Please see the St-Maarten page for the common history of the Dutch and French sides of the island.
It is said that the first border agreement between the French and the Dutch settlers was determined in 1648 by a race along the shore staring at Oyster Pond in the east. According to the legend, the French runner was able to cover much more land before they met on the west side of the island, because he only drank wine while his Dutch opponent drank gin!
St Martin is a sub-prefecture of Guadeloupe which is an overseas department of France. As such, the inhabitants enjoy all the social benefits of full French citizenship.
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The northern half of the island, is less commercial than the Dutch side but it is very French. It is cleaner, more expensive, more sophisticate and, more pretentious.
This is the "Mairie" (city hall) on rue du Général de Gaulle.
On the right is the Royale Louisiana Hotel at the southern end of rue du Général de Gaulle
And here is the rue de la République that goes from the bus station to the ferry terminal
An interesting old house on rue de Félix Faure next to rue de la République.
The restaurant "Bateau Lavoir" on the corner of rue Maurasse and rue de la Liberté.
The cruise ships dock mostly on the Dutch side of the island but that does not stop the tourists from swarming all over so there is a special artefact market for them in Marigot.
Marigot is really quite small, you have seen most of it in these seven photos.
The "Espérance" airport on the French side is located at Grande Case, about five kilometres north of Marigot.
It is smaller than the Juliana airport which was built on the Dutch side by the US armed forces during WWII.
Grande Case has hotels and beach resorts like these at the north end of the beach, but it is best known for its fine restaurants.
Looking south along the Grande Case beach.
There's nothing special about this fruit stall in Grande Case but take note of the name the grocery store on the left.
Using "Cash and Go" to mimic an American style could reflect the subservient attitude that can be expected from "servants of tourists" where most visitors are American tourists off the cruise ships but that does not explain the growing use of English in France itself.
I am not a psychiatrist but here is the way I see it. The French people have a very high opinion of themselves but, paradoxically, they seem to suffer from an inferiority complex about their language. It seems that they cannot accept that French, which once was the international language of diplomacy, has been dethroned by English, the international language of commerce.
Collectively there is nothing they can do about it but individually, they can dissociate themselves from their ordinary compatriots, condemned to speak a second rate language, by sprinkling their speech with English words and expressions that give them the individual distinction of being up to date. This tendency is not new, I first noticed it when I was working for ELF in Paris in the '60s. My engineer colleagues returning from training in the US would replace some French technical terms that they previously used, by their American equivalents as status symbols publicising the distinction of having been chosen for training in the US. Those who had not gone would follow suit so that it would not show! None of them bothered to learn to speak English well as just a few well placed English words sufficed to heighten their image.
It's a pity, the French are individually destroying their beautiful language to escape a collective inferiority complex. If you think that I'm exaggerating, just have a look at the bastard "Franglais" that has become current on French websites!
Back in Marigot, here is the ferry terminal with a ferry boat departing for Saint-Barthélémy and the 18th century Fort Louis on the hilltop behind.