Guadeloupe, an island group in the Southern Caribbean Sea and part of the French territory is my new favorite island in the Caribbean. It’s French, it’s chic and it is Oh La La-Gorgeous. Just the fact that the two main islands together resemble a butterfly should be enough a reason to visit. The group consists of the two larger islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre and smaller islands Marie Galante and La Désirade as well as some smaller formations off the coast. But for the sake of easy writing (and also because I did not get to explore the smaller islands on this trip) I will refer to the two main islands when speaking of Guadeloupe or “Gwada” like the locals call it.
Happy Bastille Day! The 14th of July or Le Quatorze Juillet is a pivotal part of the French Revolution and thus French history that has developed into the Fête Nationale Francaise or the French National Day. It is celebrated with military parades, various activities, lots of food and gorgeous fireworks displays in Paris and all over France, and the French territories in the Caribbean are no exception.
This was my first Bastille Day celebration on French St. Martin. I am usually away around this time of year but was quite excited to finally be home to witness the activities and document how this day is celebrated the creole way.
It is known as the winter playground of the rich and famous. Words like chic, luxury, celebrities, expensive are all associated with it. Of course I’m talking about the ever elegant St. Barth, an 8.1 square mile island in the French Caribbean.
I visited St. Barth recently for a weekend and was curious to see what it would be like in the summer months, also known as the dreaded low season. If you’re planning to do some celebrity gawking and taking selfies with luxury yachts in the background, then this is not the right time for you to go. The rich and famous all flock to places like Monaco and Cannes in the summer, leaving this little French paradise almost deserted and mostly tranquil. But this is when you see the real St Barth.
La Belle Creole was a long time dream of Claudius Charles Philippe, the once general manager of the famous Waldorf-Astoria and a man obsessed with luxury, who had a vision of building a little French hideaway on a French St. Martin peninsula. A dream that unfortunately was tangled in a nasty financial web right from the start, when shortly after construction started it ran into money trouble, which eventually halted the project for several years until it was picked up again by other investors.
Oh La La, St. Barth, playground of the rich and famous.
This beautiful French island lies in close proximity to St. Maarten, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. With the demand for St. Barth being quite high, especially around Christmas and New Year, there are several ferries leaving daily from different parts of St. Maarten. The reasons for visiting for the day are mostly the same; the ever so popular Plage de St. Jean, home to the infamous Nikki Beach, celebrity spotting and not to forget shopping, or at least window shopping if you’re like me and on a tight budget.