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Saint-Barthélemy is a French island located in the Caribbean among the Leeward Islands. Its land area is 21.0 km² (8.1 sq. miles). Administratively, the whole island of Saint-Barthélemy is a French Overseas Collectivity, until recently part of Guadeloupe and is part of the European Union. The island is also known as St Barts, Saint Barths, or Saint Barth. St Barts has long been considered a playground of the rich and famous and is known for its beautiful pristine beaches, gourmet dining in chic restaurants and high-end designer shopping. There is one small airport that can only accommodate small prop planes from St Martin and San Juan, and the harbor is too small to accommodate cruise ships. The fact that it is hard to get to is part of the island's appeal. Singer Jimmy Buffett is a frequent visitor on the island, and owns a house there. He also owned a hotel, the Autor de Rocher, which burned down in the early '80s. David Letterman and Steve Martin also own property on the island, as well as the French singing star Johnny Hallyday. Noteworthy annual events include New Years, Carnival in February, The Bucket in late March (a sailing event featuring the largest sailing yachts in the world), and Bastille Day. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in St. Barthelemy
- The capital city of Gustavia
- Tropical birds around the salt ponds of Anse de Grande Saline.
- Ruins of forts built by the Swedes in the 18th century.
About St. Barthelemy
Oddly enough for a Caribbean island, the population is nearly entirely of European ancestry.
Having massacred the native Arawaks in the 17th century, the French population, originating from Normandy and Brittany, is one of the oldest in the Caribbean.
There was a minimal slave population on the island due to the lack of agricultural opportunities as the island is principally cliffs and hills and has no rivers or springs.
There are no official statistics but the "native" St Barths, known simply as "St Barths" make up around 30% of the population and have a distinct culture and manner of speech that distinguishes them from the more recent Metropolitain French arrivals.
The island has changed hands several times over the centuries, belonging to Sweden from the late 18th to late 19th century, after they swapped it for some warehouses with the French.
As part of the Treaty with Sweden, St Barts (currently) pays no taxes.
It is very Gallic in flavour now, and English is widely spoken as the island is frequently visited by the wealthier end of the World's demographic.
St Barts Weddings
To get married on St Barts, one of the couple has to have been resident on the island for a month.
As such the majority of "weddings" held on the island are in fact blessings, carried out either by the Anglican or one of the Catholic Ministers. Blessings for other faiths and secular celebrations can also be organised at a range of locations.
Be prepared to spend . . . everything is imported (except fish) and it is reflected in the prices.
The Euro is the official currency, although US Dollars are widely accepted.
The hotels, villas, and restaurants are generally not on the "package tour" plans, so deals are scarce - if available at all in High Season.
The Christmas/New Year period is Peak-Season when the Jet and Mega-Yacht set come to the island.
The High Season runs from mid December to mid April, and many Low Season deals are available with significant discounts on hotel and villa accommodation as well as car rentals.
Meals are wonderful, and a number of restaurants will let two people out for under $100.00 for an essentially basic meal (two entrees, a bottle of wine, and a salad or dessert or two.)
Budget hotel accommodation is available, as well as reasonably priced villas and apartments. However the island does specialise in high end tourism, and the island has some of the best hotels in the Caribbean.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Saint-Barthélemy on Wikivoyage.