Marigot: Main Town on the French Side of St. Martin

Marigot is the main town on the French side of Saint Martin. This nautical town is the region’s capital. Marigot is a town rich in history, decorated with colorful colonial and Creole-style houses. Its infrastructure tells a captivating story of what once was a fishing village on a swamp. Located along the Caribbean Sea where the weather is hot and humid most of the year, Marigot can be described as a typical French town with a tropical twist.

Marigot has a harbor called Marina Port la Royale which introduces a modern side of the town with chic boutiques and stores that sell shoes, cosmetics, fine jewelry, liquor, and the latest European designer clothes. The cuisine in Marigot, which includes freshly baked pastries and island seafood dishes, highlights the fusion of both French and Caribbean culture.

What is the location of Marigot?

Marigot is located on the western coast of the island of St. Martin. The coordinates of the town of Marigot are 18.0731 °N 63.0822°W. The town of Marigot is located 5.6 km (3.5 miles) from Princess Juliana airport and 8.7 km (5.4 miles) from Grand Case Airport.

What is the importance of Marigot for St. Martin?

Marigot is of importance to St. Martin because it houses the sub-prefecture headquarters of the island that provides administrative services to two islands, St. Martin and St. Barths. Important official documents such as passports can be issued in Marigot which means that residents do not have to wait for months for documentation to arrive from France.

France governs the northern territory of Saint Martin which means that the town of Marigot falls under the governance of the French government. Prior to a governmental administrative office being set up in Marigot, residents had to get all their important documentation done in France and sent back to St. Martin.

Marigot is also important because of its history as a former military base for the French. The sights that captivate this thrilling historical account are a source of interest for tourists from all over and this creates an opportunity for the local people to make a living selling goods to visitors.

What are the historical aspects of Marigot?

The historical aspects of Marigot revolve firstly, around its agriculture and how this contributed to the town’s economic growth over the years. Secondly, history reveals the role the town of Marigot played as a military fort for St. Martin. Thirdly, the history of Saint Martin shows how Marigot has developed and expanded from a village into the town that it is today.

In the 18th century, the town of Marigot was still known at the time as a village of many swamps. Its economy grew rapidly during this era with the production of salt, coffee, rum, and sugar cane being a major contributing factor to this growth.

In 1789, Marigot became a military base under the reign of King Louis XVI of France. On a hill near Marigot bay stands the ruins of Fort St. Louis, which was built during that year to protect the warehouses of the port of Marigot that stocked its harvested products. The fort is the most important historical monument in Marigot to date.

Marigot was expanded in 1970 when one part of its lagoon was filled. This allowed for the village to extend and with a second filling made in 1990, a new road was built along the waterfront.

What are the unique features of Marigot?

The unique features of Marigot are displayed through the aesthetics of the town’s architectural structures. Marigot is decorated with sidewalk bistros, craft markets, and gingerbread-style houses. The colorful houses that line the streets give vibrance to the town. Many of the well-preserved homes still portray 19th century inspired architecture built with stone, lime, and wood using traditional construction methods.

How is the geography of Marigot?

Marigot is situated on the western shoreline of the island of St. Martin. Bounded by Simpson Bay on the southwest, Marigot stretches out from the west coast, along the Marigot Bay and the hills of the interior of the island to the east. Visit our detailed article about the geography of Saint Martin for more information about this topic.

How is the weather in Marigot?

The weather in Marigot is humid and ranges from warm to hot throughout the year. The most humid month in Marigot is October (68.2% humidity) and the least humid month is March (62.5% humidity). Temperatures in Marigot range from 82.6°F (28.1°C) to 86.4°F (30.2°C) with the possibility of reaching higher temperatures in hotter months such as July to September. The rise in temperature begins in late May and carries on right through to November. This means the cooler months are from December to April.

The climate in Marigot is tropical savanna which contributes to rainfall of about 5 to 7 days per month and up to 10 days in hotter months. The rainfall in Marigot is not as extreme as in most tropical savanna climates because rainfall is reduced by the rain shadow of the mountains located to the east of the town. The months with the most rainfall are May to November as these months are classified as part of the wet season. Read our detailed article about the weather in Saint Martin for more information about this topic.

What is the population of Marigot?

The population of Marigot is 5,700 persons, which is at least 14% of the population on the French side of St. Martin. Marigot has the largest population density of people on the French side of Saint Martin since it is the region’s capital and is located along the coast. Most residents prefer to live on the coastal regions of the island making Marigot the ideal base for them.

The ethnicity of people in Marigot includes black or mixed Creole as the majority and a minority of Indians and Europeans. Residents of Marigot speak French, English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole and other languages to mention a few. More information about the population of Saint Martin can be found in this article.

