Caribbean Cruising '23: Saint Martin (French Side)

Suzanna Pinder on 09 March 2023
Having sailed from the bustling Dutch side of Sint Marteen into the calmer French side of Saint Martin, we were amazing how different the two sides of one island can be.

Grand Case on the northern coast is known as the gastronomic capital of the island. The small town runs along a beautiful long sandy beach, with a cute high street dotted with small shops, bars and restaurants catering for all tastes, from huts with large BBQ’s and big fridges of beer to gastronomic French extravagance and fine dining. Seafood is pretty popular, with many of the restaurants showcasing tanks with quite possibly the biggest lobsters I have ever seen!

During the day the beach clubs are the places to be seen. Sun beds and cabanas dot the shore for relaxing, with cool tunes playing and cold drinks on tap. As evening falls the main street comes alive, locals parade and maitre d’s tempt in diners. Once a week they apparently close the road for an informal street party, with musicians and vendors creating a wonderful party atmosphere.

Saint Martin unfortunately suffered terrible Hurricane damage in 2017 and whilst the locals have obviously worked hard to rebuild their community, in Grand Case in particular, there are still a number of damaged buildings. However, to give hope to anyone still struggling, many of these buildings have been decorated with funky street art, a local told us to show those less fortunate support. It also gives the town a wonderful cool vibe.

I really enjoyed our time in Saint Martin / Sint Marteen and would like to return to explore further. It would make a great multi centre holiday, splitting time between both the French and Dutch sides, with their contrasting differences.

This article was published as part of a series ‘Caribbean Cruising 2023’.

Next article ‘Anguilla’.