Saint Martin 2019: Part 6 - Le Galion Beach and Marigot
Le Galion is our favorite beach on Saint Martin. Long ago, on our second trip to Saint Martin when I asked around what the calmest beach was somebody told me it was Le Galion. They also gave us an impression that it was an unsightly beach with a lot of seaweed.
As soon as we arrived at the beach we fell in love. Yes there was some seaweed but there were also a lot of patches of clear shallow calm water. I was so happy! My husband and I also relished the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere on the beach. Pat Turner’s the Tropical Wave beach restaurant served simple but quite good food which was also reasonable.
For all these reasons we used to go to Le Galion every day from morning till late afternoon on every trip to the island. Staff members started recognizing us when we returned a few years in a row.
For a while it seemed like it was somewhat of an undiscovered beach. It was never crowded. Only in 2014-2016 there were days when people from cruise ships would show up on Le Galion and it would feel strangely crowded. We still had great time there.
After hurricane Irma, reading about the state and the progress of Saint Martin became an almost daily habit of mine. When the list of the beaches declared safe for swimming was announced I was unpleasantly surprised that Le Galion wasn’t on the list.
On our trip this year we drove to Le Galion to check it out in the morning on our way to Pinel Island.
It warmed our hearts to see the familiar sight opening up on the way to the beach.
Then came the shock of seeing the empty beach. The palms still looked bent. There used to be a sand volleyball court there.
It was heartbreaking to see our favorite beach in such a state. The grasses started growing over the sand.
There was only a narrow strip of land separating the sea water from salt ponds.
After the initial shock it felt sort of peaceful being there. There were only a couple of other tourists on the beach who had brought chairs and were going to spend the day.
The second time we stopped by Le Galion was on Sunday which was always a day when a lot of locals used to come to the beach to enjoy a day of barbecue, swimming and listening to music.
We found Le Galion much more cheerful on Sunday. There were many cars parked by the beach and folks set up their tents and grills and blasted bachata and reggaeton the way it used to be in the past. I like latin music and I used to dance salsa and chachacha, so I couldn’t help myself but dance for a few minutes.
LIke many times in the past we walked along the beach. There was seaweed but not so much like it was on Orient beach this time around. Towards the south end of Le Galion there were few windsurfers.
Kids were having fun running around in the water.
It was interesting to look around especially in the sand, there was a great amount of shells which we’ve never seen on Le Galion before.
I had to go for a swim but that didn’t work so well. Brian found and picked up a handful of broken glass along the edge of the water. I was stressed out the whole time I was in the water as I was afraid I would step on the glass every time I had to stand to rest. So my swim wasn’t as joyful as it normally would have been.
Here are some photos of Le Galion beach that I took during my previous trips in it’s happier times before the hurricane.
The Tropical Wave beach bar and restaurant had simple yet inviting structure. We would run under it’s shelter the few times it rained hard on the beach. They used to rent non-motorized water equipment like kayaks and paddle boards.
One of the joys of being on the beach was to watch schoolchildren come for their swimming classes in the floating pool. It’s no longer there.
It was also entertaining to watch two dogs retrieve coconut shells from the water. One of the beach staff members would throw the shell and one of the two dogs would find it and bring it back without a fail. The other dog wasn’t so good at it.
Brian and I really hope that Le Galion is restored to the way it was very soon. I wish the Tropical Wave owners rebuilt the restaurant. If it’s not possible we’d like to see something like that in it’s place. Hopefully by our next trip, Le Galion is declared safe and open for swimming and there is a beach restaurant to get food and rent chairs from.
On our previous trips to Saint Martin we spent our daytime on the French side while having dinners mostly on the Dutch side in Cupecoy and Maho areas. We always enjoyed our drive from Sapphire Beach Club Resort to Le Galion and back. One of the attractions of the drive besides beautiful views going up and down the hills is the charming town of Marigot. Marigot is the capital in the French Collectivity of Saint Martin.
I love the colorful buildings on Rue de Hollande.
There are restaurants, barbershops, small shops along the street.
There is also Guavaberry Colombier Tradition shop that sells guava berry liquor and other produce made from guava berry.
Rue de la Republique is lined up with houses featuring historic Caribbean architecture.
Fancy fretwork decorates second floor balconies on some of the buildings there.
Rue du President Kennedy has shops that are geared more towards tourists.
From there you can walk into Marina Port La Royale.
One of our favorite restaurants Le Tropicana is in the marina. You can read about it and other restaurants in Saint Martin restaurants in my blog post Part 2.
Right next to Tropicana is La Casa del Ananas clothing store.
I liked the cool designs on their tank tops.
Sarafina’s bakery is also in the marina now.
It’s pleasant to walk along the small marina and look around.
“Toi la! Je t’aime!” (Hey you! I love you!) graffiti around Marigot sums up our feeling towards the island perfectly.
Marigot market is just around the corner from the marina.
Other than food we practically never shop on vacations so we never went into the market. From what we saw walking by, It looked like it had a nice variety of colorful clothing and accessories.
The fish market was open too.
At the Market, Place Francis restaurant was serving food. We are not familiar with the restaurant so I can’t tell if the food is any good.
Marigot Bay is quite picturesque with many boats and yachts especially at sunset time.
Here is my Abstract Painting 170831 inspired by the sunny colors of Saint Martin:
Please check out my paintings on my website. Thank you!