Vance and Sharon ...

This was our eleventh trip to the Caribbean and our 2nd trip to St Barth’s. Our first trip to St Barth’s was a hotel stay but after doing some research we decided that a villa stay might be a better value. 

The villa we chose was Flamands Blue. The owner Jeff is based out of the U.S. and spends a lot of energy keeping the villa in excellent shape. The villa is managed locally by Cedric (aka Mister Manager) and kept clean and comfortable by Valerianne (Housekeeper.) Both took excellent care of us. 

As a side note Jeff also assisted us with rental car reservations as part of the Villa rental.

The villa is well equipped (great kitchen) and has a clean interior that does not overwhelm you with the sense that you are in someone else’s home. 

The photo above was taken from Flamands Blue so you can see the view is outstanding!

The villa is very close to a bakery called La Petite Colombe. For us this was critical because while vacationing we depend on big breakfasts and all day long snacking to get us to dinner. Anything that we did not get at the bakery we purchased from the Superette or Match which are both by the airport relatively close to the villa (5 min. drive tops)

Our breakfasts consisted of mimosas, Jamaican Blue mountain coffee, Artisan breads and fresh eggs. 

Its funny how the simple things seem to taste better on the island. I picked up some butter (pictured in the collage above) that was fantastic. Snacks were simple, too. We purchased bread from the bakery and cheese from the Superette (the cumin gouda is extra tasty). We felt that the Superette had a better selection of cheese than Match. Match was better for wine and beer. Another nice surprise was that the olive oil seemed fresher. It might be that this stuff moves off the shelf a lot quicker here than at home. We made several snacks that were nothing more than olive oil, a drop or two of red wine vinegar and bread with cheese.

We also tried a frozen pizza from the grocery store. It’s funny that even the frozen pizza seemed to come out better here. The pizza I cooked almost looked like the picture on the box. Man, I almost never can get it to do that at home! Maybe it was Jeff’s convection oven?? Yeah, I liked the kitchen in Flamands Blue a lot. I’m 6 foot 4 and the counters were about the right height for me. The kitchen is equipped with everything one could need for snacks and complete meals. We are beach enthusiasts and we felt that preparing our own meals would leave us more time for the beach.

Ahh, La Plage. 

St Jean……

We also tried a frozen pizza from the grocery store. It’s funny that even the frozen pizza seemed to come out better here. The pizza I cooked almost looked like the picture on the box. Man, I almost never can get it to do that at home! Maybe it was Jeff’s convection oven?? Yeah, I liked the kitchen in Flamands Blue a lot. I’m 6 foot 4 and the counters were about the right height for me. The kitchen is equipped with everything one could need for snacks and complete meals. We are beach enthusiasts and we felt that preparing our own meals would leave us more time for the beach.

Ahh, La Plage. 

St Jean……

For such a tiny island, St Barth’s is blessed with many wonderful beaches. That’s me ‘Vance’ in the photo above. Sharon is my better half and is pictured on St Jeans Beach below. 

Bit of beach advice in addition to the sunscreen and etc.. If you are spending a lot of time on the beach be sure to get some descent sunglasses (100% UVA, UVB.) I have sun burned my eyes so many times an optometrist asked me if I am a professional welder. A hat and or baseball cap is a good idea too. 

My very sweet beach pal Sharon on St Jeans Beach.

We visited St Jean beach and hung out on the side of the runway to catch the planes taking off.

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In our beach tour we enjoyed lots of beach snacks and refreshments. In regards to refreshments our favorite Caribbean Lager/Pilsner style beer so far has been the Dominican beer Presidente. Carib (Tobago I think) gets an honorable mention and is surprisingly good in spite of its clear bottle (light affects the taste of beer). If you appreciate Stout Beer Ceres (Denmark) is worth a try and is available at Match. Trois Rivieres Rum (Martinique) goes real well with Coke Zero. I did not keep track of the wines we had but everything we bought from Match was good and priced affordably.

We visited Gouverneur Beach in the later half of our stay. Overall, this was Sharon’s favorite beach in regards to beauty. I still rank Flamands higher because I like laying out on the sand and seeing the beautiful islands in the distance. I guess beaches are subjective like anything else. One thing is for sure, you won’t find any ugly beaches on this island. 

Flamands.....

Flamands Beach is easily accessible from Flamands Blue as it is just a short walk down the hill. Sharon and I would generally buy a couple of Caribs from La Langouste (Baie de Anges Hotel) and access the beach from there. 

Colombier Beach.....

Colombier beach is a must see but requires a 20 minute hike from Flamands.

The trail is a bit rocky so wear some good sandals or tennis shoes. It is worth the work because the views are as amazing as the beach.

 

At the end of the hike you are rewarded with the beautiful sands of Colombier beach.

We took some pizza and drinks in a soft sided cooler for a picnic on the beach. One thing worth noting is that this is one of several beaches that you could see someone drop their shorts and head for the water. I personally think that we are all built with the same equipment so it should never be an issue - in fact I think it’s a shame that we are raised to even give it a second thought but there it is if you have an aversion to it.

We did do some other things other than beaches.

Gustavia.....

This is the main city of St Barth’s. I doubt that the layout has changed much in the last 100 years.

Sharon was really eager to shop at Calypso and LIGNE St Barth’s. I was anxious to get a hamburger at Le Select so it all worked out for the best.

Sitting under that sign seemed like a good idea at the time unfortunately it proved to be really hot.

Le Select has a bar but don’t eat anything offensive prior to visiting. My understanding is that the rules are strictly enforced.

We also had some great dinners…

Jeff provided us with lots of insider information about the island. Although this was our second trip the information proved very helpful in deciding where we would go out to eat from day to day. At the time of this review I’m guessing there are about 80 + restaurants on an 8 square mile island so there is a lot to consider when going out to eat.

We ate at several places but the ones that we thought stood out were:.

La Langouste (walking distance from Flamands Blue)
Wishing Well (walking distance from Flamands Blue)
Eddies (Gustavia)
L’Entra’cte (Gustavia)
Chez Andy’s (St Jean)….This was probably the best in overall value for both food and service.

Be forewarned if you hand your camera to a waiter at Andy’s you might get some extra photos. This waiter was a real nice guy from the Champagne region of France. He said he came to the island on holiday seven years ago and stayed. My hats off to Andy’s for hiring such excellent waitstaff.

Sharon and I are enjoying tiramisu and generous amounts of complimentary Vanilla Rum. Andy’s also sells his Vanilla Rum by the bottle so we picked up a couple of bottles for the trip home. In retrospect I am not sure how legal it is to bring back someone’s homemade liquor thru customs but so far so good. Hey, we made it back without a strip search.

We also had a fantastic meal at Eddies in Gustavia. It’s a little tough to find but worth it.

These are the Chocolate Spring Rolls from Eddies. I’m from the South so Rule of Thumb is that anything chocolate wrapped in a tortilla and deep-fried is awesome. No exceptions here this was a great dessert. My overall impression of Eddie’s is that it has a light touch of Asian influence. As with many St Barth’s restaurants the complimentary Vanilla Rum came to the table at the end of the meal. Outstanding!! Note: At Eddie’s we were given a choice of vanilla, raspberry, and ginger rhum.

This vacation was too soon over.
Vance and Sharon. Houston TX.