Saint-Martin: Day One
I had to be patient for quite a while, but I finally went on a real holiday again this year! Destination: the dreamy island of Saint-Martin, located in the Caribbean sea. I couldn’t even wait till I get home to share all the amazing things this island has to offer, so I wrote this first post straight from The Friendly Island on the Caribbean!
Just so you know, I was invited by the tourist office to discover the hidden gems of Saint-Martin. Although this place is a total dream, I never even dreamt of coming here before since I knew little to nothing about its existence. I do now though, and I can’t wait to go back! The island is the perfect mix of French x Caribbean style, has the best beaches and amazing blue sea, friendly people and let’s not forget a very pleasant weather forecast of around 30° all year round!
The journey to Saint-Martin started in Paris, where we boarded a plane to SXM from Orly Airport. It took us 9 hours in the sky to get here, and Air Caraïbes was the perfect means of transportation. Chilling in the VIP lounge waiting to board the plane, the super comfortable business class ‘Madras’, some of the best inflight meals I’ve ever tasted and friendly staff that cater to your every need. I could definitely travel around the globe in these conditions!
After a perfect flight – we didn’t even noticed we had landed! – we checked into our hotel, the exquisite Le Marquis on top of Pigeon Pea Hill in Anse-Marcel. It’s a lovely hotel if you’re seeking peace, relaxation and comfort. It is however located on a hill and not near the beach which is something to keep in mind. You will need to rent a car to discover the island, which we did and which I loved. There’s something so cool about driving around a brand new city, and even more so when the place is across the globe and as beautiful as Saint-Martin!
The first day started out in a rather audacious way, with a full on surfing lesson! The fact that I’ve never surfed before mixed with my very real fear of big amounts of water made me a little bit (read: a LOT) afraid – luckily our teacher Jean-Sébastien was the perfect teacher, both encouraging and patient. I found myself frantically paddling back towards the boat sooner than expected, but at least I tried taking on a wave. In between holding on to my board and seeing my life flash before my eyes with every wave that passed by, I kind of enjoyed the peace and quiet of the ocean. My fears aside, I can totally see the appeal of surfing. And surfers, but that’s a whole other thing.
Place: Windy Reef on Le Galion beach
Do: take a surf lesson with pro Jean-Séb, or try paddle boarding or canoeing.
Now totally transformed into bonafide surf chicks with beach waves and a sunkissed skin, we head towards the beach of Orient Bay for food, drinks and a dip in the ocean. I’ll probably repeat myself in the next few posts, but the food of Saint-Martin is SO GOOD. Everything we ordered everywhere was delicious and Instagram-worthy! After our tuna salad we finally went for our first chill-out session on Orient Beach. White sand, clear blue sea = a dream! Go there to experience the true couleur local, funky atmosphere and friendly staff.
Place: Orient Bay Beach
Order: the frozen Bellini + Seared Tuna Salad
The sun sets quickly in Saint-Martin this time of year, so the days are rather short but sweet. It’s dark around 6, the perfect time to watch the sun set, drive to the hotel and get ready for the night. We go to Grand-Casse and into a local Lolo’s. Lolo’s are typical Caribbean diners that offer a variety of food, often cooked on the outside grill.
Place: Talk of the Town in Grand-Casse
Try: the mixed grill platter, straight off the BBQ.
Still struggling with the jetlag a bit, we head back to Pigeon Pea Hill for some much-needed rest in our Le Marquis beds. New island impressions await us in the morning.
To be continued.
To see my social media updates about this trip, check the hashtags #rendezvousenfrance and #frenchoverseasawards on my instagram!