or continental cuisine, the small restaurants clustered in the town of Grand Case are acknowledged as the best.

Since English-speaking tourists make up the bulk of visitors to St. Martin and an estimated 85 percent of the population is involved in tourism, you can get by in Marigot without speaking French far easier than in Guadeloupe or Martinique. 

Arrival Briefing
What To Know If you Go

Getting Married in St. Martin
Forget it, until the laws change

Loterie Farm Walks
A small nature preserve on the French side

Marigot, St. Martin
The French side capital is more relaxed than Philipsburg

Walks around Paradise Peak
Paradise Peak Hike
La Sucre Paradis Trail
Paradise Peak-Concordia Pass