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St. Barts

Saint-Barthélemy, which is also known as Saint Barth, St. Barths, or St. Barts, is a small volcanic island. It is one of the most northeastern islands in the Caribbean Sea. It sits between St. Kitts and St. Martin and is about 22 miles (35 kilometers) from either one. Exotic Estates St. Barts villas are in high demand.

St. Barts is the only Caribbean island to have once been a colony of Sweden for any length of time. The Swedes turned the island over to the French in 1878, and the French culture is a strong influence. French is the official language, and the Euro is the official currency. Many places do accept US dollars, however.

St. Bart has its own airport, the Gustaf III Airport, located on the north coast. It serves mainly regional planes that carry less than 20 passengers. Visitors coming from other countries need to catch flights to the larger airports in the Caribbean and then take a smaller plane to St. Bart.

St. Bart typically gets over 300 sunny days per year making it a draw for affluent American beach-lovers. The quaint island has around 14 beaches, which are generally not crowded. They all have white sand and are free to the public.

St. Bart is divided into two paroisses (parishes) called Sous le Vent (Windward) and Au Vent (Leeward). Each parish is further subdivided in 20 quartiers that correspond roughly to settlements.

An old French communal rule decrees that no building can be taller than a palm tree. Consequently, there are no skyscrapers or huge resorts. Most tourists will thus stay in a St. Barts villa.

Saint-Barthélemy’s capital is a city called Gustavia, and it was named after Gustav III (1746-1792), the King of Sweden. It is located in the Sous le Vent paroisse on the island’s southern coast and has a sheltered harbor.

As of the 2005 census, Gustavia is home to 3100 people – or nearly a third of the island’s population. In addition to being the largest city on St. Barts, Gustavia is the main shopping area. Gustavia also boasts a number of buildings that date back to its days as a Swedish colony; many of them have been restored. Travelers will find many a Caribbean villa in the area.

Things to Do in Gustavia 

Wall House Museum 
The Wall House Museum was originally a stone, two-story house built during the Swedish Period (1785-1878). It was converted into a museum around the turn of the 21st century and is now home to documents, photographs and artifacts from St. Bart’s history. It also contains a library. The museum is located at La Pointe on Gustavia Harbor. 

Yellow Submarine Tours 

The Yellow Submarine is actually a semi-submersible that departs from the Gustavia’s Ferry Dock and takes travelers to such places as the wreck of the “Marignan,” which sank in 1995 and has since become a habitat for nurse sharks and other fish.

Saint Bartholomew’s Anglican Church 
Saint Bartholomew’s Anglican Church was built in 1855. The church was built mainly from stone found on the island, but the builders also used limestone from France for the steps and front wall and volcanic rock from the neighboring island St. Eustatia for the doors]m

Fort Gustav 
Fort Gustav was one of three forts outside of Gustavia built by the Swedish. Built in 1787, it sits on a hill and thus provides a splendid view of Gustavia and its port. The fort itself is mostly in ruins, but the lighthouse still stands.

Shell Beach 
As the name suggests, Shell Beach is covered with seashells and is thus popular with collectors. It’s a short walk from the harbor, and there is also a cliff; some brave souls will go cliff-diving. Visitors can also enjoy a Greek restaurant called Shellona.

Saint Jean 
Saint Jean is a quartier located in the Sous le Vent paroisse, and it is also on the island’s northern coast. Saint Jean boasts the second-largest shopping district on St. Bart. It is also home to a variety of luxurious hotels, villas, and restaurants.

Things to Do in Saint Jean 

St. Jean Beach 
St. Jean Beach is conveniently located near the Eden Rock Hotel and the airport. In fact, it’s a little too close to the latter for the runway ends in the westernmost part of the beach which has consequently roped off. It’s still a beautiful and popular beach that gets a lot of visitors, for its calm waters make it ideal for sailing and swimming.

Stade de St. Jean (St. Jean Stadium) 
The St. Jean Stadium is the only stadium on St. Bart’s. It was originally built in 1979, and then renovated over 30 years later. It is used chiefly for soccer and rugby games.

