A Creole Lunch in Baie Nettlé

Marigot Bay is huge. It is so big that specific parts of the bay have different names. The center bit, where our apartment is located, is Marigot Bay proper. On Thursday, we drove West over the bridge that allows boats to enter Simpson Bay Lagoon “from the ocean” … or should that read “from the Caribbean Sea”? The little township on the other side of the bridge is called Sandy Ground. This township is located on Baie Nettlé (or Nettle Bay), which is a more Westerly part of Marigot Bay.

Nettle Bay stretches for several kilometers beyond Sandy Ground, all the way to “Anse des Sables” (or Sandy Cove). “Anse des Sables” just happens to be the name of “our” apartment-building in Marigot … all of which gets just a bit confusing! Eventually, Marigot Bay ends at a rocky headland called La Belle Créole. As I said, it is enormous. If you are interested, you can easily find all these places on Google Maps. When I was doing my research on the web, I seriously considered renting a place on the Nettle Bay section of Marigot Bay. There are several good-looking options here …

On the Simpson Bay Lagoon side of the road is an enormous holiday-condo complex called Le Flamboyant, adjacent to the Mercure Saint Martin Hôtel. The grounds of Le Flamboyant are beautifully landscaped. But there is no “surf-side beach”, just a made-to-order beach on the lagoon.

On the ocean side, opposite Le Flamboyant, is an even bigger holiday-condo complex called the Nettle Bay Beach Club. Here, five swimming pools are strung out in a row between the beach and the road. There are from six to twelve quite posh-looking little cabins round each pool and it looks as though all these cabins must have a great view out across the swimming pools to the sea and to Anguilla beyond.

Are you familiar with “Google Earth”? This is quite separate from Google Maps and is based on satellite photos. It provides pretty amazing detail. If you zoom in on Nettle Bay, you can easily see the five swimming pools and the buildings between the swimming pools and “Rue de Sandy Ground”, which is the only road running down the middle of this spit of land.

But in the end, we decided that we wanted to rent a place within walking distance of Marigot town. Nettle Bay is several kilometers from Marigot … most definitely not walkable. On another visit, an apartment at the Nettle Bay Beach Club, plus a car, would be a pretty nice alternative.

There are three beach restaurants immediately to the West of the Nettle Bay Beach Club. We had lunch at the “Ma Ti Beach Bar and Restaurant” which is situated right next door to the Nettle Bay Beach Club …

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This restaurant is so close to the beach club that a family of five walked in while we were having a before-lunch drink. The “Ma Ti” is also the most “creole” of these three restaurants. We chose a sampler platter of typical creole dishes and, while they were perfectly pleasant, we had hoped for more spice than was used in these dishes. Generally, Caribbean dishes tend to be less spicy than we expect.

A “first” for us was a dish of stuffed Christophene, called Chayote in Mexico and called a dozen different names around the globe. It is basically a squash and, while it was perfectly pleasant, we will not go searching for it in future.

Right next door to “Ma Ti” is the “Dreams” Beach Bar Restaurant and then “Le Sand”. All three places provide beach lounge chairs and will happily serve you drinks either on the beach or in their various open-air bars and seating areas. “Le Sand” appears to be the poshest of the three, with Black Angus steaks offered at eighty Euros and up. The menu at “Dreams” offers mainly sushi and pizzas. We walked back to our car though “Dreams” and the place was very busy at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon …

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