Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch part of Saint Martin (St. Maarten). There are two commercial streets (Front St. and Old St.), a port where major cruise ships disembark two millions passengers per year, a long beach, restaurants, administrative buildings, a post office and an university.
Philipsburg fills a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. Founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, it soon became a bustling center of international trade. The offer on Front St. is fabulous : tons of diamonds and other juwelleries, electronics (especially camcorders and digital cameras), clothes and beverages, all of them at very attractive prices (the island is a tax free zone and you can obtain excellent discounts).
Ceramique d'Art (Les Exotiques) by Marie Moine
This is an unique shop; the art ceramic creations of Marie Moine (hand made) are inspired by local people, traditions and landscapes.
The address is : 76, Rue de la Fibuste,
97150 Oyster Pond, Saint Martin.
Philipsburg, the Dutch Capital
After more than an hour walk, we decide it is time to go check out Philipsburg and those famous “sweet deals“ this duty-free part is supposed to offer you. Well… if you are not into alcohol, cigarettes or jewels, you might find it hard to find something worth bringing back. The prices for most goods are almost similar to the US, sometimes even more expansive but you don’t pay any taxes. One thing I did bring back was my favourite brand of Belgian chocolate which is impossible to find in the US so, I’m not complaining *s*. Apart from the Courthouse and an old church, Philipsburg is quite a bland town, sorry to say but strangely, the population is more mixed than the French side with Arabs, Indians, Blacks, Dutch, Americans, Latinos living there. The French side is more “white”. The Dutch side is livelier too and I wish I could’ve remained longer to see the stretch Along Simpson Lagoon coming alive at sunset. After our little walk, it was time to drop the car back and go back to the ship.
Terres Basses (Lowlands)
Terres Basses (Lowlands) is the name of the southwestern part of the French side. There are three superb beaches and a residential area (elegant villas, huge courtyards, superb palmtrees, many 4x4 vehicles ...)
Our St. Martin Trip 2005!
"From the beginning to the end..."
On November 11, 2005, my family and I flew to St. Martin. We decided to rent a villa instead of staying in a hotel. It was our first experience renting a villa. We booked through Villas Caribe, a 3rd party, who booked Villa Mirabelle. The pictures online were absolutely gorgeous and the price was outrageous. But we wanted to live it up for our family trip. The plane over was pretty bumpy and nerve racking. Finally, we arrived at Princess Juliana Airport. We searched for our driver, Peter, who greeted us smugly. We loaded into his van, as he drove us to Villa Mirabelle. Upon arrival we met our housekeeper, the lovely Agnus and the gardener/caretaker, Charles. Our first disappointment came as a bill for a grocery delivery. $14 per mango! We were severely overcharged by Peter. Trying to ignore it, we moved on. Before we moved our bags to our rooms, we were greeted by two medium sized dogs. We were not aware dogs lived at the property. Then I noticed the two dog beds, dog bowls, pee on the pool deck, and a curious dog sniffing my mother's bags. We asked Charles to tie the dogs downstairs as they usually were kept below. (We love our dogs at home, but not two unkempt dogs walking around a luxury villa we paid for!) After six requests, he became belligerent and we returned the favor. We called his boss at the rental company. An enraged caretaker stomped off to his loft below the hill of the property. We received a bitter call from the owner of the villa. She informed us, if things were that bad, we should just leave. The dogs weren't the only problem we encountered though. The owners, from New York, left their personal belongings in the cabinets. Things like their toothbrush, medications, Christmas presents, and other hygiene products were left in the house. A number of things were broken on the property, the shower drain, door locks to each room, and beverage cooler. On the last night, I had to abandon my room due to a sewage smell coming from the closet. (Go figure!) And for some reason, Charles' felt he had the authority to walk across the pool deck, through the main house, and use the front door as he pleased! He even allowed his cousin to wash his car in the car loop after we were there no more than 2 hours! Also, this villa sits on Simpson Bay Lagoon, my family was eaten alive by the mosquitos. Anyhow, we took the owner's advice and left this villa. Packing our rental blindly accepting what was available. After months of planning, our careful plans meant absolutely nothing. We wanted to stay and be thankful for being fortunate enough to stay at Mirabelle. However, the thought of an angry man walking around with garden tools at night or during the day was not good for safety. As we waited for the rental manager, we got a final surprise from Charles. We were sitting in our jeep. I was holding a trash bag filled with perishable grocery. We heard a chain rustling and there standing at the front door were one of the owners' dogs. The other dog wrapped himself around the beautiful columns of the villa tying itself into a knot. It was then we knew we made the right choice. The rental company moved us to Terrase de Mar, a much better villa. No bugs, no loose dogs, no angry gardeners, just peace with a dynamite ocean view. The first two days sucked in St. Martin but the last five were priceless.