No, you didn’t just touch down in the South of France (as many say feels similar): you are on a tiny, pristine island in the Carib- bean. The thought of finding a little piece of the Côte d'Azur in another part of the world clearly has its appeal judging by the
revolving casts of celebrities and socialites who treat St. Bart’s like a second home. Breezy, sexy, and perpetually sunny, with the bluest waters, whitest beaches, and harbors filled with mega yachts, the chicest Caribbean island somehow manages to exude a laid-back vibe unspoiled by package-tour partygoers.
Tranquil as it may be, it is also absurdly expensive. Even getting there requires an additional boat or plane journey from a neighboring island. Two boutique hotels sit atop the local resort food chain: hotel Isle de France and the renowned Eden Rock. Small as it may be, in St. Bart’s (short for Saint-Barthélemy) you will find French food worthy of Paris. It’s home to more than seventy-five mostly extraordinary restaurants and dozens of fashion boutiques and art galleries. But the real draw is the beaches. Saline and Gouverneur have the best vistas; Shell Beach is perfect for watching the sunset.
The island is so small you could walk to most of them if it weren’t for the hilly landscape (like, San Francisco hilly), but that, too, is part of St. Bart’s appeal. Street signs are few and far between, so prepare to navigate narrow streets and winding roads based on vague directions from a bartender. In any other setting this might be frustrating, but there are worst places to get lost than St. Bart’s, and you’ll learn the lay of the land quickly.
When you arrive, start by heading over to the Sand Bar at Eden Rock for a midday ginger cocktail or Kiki-é Mo for a panini and mango smoothie before settling down in a plush sun bed at the legendary Nikki Beach. Repeat ever day as needed.