Espadrilles Style & Travel - St. Barths

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

Spanish espadrilles are the perfect travel companion to visit this amazing island

The short flight from St Maarten airport ends in a what insiders refer to as the

“WinAir Bounce”. The small commuter plane takes an ultra-deep dive over a hillside, bounces after a hard landing, then barrels down a very short runway with full-on brakes, to finally stop right in front of a lovely beach, some 25 yards away from the turcoise waters.

Welcome to St. Barths!😎

No worries though! Breathe!

Worst case, the plane nose-dives into the white sand next to “La Plage”,a busy inspot for lunches in St. Jean, where you'll find an attractive crowd taking a sea bath before a light lunch of chilled gaspaciao, tuna tartar and chilled Rose.

That scene - pretty much similar everywhere on the island- is a blend of the South of France with an ultra laissez-faire Caribbean lifestyle—which means it’s exclusive yet totally unpretentious.

Walk into any beachfront restaurant, and you’ll see beautiful women with $ 3000 Birkins, eating lunch beside sandy barefoot beachgoers. For us,of course, only our stylish Spanish espadrilles for just under $45 are "de rigueur" here.

But we digress. After arrival at the tiny airport, we have picked up our rugged island jeep from Sixt, and are on our way to the amazing rental villa in Pointe Milou, just a few miles up the road.

We take a dip in the pool and enjoy the beautiful views over St. Jean Bay.

Unpacking our small travel bags is a breeze.

You really don't need anything fancy for this place - at least we don't.

A pair of jeans, swim suits , light summer dresses and plenty of Tee shirts that go along with our Spanish espadrilles from Pargas Miami.

Incidentally, we never come here over Christmas or New Years, when the place is overrun by tacky 'celebrities' from L.A. - most have no style or cultured manners - or truly insufferable 'nouveau rich' folks from New York.

Definitely not our scene!

In the winter we come here any time after mid January, or in the summer when visitors mostly consist of stylish and sophisticated Italians and French.

Until the early eighties the island was just an barren rock, inhabited by decendent generations of early Swedish and French settlers, mostly fishermen and artisans.

Well to-do residents of neighboring Guadeloupe used to have summer cottages here, and sent their kids for “vacances d'ete”.

The paradise island back then was safe and secluded, with hardly even any cars on the narrow roads.

Until the jet set discovered it and thing changed, alas....

We take the jeep and head over to La Petite Colombe Bakery in L'Orient to buy croissants and some other breakfast items for tomorrow. The place has the best pain au chocolat West of Paris!

Dressed in relaxed casual wear and our comfortable espadrilles, we drive a short distance up the hill and then down again towards Saline Beach on the north coast of the island.

Nearby there is this great lunch place, Le Tamarin. The spot is still one of the 'must' hangouts on the island, serving great dishes like tuna ceviche ot grilled MahiMahi.

Years ago it was run by a French couple, Kat and Boubou. French actor Alain Delon would be seen having lunch here. Incidentally, he too wore espadrilles in his 1960 film "Plein Soleil".

We head back to the villa to spend siesta in the shade by the pool taking it all in.

Late afternoons are for a quick drive to Gustavia, where you find some luxury boutiques along side relaxing cafes and bars. A cool place for people watching, and quite often the harbour is packed with an impressive line-up of beautiful yachts.

Tonight we'll have dinner for two at the Eden Roc in St . Jean , a small but elegant boutique hotel right by the beach. Its sits on a large rock overlooking the water, surrounded by a pristine white beach.

The first hotel to ever open its doors on St. Barth, Eden Rock has been welcoming sun-seeking vacationers for more than 60 years. A-listers like Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes have graced this hotel's hallways, wearing chic espadrilles, no doubt.

Today, Eden Rock remains just as elegant and timeless as back then.

After breakfast next morning its beach time. We pick up our Spanish espadrilles, swimsuits and some sunscreen, and take the Jeep over the steep hills to Plage de Gouverneur.

Nestled between rocky hillsides, this is probably the most beautiful beach on the island. A pristine half moon stretch of white sand , bordering on a magnificent property with many palm trees and several exquisite private villas set back from the ocean.

In the early 2000s the property was owned by an American tech entrepeneur who turned it into a veritable "Bali style" dream paradise.

We used to spend long dinners there by the pool, in eclectic company: a French rock star, a fashion designer from Germany with his New York Girl friend, a model from Riga, and some wealthy Italians who also owned a house on the island.

The compound was eventually sold to a well known Russian oligarch, alas, but the beach is still to die for.

We'll do lunch today at Shellona, a greek restaurant overlooking small Shell Beach on the far end of town in Gustavia.

Afternoon siesta is spent lazing around the villa, feeling and looking beautiful.

And in the late afternoon we'll take a long walk along the beach around the Eden Roc - loving the warm water of the Carribean Sea and the fine sand under our feet.

Tonight we'll drive to the other side of the island for dinner at Francois Plantation.

Perched on the heights of Colombier, in the heart of a plantation overlooking the Baie des Flamands, the restaurant is a refined blend of colonial inspiration and tropical touch.

The cuisine is elegant and sophisticated- made with the best products of French gastronomy. Homemade foie gras, poultry from Mieral, but also pissaladière, barigoules and candied vegetables - topped by an amazing wine list.

...and this is how we end yet another exquisite day in lovely St Barths.

We can't wait until tomorrow.

Best wishes from your PARGAS Miami editorial team, and maybe you follow us on Instagram .

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