The soul of St. Barts

via Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler has published a very interesting article about St. Barts in June 2010. A very emotional article from a journalist who *really* knows St. Barts and its specificities, its “soul”. Not the St Barth (I prefer The French term ;-) of the magazines and TV shows, the one we have also discovered the last years, and that make this destination so unique. No show off, back to the roots.


Some abstracts:

And over the years, I have discovered a parallel, private universe on St. Barts, a completely different world from the one you see splashed all over the pages of magazines. […]

I remember the local vicar, Charles Vere Nicholl, saying years ago that St. Barts was more like a village in Provence than an island in the Caribbean, and he was right. Geezers playing pétanque, pastis, baguettes, Jacques Brel on the radio, every Peter Mayle cliché, but delivered without any of the stuffy uptightness of the mainland French. Imagine the laid-back, barefoot, sixties, hippie-ish spirit, what the French call décontracté, served up with just the right amount of impeccable taste, good food, and ridiculous attention to quality—perfection, non? […]

The stain of slavery, the sense that something truly evil happened, the seething resentment of injustice, is something you can still smell on other Caribbean islands but never on St. Barts. Here, the lingering darkness of history does not exist. […]

The island remains what it has always been—a place for libertines, hippies, and people who have inherited that early pirate spirit. "Except," noted Piter, "the hippies have grown up and smoke cigars now instead of joints." […]

One of the things I love most about St. Barts is the way the language weaves and flows with the division of the island. The windward quartiers (St. Jean, L’Orient) express themselves in a kind of Creole. The leeward side (sous le vent—places like Corossol and Public) speak patois. […]

The unadulterated joy and hope of our first trip had, over the years, been tempered by pain. The hope remained, strong as ever, and now some kind of wisdom had replaced the joy, which isn’t such a bad deal after all.