What are the ways to go to Marigot?

The ways to get to Marigot are by airplane, ferry, bus, taxi, and car depending on where visitors are traveling from. International visitors have the option of flying into Princess Juliana International Airport which is 5.6 km (3.5 miles) and a 10-minute drive to Marigot. Alternatively, visitors can fly into Grand Case Airport which is 8.7 km (5.4 miles) and a 16-minute drive to Marigot. International visitors can also take a ferry from Anguilla or St. Barths to the Marigot Port.

Traveling locally on the island of Sint Maarten to Marigot can be done using a bus, taxi, or car rental. The roads in St. Martin are paved and kept in generally good condition. There is only one main highway in St. Martin called Route Nationale 7 (National Route 7) which leads to the main towns on both sides of the island, including Marigot. Driving is done on the right side of the road. More information about transportation on Saint Martin can be found in our detailed article.

What beaches are there in Marigot?

There are no beaches in Marigot. The coast of Marigot only has harbors. Visitors will have to travel to the other nearby beaches such as Friar’s Bay or Happy Bay, which are located north of the coast of Marigot. Read our detailed article about beaches in Saint Martin for more information.

What are the popular districts of Marigot?

The popular districts of Marigot are listed below.

  1. Agrément
  2. Hameau Du Pont
  3. Galisbay
  4. Concordia
  5. Sandy Ground
  6. St. James
  7. Bellevue

What are the important buildings in Marigot?

The important buildings in Marigot are listed below.

  1. Rue de la République
  2. Marigot’s Old Prison
  3. Marigot’s Catholic Church
  4. François-Auguste Perrinon’s Tomb
  5. Durat Bridge

1. Rue de la République

Rue de la République in Marigot is one of the town’s fascinating displays of architectural authenticity dating as far back as the 19th century. Rue de la République is situated on Marigot 91750, St. Martin.

Rue de la République street exhibits well-preserved homes with ground floors made from stone and lime mortar. Wood has been used to build the secondary floors by means of traditional construction methods. These traditional facades are in the front row view of the street. Visitors can admire the finely crafted balustrades and gingerbread friezes decorating the balconies on each floor.

Ru de la République is of importance in Marigot because it passes along some of Marigot’s best shopping streets. For example, along the street, shoppers will find the West Indies Mall and at the end of the street on the waterfront lies Marigot market. Marigot market is open almost all days of the week except for Sunday. The locals take the opportunity to make a living selling a piece of the town’s culture to visitors who come to see the gallery of homes along Rue de la République.

2. Marigot’s Old Prison

Marigot’s Old Prison was built around the same time Fort Louis was built under the direction of Jean Sebastien de Durant, a government representative of the King of France at that time. Marigot’s Old Prison is located along a small pathway leading to the Fort. There are no longer any prisoners on the French side of St. Martin. French Saint Martin now uses the detention center in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe instead. The Marigot prison was transformed into St. Martin’s fire station in 1968.

3. Marigot’s Catholic Church

Marigot’s Catholic Church was built on Rue du Fort Louis in 1941. The minority Catholic population needed a place to worship and so an Irish Catholic priest named “Father Wall” took on the task of overseeing the building of Marigot’s first Catholic church. The church was expanded in 1971. A chapel was added using stone walls mortared with lime, built with traditional 20th-century construction methods.

4. François-Auguste Perrinon’s Tomb

François-Auguste Perrinon’s Tomb is located in Marigot cemetery where he was buried after he died in 1861. Born in 1812 in Martinique, François played a major role in the abolition of slavery. He published a work in 1847 entitled “Résultat d’expériences sur le travail des esclaves” (The Slave-Labor Experience), highlighting the mistreatment of slaves.

François-Auguste Perrinon also fought for compensation for slaves along-side French abolitionist writer Victor Schoelcher. In later years, he retired from his political career in St. Martin where he lived out the rest of his life. François-Auguste Perrinon is one of Saint Martin’s most honored historical figures.

5. Durat Bridge

Durat Bridge was built in the same period as Marigot’s Old Prison and Fort Louis in 1789.

Made of stone, this bridge is located in the Hameau du Pont neighborhood and is situated right at the exit leaving Marigot towards the town of Grand Case.

Durat Bridge was the cause of much controversy among the people. Patriots of the former regime wanted to highlight the leadership of Chevalier de Durat in an inscription on a large stone placed at the center of the parapet wall. However, this symbol was not accepted by revolutionaries who believed it represented aristocratic power and so they had the inscription removed.

Durat Bridge, which connects the north edge of Marigot to the rest of the northern part of the island, also serves as a passage for rainwater that flows from surrounding hills making its way to Galisbay Lagoon.

What are Marigot’s best hotels?

