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Whenever you hear about St. Barts, it’s usually in connection with which celebrities are partying there. It’s definitely known as the island of the stars. Why is that? Well, it may be because of the island’s pristine beauty. And while it’s small, only eight square miles, there are a lot of hills, inlets, coves, beaches and tropical landscape packed into that space. Driving around the island, wherever you go, the villages are neat, houses are well-tended, roads are good (although narrow and winding), and even the cemeteries are beautiful. Then there are the hotels and villas. The hotels have been carefully planned to be small and precious, with an emphasis on exquisite service and a guarantee of privacy. The luxurious private villas outnumber the available hotel rooms and overlook the sparkling turquoise sea. The villas are self-contained residences with wait staff, pools, Jacuzzis, and home theaters – ideal for hiding from crowds of admirers and paparazzi. But wait, there are also the restaurants. The French heritage shines through loud and clear, and the fusion of French and Creole cuisines is offered in gorgeous settings. Even the plentiful beach restaurants turn the typical barbecue and burger fare into gourmet experiences. But the choices also include American favorites. After all, this is St. Barts and the watchword is: You want it? You got it. With its long history as a duty-free port, you know there are some bargains to be had. The shops in Gustavia and St. Jean offer couture clothing, accessories, jewelry and more. It’s Parisian shopping in paradise. And no doubt a big part of the allure comes from what the island doesn’t have – flashy casinos, high-rise hotels and crowded beaches. The real draw of St. Barts, whether you are rich or poor, is the chance to enjoy the ambiance and character of France in a tropical setting. The island is part of Guadeloupe, a department of France, the official language is French, the electrical current is 220 and the official form of money is the euro. There is a distinctly European feel to the entire island that combines with island nuances for a unique cross-cultural experience. Here is a unique guide to the island, excerpted from our complete guide to all of the Leeward Islands, complete with maps and photographs. Where to stay, where to dine, what to do - everything is covered in detail.
- June 07, 2014 Initial release