Gustavia

Overview

Introduction

Gustavia, St. Barthelemy's capital, main city and chief port, is still small and walkable. It wraps around three sides of Gustavia Harbor; a free walking-tour guide is available at the Tourist Office on Quai du General de Gaulle.

At the impressive Mairie de St. Barth (town hall) on the far side of the harbor, stop to get a close look at the island's coat of arms (it includes both French and Swedish flags). Also see Fort Gustav at the northeast entrance to the harbor. The ruins of stone ramparts remain, as does a sentry box, some cannons, a powder house and part of the old brick-floored bakery. The fort offers good views of the harbor and the town. At the foot of the harbor are the old Swedish clock tower and the town churches.

The Musee Municipal de St. Barthelemy (the Wall House Museum) has photos and antiques illustrating the island's history (closed all day Sunday and Wednesday and Saturday afternoons). It's located in the beautifully restored Wall House, at La Pointe on the far side of the harbor. Exhibits include ancient documents, historical engravings, nature displays, antiques and the lantern from the old lighthouse. There are also geological and marine-environment exhibits.

The Museum le P'tit Collectionneur augments the picture with souvenirs of days gone by. Open Monday-Saturday by appointment only.

As might be expected of the island's principal town, Gustavia is a good place to shop. Many of the stores and boutiques are found on Quai de la Republique, Rue de France or on other streets close to the harbor. Cafes and bars along the streets make for good resting spots during your stroll.

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