The pleasures of Saint-Martin are legendary, from its haute cuisine to its golden beaches. When you enter Saint-Martin, you’ve entered France, and not just figuratively speaking. Saint-Martin is as much a part of France as Marseilles or Nice, and a flight here from Paris is a domestic flight.

Visit the capital Marigot on market day, when, in front of the harbor side bistros and boutiques, vendors fill the parking lots with goods from home-brewed alcohol to burlap sacks overflowing with cinnamon, nutmeg and chili peppers. Saint-Martin is action-packed but also laid back. Orient Beach, perhaps the Caribbean’s best-known clothing optional strand, is also its premier location for watersports 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. A trail leads to Pic Paradis, the island’s highest point.

You can feast at one of the Caribbean’s largest collection of restaurants, but you can also eat well even on a small budget. In the village of Grand Case, fine eateries line a beachside road, 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 or grilled fish, rice and peas and fried plantains — all for about $10. From the lowland area called 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, from 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 colour — to the Tijon Perfume store where you can create and name your own fragrance made from a selection of exotic extracts and essential oils.

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Airports / Gateways / Flying times

Airports: Princess Juliana International Airport Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, N.A., L’Espérance Regional Airport Grand Case, St. Martin, F.W.I.

Gateways/Flying Times: There are no direct flights from the UK. Air France fly from Heathrow via Paris, and KLM from Heathrow via Amsterdam. There are local connecting flights from Antigua. Paris: 8 hours 50 minutes. Amsterdam: 9 hours.


Average daytime temperature in winter is about 80-83 degrees F. Summer is a few degrees warmer. Evenings are cool in the winter.


The island boasts over 300 restaurants with a large variety of cuisines. It is considered the “Dining Capital of the Caribbean”.


French is the official language of St. Martin but English is widely spoken.


Entertainment available includes-Dinner/Dancing. Cocktail lounge music. Disco. Cinemas. Casinos (Dutch side).


Fort Louis: the main historical building, built in 1789 in the reign of Louis XVI, with a wonderful view overlooking the entire French capital. Pic Paradis, the highest peak of the Island, 1,400 ft. Border monument: after the Spanish abandoned the island in 1648, the Dutch and French families who had settled in the hills to grow cassava and tobacco asked their respective governments to take possession of the island. The Dutch arrived first and tried to prevent the French from landing. Chevalier Longvillier de Poincy, governor of St.Kitts, organised a mass landing of 300 men. The two nations signed a treaty of collaboration on Mount Concordia on the 23rd of March 1648, dividing the island into two parts.

The Loterie Farm: located in the lush interior region of French Saint-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 and locals the opportunity to rediscover the fascinating natural heritage of Saint-Martin. A growing population of wildlife including the green monkeys, raccoons, and an abundance of birds is testament to preservation efforts. The future plans for Loterie Farms include botanical gardens, activities and conference center, a natural fitness course, and a Creole grill outdoor restaurant.

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. Colombier: this area will take you back to the “Old St. Martin”.

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