Area Food 

Maya’s To Go 
Maya’s To Go is the place for ordering snacks or meals to go. While the menu changes every day, pastries, rolls, breads, and coffee are among the staples. Maya’s also sells chocolates, crackers, tea, and wine. Patrons can eat at the bar or order things to go. Maya’s is kid-friendly and accepts cash and all major credit cards. It is located at is Les Galeries du Commerce, St. Jean, St. Barts FWI 97133. For more information, call (590) 590 29 83 70.

The Hideaway 
The Hideaway, which has been in business since 1997, is a large and open restaurant with a wrap-around porch. It describes itself as “multi-cuisine,” which means it serves dishes ranging from fresh fish to pizza to l’escargot. The restaurant is also kid-friendly and provides orders to suit their tastes. While most of the restaurant is non-smoking, there is a terrace for smokers outside. The Hideaway accepts both cash and major credit cards.

Flamands is a quartier or neighborhood located on the island’s northwest coast, and it is also part of the Sous le Vent paroisse. It is known mainly for its beach.

Things to Do in Flamands 

Flamands Beach 
Flamands Beach is a deep and long beach that provides visitors with a view of the small islands north of St. Bart. It has a west-facing shoreline that makes it the perfect place to watch sunsets. While it is close to both Cheval Blanc Hotel and the restaurant La Langouste, it is not crowded.

Area Food 

La Langouste 
La Langouste is conveniently near the beach and also has a swimming pool where patrons can cool off. It serves traditional French cuisine, including a lot of fish dishes. The restaurant is said to serve “the best lobster on the island.” The restaurant also serves beef filet, veal chops, chicken brochettes, pastas, and salads. Wine can be ordered by the glass or the bottle.

Anse de Grand Cul de Sac 
Anse de Grande Cul de Sac is a quartier in the Au Vent paroisse. It is located in the northeastern part of the island and is right above Petit Cul de Sac.

Things To Do in Anse Grande Cul de Sac 
Grand Cul de Sac Beach 
Grand Cul de Sac Beach is popular with visitors who enjoy water sports like fly fishing and kayaking. It also gets enough wind to satisfy kite surfers and windsurfers. Its shallow waters make it ideal for snorkelers and children.

Tennis Club Du Flamboyant 
Tennis Club Du Flamboyant is a family-run facility that has been in business for nearly 30 years. The owners had the two tennis courts renovated in 2015, and they are covered with a soft, synthetic material that is easy on the joints. Patrons can also rent equipment or take lessons.

Area Food 

La Gloriette 
La Gloriette is a beach restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. It specializes in French and Creole cuisine and is also known for its rum. Patrons may reserve deck chairs for sitting on the beach. To learn more or to make a reservation, call (590) 590 29 85 71.

Lorient is located on the island’s northern coast. It is a quartier in the Au Vent paroisse.

Things to Do in Lorient 

Eglise de Lorient (Church of Lorient of St. Bartholomew) 
The current Church of Lorient is a Catholic church that was built in the the 1850s and is considered a good example of 19th-century Swedish architecture. The original church was built in 1724 and was burned down by pirates. The current church was damaged by an earthquake in 1974 and extensively renovated in 1988. Sailors have used the church's bell as a landmark for generations.

Institut Nature Et Beaute 
Institut Nature Et Beaute is a spa that provides massages and beauty treatments. Visitors can enjoy pampering in the form of manicures, pedicures, and hot stone massages

Lorient Beach 
Lorient Beach is east of St. Jean Beach, and it is popular with surfers. There is a surf shop on the premises where people can hire instructors or rent gear. Both the shop and beach access are near JoJo Burger.

Area Food 
JoJo Burger 
JoJo Burger is a casual beach restaurant known for its excellent burgers. They offer several different types, including fish burgers, cheeseburgers, and burgers with bacon and cheese. The restaurant also offers salads, paninis, and a large selection of drinks.