Marigot is the capital city of the French side of the island of Saint Martin. In fact, I think it is the only city on the French side. The only other town of any size on the French side of the island is Grand Case, a few kilometers further north. (Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side of the island.)
The island geography squeezes “downtown Marigot” into a tiny area, jammed between the ocean-front, the mountains and the enormous expanse of Simpson Bay. The one-and-only road that circles the entire island manages to split into two at Marigot, one route heading towards Princess Juliana Airport while the other route meanders down the narrow strip of land (on the right of this photo) that separates Simpson Bay from the ocean.
All traffic forces its way through Marigot’s narrow streets. Twice a week, there is a bustling, popular and colorful open-air market on the waterfront. So on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the city is even more full of people … and cars … than normally.
Marigot belongs to the locals. The big cruise ships dock in Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of the island and there is not a single “tourist hotel” in Marigot. There is a bustling waterfront, with dozens of small ferries each day to and from Anguilla. And there are two marinas. But the best beaches are elsewhere on the island and that is where most tourists go and stay.
But we like the look and feel of the town. So for this trip, we have decided that we will spend most of our time on Saint Martin within walking distance of the heart of Marigot. We managed to find an apartment just a few minutes walk from downtown with views out over the ocean to Anguilla. I plan to describe this apartment in a later blog-post.
We will be staying here for eight nights, before catching the ferry to Anguilla. The apartment building has a nice looking pool and also provides access to the local, rather narrow, beach.
Our plan is to hang out in the apartment … and by the pool … and spend our days strolling round town visiting the market and various bars and restaurants. I have a list of thirty restaurants … for just eight days! We will rent a car for a few days, which will let us visit the more popular beaches on other parts of the island. In light traffic, you can circle the entire island in just a few hours … but that would be a pretty silly thing to do … 🙂