Saint Barthélemy, St. Barts, St. Barths: Caribbean's Ultra Smart Set

Gus Franklyn-Bute Editor-in-Chief

There is a predisposition of the English-speaking Caribbean to be aphotic towards the non-English speaking Caribbean – a characterisation manifest in culture, lifestyle and cuisine.  And to say this is true only of ‘the average’ or the ‘less well-heeled’ would be fat lie and to go on the back foot to fend off this well-pointed yorker.  Indeed, any well-travelled Caribbean luxury lifestyler would readily locate Paris, France on any world atlas (not that anyone uses these anymore), but would rather slinkily snap out their hottest smartphone and be tap tapping into their Google app when asked how to get to St. Barts.

Saint Barthélemy is a French overseas collectivitySaint-Barth  to French (attempt French annunciation here) and St. Barts or St. Barths in English.  As part of the French West Indies (others being Saint Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique), St. Barts as a volcanic island is about 22 km² (8.5 mi²) with population in the region of 8,900. It has a beautifully named capital, Gustavia.

Beyonce in a swimsuit in St Barts-03-560x545It is said that St. Barts is the only island in Caribbean once under Swedish colonial command for any significant period, and the island court of arms still carry the Three Crowns of the Swedish national arms.  French influence equals a language, cuisine and culture which are discernibly French.  Yet, St. Bart’s is a popular winter destination for the rich, famous and infamous. St. Barts reportedly received approximately 200,000 visitors annually, and is a jurisdiction where wealth is generated from international investment and affluent tourists – all this contributes to the island’s high standard of living, and is serviced and supported by an external labour force that popularly arrives from Portugal and Brazil.  When celebrities like Kate Moss, JayZ, Beyoncé, Roman Abramovich and Naomi Watts come visiting, it is important to have to best shopping any where in the Caribbean, by miles.

Indeed, Gustavia is the centre of commerce and with limited agricultural production, the majority of the food is imported from France and the US to satisfy the demands of its mainly North American high-end visitors who converge, often by 500 footer yachts to lazy and St. Bart’s beaches, or around the plunge pools of their high-end villas.

Notice, we did not give you St. Bart’s precise location. We really want to encourage you to find out a bit more about this Caribbean island.

Les Voiles de St Barth 2013, by Amory Ross


1 August, 2013