The Art of Taking it Easy, Caribbean-Style
It’s time to embark on a true tropical urban escapade, and you’ll find that on Front Street. In Philipsburg, the Dutch capital, all the ingredients for a Caribbean-flavored promenade come together with flair on this popular thoroughfare, creating a recipe that leads to good times topped off with great duty-free deals.
Les secrets d’un shopping cosmopolite
What would a visit to St. Martin/St. Maarten be without a stroll down Philipsburg’s Front Street? This long stretch of road, which reveals itself little by little as you arrive from the French side of the island, starts with a few clothing shops each more colorful than the other. Then come the perfume and alcohol stores. It may seem surprising that these products are sold side by side in the same shop, but once you enter you’ll see what they have in common: low tax-free prices. Good deals are within reach, and it helps to know how to reach them. Also keep in mind that the marked price isn’t always the final price: clients are invited to bargain, and many leave shops paying even less for their goodies than anticipated.
Entre shopping et folklore
Front Street is not only about shopping, though. If you can imagine negotiating prices in every store, then you won’t be surprised by what reveals itself just meters down the street. The first surprise can be found in the square facing the beach, where an old building that looks like a church is actually the local courthouse. Passersby who look up to the very top of this administrative building’s clock tower are astounded to find… a pineapple! This folkloric cliché is truly characteristic of life in the tropics, a sweet vibe that will follow you all throughout your visit. Local music is the second cultural element that adds rhythm to your step. Whether emanating from shop speakers or from cars passing by, tropical music will undoubtedly follow you as you meander down Front Street. And the third Caribbean influence lies just steps away from the main street. The sea, that expansive stretch of striking blue that can be spotted from between two buildings, is the perfect backdrop to set the tone for your urban adventure.
Great Finds for All Budgets
The scene has been set, and new shops appear as the street unfolds. Now it’s jewelry, then American brands, and finally electronics steal the show. Always tax free and paid for in dollars, these high value products can be bargained for till the sun comes down. Slowly, the big shops on Front Street give way to local artisan vendors. There’s an intersection and finally, it’s time to choose how you’ll conclude your shopping escapade: down on the waterfront, or in one of the nearby clothing bazars so loved by the locals.