The Island of St. Martin
Located 18.5 North and 63.5 West, in the heart of the Caribbean, this small island shared between
the French and the Dutch has been a prestigious tourist haven for years. The total surface of the island is
37 square miles, 21 for the French side, and 16 for the Dutch side. There are approximately 35 000
inhabitants on each side of the island, and 82 nationalities are represented. The capital of the Dutch side
is Philipsburg and the capital of the French side is Marigot.
There is no real border seperating the two sides and people cross back and forth without ever realizing they are entering a new country. Theare only several small markers testifying to centuries of peaceful cohabitation and the treaty that made the arrangement possible.
Yet each side has managed to retain much of the distinctiveness of its own national culture. French St. Martin tends to emphasize comfort and elegance. The beaches are secluded and the restaurants offer some of the finest dining experiences anywhere in the Caribbean. The latest French fashions can be found in many of the shops. Small cafés and charming bistros add a decidedly cosmopolitan flair to the place. On the whole the atmosphere remains very relaxed.