St Maarten has no shortage of upscale shops jostling for the tourist dollar (or euro, or yen). But a more authentic experience awaits you on Wednesday and Friday mornings when the market sets up in Marigot, the French "capital". Fishermen bring their haul here in the early hours, and are later joined by fruit and vegetable sellers as well as spice vendors, filling the air with heady tropical scents.
If you’re after less perishable keepsakes, local artisans sell jewelry and small decorative items, and you can stock up on hats, t-shirts and anything else you forgot to pack. Color schemes tend towards the carnivalesque, but when in Rome…
After a morning’s shopping, retire to one of Marigot’s charming French cafes to review your spoils.
Marigot is the largest town in the French part of St Maarten. It's located on the west coast, 15 minutes’ drive from the main Princess Juliana Airport, even less to the short-haul L’Espérance. The market takes place on Marigot's waterfront, near historic Fort St. Louis.