The town of Marigot has different hotels to choose from. These hotels are some of the best hotels in St. Martin. Marigot’s Best Hotels are listed below.

1. Le Centr’Hotel

Le Centr’Hotel is located between Marigot Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon providing easy access to the harbor station just 0.6km (0.4 miles) away. Princess Juliana International Airport is also a 12-minute drive away and visitors can use a taxi from the airport to get to the hotel.

Le Centr’Hotel provides daily buffet breakfasts for a surcharge. Visitors can walk off their meals by taking a 4-minute walk to Marigot Market where they can experience shopping for local goods and souvenirs. Tourists can take a stroll along Rue de la République and explore the gingerbread-style homes along the streets. They can also enjoy tasting some of Marigot’s diverse cuisines.

The location of this hotel is also close to some of Marigot’s popular attractions. A few attractions within walking distance from the hotel are listed below.

  • Fort St. Louis – 9-minute walking distance
  • Marina Royale – 2-minute walking distance
  • Baie de La Potence – 13-minute walking distance

2. Fantastic Hotel

Fantastic Hotel is located in the heart of Marigot just 0.85km (0.5 miles) from the center. This hotel is a 14-minute drive from Princess Juliana International Airport. Visitors can make use of the hotel’s airport shuttle or a taxi from the airport.

Fantastic hotel has an on-site restaurant that guests can enjoy. Located near the hotel are more of Marigot’s fine restaurants within walking distance of at least 12 minutes. The Fantastic Hotel is an ideal location for food lovers looking to explore some of the Caribbean and French dishes that the island has to explore. Some of the attractions that are within walking distance are listed below.

  • Fort St. Louis – 16-minute walking distance
  • Marina Royale – 16-minute walking distance
  • Marigot Market – 15-minute walking distance

What are Margot’s best clubs?

The best club in Marigot is David’s Bar & Club located along Marina Port Royale. This lively bar & club combines excellent food with a fun evening of dancing. David’s Bar and Club has different dance themes every night that keep visitors entertained from Tuesday to Sunday opening at 5 pm. The different party themes and dances found at David’s Bar and Club are listed below.

  1. Eighties themed parties
  2. Tea dance
  3. Techno house dance
  4. French music with an accordion
  5. A special “White Night Party” every month which incorporates ballroom dances.

The town of Marigot has more restaurants than nightclubs. However, Marigot is within a short driving distance to some of the best nightclubs St. Martin has to offer.

Is there a Marigot tour in St. Martin?

Yes, there are a variety of St. Martin island tours in Marigot. Some of the Marigot tours available in Saint Martin are listed below.

  1. Shore Excursion: Philipsburg to Marigot sightseeing tour: This is an educational tour involving a 3-hour expedition of both the French and Dutch sides of the island. This tour begins on the Dutch side of St. Martin and visitors can enjoy a round-trip cruise to Marigot while sipping on a complimentary drink. The stop in Marigot will allow tourists to explore the shops lined along the streets as well as learn about the history and culture of the town.
  2. The best of St. Maarten Private Sightseeing Tour: This 5-hour tour involves sightseeing in an air-conditioned bus and a boat cruise along the edge of the island. The stop in Marigot will allow for picture taking, a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, duty-free shopping, and a historic tour of the town.
  3. St. Maarten Best Island Tour: This is an educational 5-hour tour that will allow tourists to discover beaches, art, culture, museums, forts, monuments, sights and the shopping scene in Marigot as well as the rest of the island.
  4. St Maarten French and Dutch Sightseeing and Shopping Tour: This 4-hour and 30-minute-long tour includes some retail therapy with sightseeing and some relaxing beach time. Tourists will get to enjoy some of Marigot’s tasty freshly baked pastries, meat, vegetables, and local cocktails made with fresh fruits. The tour also involves a trip to the Marigot market where visitors can buy some of the local goods and souvenirs available.

What to do in Marigot?

Marigot offers some exciting things to do. Visiting Marigot and trying out the different activities that the town offers can be added to the list of things to do in St. Martin when taking a tour of the island. The activities available in Marigot are listed below.

