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Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Chicagoland
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Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

My wife and myself enjoy pool time, beach time and food time, but we also enjoy visiting countries and seeing cultural, historic, and architectural sites unique to our vacation destination. Are there specific sites or locations on St. Barts that are fun to visit or walk around for a few hours to gain a sense of St. Barts' culture or architecture? What villages would be interesting to visit to see how the locals live and where they go to school or to church?

What other islands provide a unique cultural experience that have interesting historic sites as well as nice restaurants, beaches, and snorkeling. I am also considering Nevis and Anguilla...though I understand that there is not much to see in terms of villages or historic sites on Anguilla. Curacao is supposed to an interesting island for historic sites. Martinique? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

St. Barth's-would look at the Museum next to Wall House. Takes about 1/2 hour but I learned a lot about the history of St. Barth's. There is also a Shell Museum in Corossol-very local area.

But what St. Barth's is famous for is the beauty of the island. I would check out as many beaches as possible- including Colombier where you need to hike for about 20 minutes on a goat path-only other way to get to this beach is by boat. There are natural water pools in Grand Fond.

St. Barth's is also famous for its shopping (tax-free) and dining (drool).

Someone asked my what I did that day...I said nothing...but it took all day!

This is a recharge your batteries island, not run and do island.

NY
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2. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

There is a good book on the swedish past of Saint Barth and its influence on architecture. Try to find it in local book stores. You can walk around Gustavia and look at the architecture of houses that correspond to the various periods. Through the process, you will learn a good deal about life in the carribean in years past.

NY
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3. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Note that Saint Barth has always been a small island with a very small, rural population. So no major historic sites, no great battles, no great statesmen nor world famous artists, no Culture with a big C originating from there. But understanding the life of simple people in that part of the world can be quite interesting. It does offer a window on the carribean as a whole, and on the way these islands and their residents trembled when the great powers sneezed.

NY
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4. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

To see local life, you can walk around any village. It is everywhere and it is very french. Gustavia (near the schools). Lorient, Corossol, all will give you a glimpse of Saint Barth life. Early morning is best, when tourists aren't up yet, and when parents are doing their early errands at the bakery and driving their kids to school.

Corossol has the reputation of being the most "traditional" village. Some years ago, you could still see old ladies wearing needlepoint hats and weaving straw, but these have pretty much gone now.

Pittsburgh...
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5. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Agree with the Wall House Museum in Gustavia, Shell Museum in Corossol (wear bug repellant and prepare to be amazed by the collection) and strolling around Gustavia. Check out the churches, houses, etc. Also as noted above, some days you will find women selling woven items in Corossol. They are very pretty, unique to the island and make nice souvenirs.

Chicagoland
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6. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Thank you all for your responses. Just what I wanted to know. It sounds like walking around Gustavia and some of the other villages would just be a fine way to get to know the St. Barth culture and architecture. Are the year-round residents predominately from European descent? Are there unique festivities or holidays that you would recommend trying to catch if we can schedule our time on the island right?

NY
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7. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Yes, residents are descendents of fishermen who immegrated from Normandy and Brittany in France a few centuries ago. Because the island is too small and too hilly, there was never a plantation economy, so there was no slavery on the island. The natives are therefore mostly of European descent. Also today, a large part of the resident population has comes straight from France in the last 20-30 years, either on a temporary or permanent basis. (Saint Barth is a part of France as Hawaii is a part of the US),

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

Well, there is the Anglican church....

There have been some well known artists on the island, but most of them have moved or are no longer with us. Jean Yves Froment, who did beautiful block print fabrics and tiles; David ____ (Im blanking on the last name - he did beautiful abstract paintings on silk before he died - I have a few of his scarves I wont wear to preserve them) and Pompee. Not sure if he is still around. There are still quite a few active, productive artists on the island - look for notices of vernisages (openings).

A # of residents are also expat Americans. A lot of the original inhabitants of the island were also Swedish and there is a small Swedish population still on the island.

suitcaseready.com

Edited: 5:51 pm, March 31, 2013
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9. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

I still have the sarong I bought from Jean Yves' studio (I keep it for sentimental reasons, but it has not gotten softer with age, as I had hoped), as well as a beautiful colibri (hummingbird) trivet, which is blue drawing on a white tile, inset into a teak frame. In my mind's eye I can still see the sign for his studio, on the 2nd floor of one of the wooden buildings in Gustavia.......

Is it my imagination, or was the restuarant La Langouste originally on the first floor of that building???

10. Re: Cultural attractions on St. Barts?

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