It's not quite as cosmopolitan as Martinique, nor is it the royalty and rock-star magnet that is chic St Barth - nevertheless, St. Martin has fine French restaurants, European-inspired duty-free shops and glorious beaches.
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This beautiful resort is set on a pristine beach in the picturesque cove of Anse Marcel.
St-Martin Archaeological MuseumThis museum covers everything from the Arawak period to island fashion in the 1930s, and features period photography, historical displays and artifacts from the pre-Colombian period.
Butterfly FarmThe farm's mesh-encased outdoor museum is as practical as it is magical. Learn about chrysalis stages, watch how cocoons form, or just giggle as butterflies, drunk on nectar, flit around giant plants and a forested canopy. You can visit as often as you like on one ticket.
Fort LouisFort Louis was constructed in 1767 by order of French King Louis XVI to protect Marigot from marauding British and Dutch pirates. It’s been abandoned for centuries and contains only remnants from bygone eras, but the view alone is worth the 15-minute hike up to the ruins.
The French pre-Lenten Carnival, although not as large as Dutch Sint Maarten's, is held with gusto and ceremony. Taking place in the five days before Ash Wednesday in Feb/March, the festivities feature the crowning of a Carnival Queen, costume parades, dancing and music. Naturally, July's Bastille Day is celebrated with typical Gallic fervour, and features a parade, sporting events and fireworks. November's Concordia Day, named 'Sint Maarten Day' by the more proprietary Dutch, marks the amicable coexistence of the two countries, but the sombre ceremony has less appeal to travellers than Carnival. Come March, the annual Heineken Regatta sees a multitude of boats out on the water, while in June fishers fall hook, line and sinker for the Marlin Open de St Martin invitational tournament.
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