Shopping in St. Barthelemy
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St. Barthelemy Shopping
St. Barth is a duty-free port, and with its sophisticated crowd of visitors, shopping in the island's 200-plus boutiques is a definite delight, especially for beachwear, accessories, jewelry, and casual wear. It would be no overstatement to say that shopping for fashionable clothing, jewels, and designer accessories is better in St. Barth than anywhere else in the Caribbean. New shops open all the time, so there's always something new to discover. Stores close for lunch from noon to 3, and many on Wednesday afternoon as well, but they are open until 7 in the evening. A popular afternoon pastime is strolling about the two major shopping areas in Gustavia and St-Jean.
In Gustavia, boutiques line the three major shopping streets. Quai de la République, which is right on the harbor, rivals New York's Madison Avenue or Paris's avenue Montaigne for high-end designer retail, including shops for Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, and Hermès. These shops often carry items that are not available in the United States. The elegant Carré d'Or plaza is great fun to explore. Shops are also clustered in La Savane Commercial Center (across from the airport), La Villa Créole (in St-Jean), and Espace Neptune (on the road to Lorient). It's worth working your way from one end to the other at these shopping complexes—just to see or, perhaps, be seen. Boutiques in all three areas carry the latest in French and Italian sportswear and some haute couture. Bargains may be tough to come by, but you might be able to snag that Birkin that has a long waiting-list stateside, and in any case, you'll have a lot of fun hunting around.
Shopping for up-to-the-minute fashions is as much a part of a visit to St. Barth as going to the beach. Shops change all the time, both in ownership and in the lines that are carried. Current listings are just a general guide. The best advice is simply to go for a long stroll in the late afternoon and check out all the shops on the way.
If you are looking for locally made art and handicrafts, call the tourist office, which can provide information, and arrange visits to the studios of some of the island artists, including Christian Bretoneiche, Robert Danet, Nathalie Daniel, Patricia Guyot, Rose Lemen, Aline de Lurin, and Marion Vinot. A few good gallery/craft boutiques are also scattered around Gustavia, and the larger hotels.
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