  1. Shopping: Enjoy an exciting shopping experience of local goods and souvenirs at Marigot market. Shoppers can enjoy a duty-free shopping spree of the latest designer fashion at West Indies Mall and other locations in Marigot.
  2. Sightseeing: Visitors can explore the picturesque artistic and historic sights of Marigot such as Fort Louis which provides breathtaking views of the town. They can then venture onto the nearby old prison of Marigot, explore the aesthetically pleasing Ru de la République, visit François-Auguste Perrinon’s tomb, check out Durat Bridge, and much more.
  3. Sunset gazing and meals at Marina Port La Royale: This is an ideal relaxing location any time of the day and is even more special watching the sunset over the marina in view of the yachts and the glistening gold color of the water reflecting the sun’s fading rays. There is a selection of restaurants along the Marigot Marina Royale where visitors can enjoy the view while indulging in exotic French wines and delicious French and Caribbean cuisines. 
  4. Trying out different French pastries: Enjoy colorful macaroons, sweet delicious crêpes, tasty crème brûlée, mouth-watering éclairs, buttery multi-flavored croissants, and much more from some of Marigot’s finest French bakeries. Some of these bakeries can be found on Boulevard de France street connecting from Ru de la République.
  5. Visiting some of the local restaurants: Dine in any one of the selections of restaurants lining the harbor in Marigot or venture into Marigot town center to explore exquisite French, Caribbean, and International dishes offered in some of the town’s restaurants.

What are the best dishes to eat in Marigot?

The best dishes to eat in Marigot are a fusion of Caribbean, French, Creole & Cajun, and seafood dishes. Marigot offers an excellent selection of food to eat in Saint Martin. Some of the best dishes to eat in Marigot are listed below.

  1. Grilled lobster with Creole sauce: A Cajun Creole-inspired dish served at La Petite Auberge des Îles. This restaurant is located amid the docked yachts floating along the Marigot Marina Royale.
  2. Curried goat and conch creole served with rice, beans, and a salad: A creole and Jamaican fusion at Rosemary’s lolo (an open-air food stand) on the Marigot waterfront.
  3. Roasted duck with tangy raspberry sauce and house-made profiteroles: A delicious French cuisine served at La Terrasse Rooftop. This restaurant is situated at the top of West Indies Mall overlooking Marigot bay in an open-air setting.
  4. Saltfish, stewed conch, and fried johnnycakes (cornmeal flatbreads): A Caribbean and Creole specialty. This meal can be enjoyed at Enoch’s place, a lolo located at the Marigo Market waterfront which only serves breakfast and lunch.
  5. Stewed oxtail, spicy creole conch served with rice peas, salad, and fried plantain. Chez Coco’s lolo serves this tasty flavourful dish along the Marigot waterfront.
  6. Moules frites (steamed mussels with French fries) or fresh seafood served as filets, tartare, and ceviche served with a selection of French wines: This exotic French meal can be found at O Plongeoir in Marigot. This chic French restaurant overlooks the waters and docked yachts at the Marina Fort Louis yacht club and the view extends to the neighboring island of Anguilla.

What are the best shops in Marigot?

The town of Marigot offers a duty-free shopping experience. Shops in Marigot have a variety of products at different price ranges from luxurious high-end products to good quality budget-friendly items. The town of Marigot is an ideal place to find some of the best shops in St. Martin. The best shops in Marigot are listed below.

  1. Shops at West Indies Shopping Mall: This mall is located across the ferry terminal on the Marigot waterfront. West Indies Mall is a well architecturally designed mall with two-floor levels and air conditioning installed on each floor. This mall offers a shopping experience of luxury brands and elegant fashion.
  2. Guavaberry Colombier Tradition: Located along Rue de Hollande in Marigot, this shop offers local products such as rum punches made with Saint Martin’s legendary folk drink, Guavaberry.
  3. Port United: Located along Marigo’s waterfront, this shop is an ideal destination to purchase stylish beach clothes to wear when visiting some of Sint Maarten’s beaches.
  4. La casa del Habano: Situated along Margot’s Port La Royale street, this Cuban franchise store sells smoker accessories, Cuban cigars, alcohol including champagne and Italian wine, chocolate, and a variety of coffee blends.
  5. Marigot Market: Located on Marigot harbor, this collection of locally run stalls is a bargainer’s dream with t-shirts, hats, souvenirs, and many of Marigot’s unique local items up for sale at negotiable prices.
  6. Yves Rocher: This boutique is found along Rue Kennedy street in Marigot. Yves Rocher offers an assortment of botanical cosmetic products such as shower gels, deodorant, perfume, and hand cream for both men and women.
  7. Oro de sol: Adorn yourself or gift a loved one with shiny designer jewelry or a classic brand watch found at this store along Ru de la République in Marigot.

Is there a casino in Marigot?

No, there is no casino in the town of Marigot.

Is there a Catholic Church in Marigot?

Yes, there is a Catholic Church in Marigot. The St. Martin of Tours Church (Église de Saint Martin de Tours) was built in 1941 on Fort Louis road under the supervision of Father Wall who first moved to Marigot in 1939. This church is a Roman Catholic parish of the Diocese of Basse-Terre and has an adjoining chapel that was added in 1971. St. Martin of Tours serves as a place of worship for the small Catholic population in Marigot. Read this article for more information about Roman Catholic churches in St. Martin/St. Maarten.