The capital of French Saint-Martin, lies between Simpson Bay Lagoon and the Caribbean sea. (‘Marigot’ is a French West Indian word meaning a spot from which rain water does not drain off, and forms marshy pools.)
Shopping is good. Boutiques offer French prêt-à-porter fashions and St-Barts batiks, and gift shops sell liqueurs, perfumes, and cosmetics at better duty-free prices than the Dutch side.
At the Marina Port La Royale complex there are chic shops, cafés and bistros where you can sit and watch the boats. Rue de la République and rue de la Liberté also have good shopping with fashion names at prices below those of Europe or the USA.
Marigot has a large crop of art galleries, including Camaïeu on rue Kennedy, Espace Expo Marina Royale, Galerie Valentin at 117 Les Amandiers, Galeries Gingerbread and Mahogany at the Marina Royale, Graffiti’s at Les Amandiers and Roland Richardson at Front de Mer.
A fruit market is held every morning in the market place next to Marigot harbour. It is best on Wednesday and Saturday. On the right hand side of the market place is the tourist office and taxi rank; also the only public toilet on the French side. From here it is a 10-minute walk to Fort St Louis (restored 1994) overlooking Marigot Bay and Marigot. Follow the signs from the tourist office.
On the waterfront the historical and archaeological Museum ‘On the trail of the Arawaks’, has a well-presented exhibition from the first settlers of Saint-Martin around 3500 BC to 1960. 0900-1300, 1500-1830, Mon-Sat, T292284, may open longer during high season. Price - US$5 (US$2 children).