Are you going to St. Barts? What luck, you will love! You can see sea turtles underwater when you paddle in the lagoon, just in front of the hotel! « When it comes to evoking Saint-Barthélemy, it does not make more enthusiastic than Guy Martin. Grand Véfour’s star chef, a regular at the destination, has signed the Barthélemy restaurant menu, a brand new 5-star hotel on the edge of the Grand Cul-de-Sac lagoon. We find his famous ravioli with foie gras, but the chef also had fun with local products: country lobster or mahi-mahi (sea bream dolphinfish), a creature with fluorescent yellow reflections that he powdered with roucou. « Mahi-mahi is excellent in ceviche, wahoo in tartare and fino, in tataki (half-cooked), » observes chef William Girard, in the kitchen of the restaurant year-round. Exporting Guy Martin’s cuisine to the Caribbean, one had to dare. Successful bet. And, snorkeling, we see many turtles slide in transparent water a few meters from the hotel’s sunbeds … On the heights of Colombier, Villa Marie plays another partition, more sieved, in the colonial register. Ancient Varangue, carefully selected furniture and, from the terrace of the wooden bungalows, a view to swoon on the hills of the island, the cove of Flamands and the Atlantic Ocean. We would do well in these luxury cabins until we forget time.
Only, the island calls us with its 21 km² of valleys, « mountains » as they say here, and especially its twenty beaches, all intact: not a billboard, not a sunshade rental, not a seller of donuts. Each one has its own touch: the indecent turquoise of Saline (the most beautiful), the fine sand of Gouverneur, sunk in the cliff, or the wild decor of Colombier, which is only accessible by foot or by boat. The approach of the latter is a spectacle in itself with its forest of cactus candles and wild cabris that we disturb. When one is sated of the panorama on the sea, while degraded of blue, one dive in mask and snorkel to the meeting of sea turtles, stingrays, harmless sleeping sharks and a myriad of multicolored fishes.
All this during the same aquatic ride. When we find the surface, it is to contemplate an old rig out of a pirate film or a naïad gypset that nobody would have the idea to annoy. St. Barts is a safe island. « Here, I can forget to lock my car or my house. I can walk barefoot in the city, in Gustavia, or put on my high heels. People are smiling. You feel good energy, « summarizes Aminata Clason-Diop. This slender and radiant Métis advocates an approach to the island centered on well-being. Paddle yoga classes in the lagoon of Eden Rock, an iconic luxury hotel on the island, take the opposite of jet-ski. Its gluten-free, sugar-free and lactose-free recipes delight customers looking for healthy food. And his juice bar is the nick of the champagne battles Nikki Beach neighbor.
After a Zen yoga session at sunrise, we swallow a shot of kale spinach-lemon-ginger before going on a hike on the wild coast at Grand Fond. « The best way to discover St. Barts is on foot! » Says Aminata. We cross a savannah out of time where some cows graze, and come out on a row of ocher cliffs beaten by the waves. In the distance, the silhouette of a dull red is emerging. Frigates fly over this unexpected Caribbean Finistère. No millionaire villa, no yacht, just the caress of the wind in the tall blond grasses and the clatter of waves on the rocks. That’s also Saint Barth. The natural pools of Petit Cul-de-Sac are another treasure to discover, with the help of a local guide. It is necessary to go along some villas with sumptuous gardens and to cross the territory of the goats before falling on these two aquamarine basins set in the cliff with purplish reflections. We bathe there watching the ocean roaring next to it. To gain height, you have to venture between Governor’s Cove and Chauvette Cove. Hélène Bernier, native of the island, accompanies us. It has a habit of denouncing the multiplication of vehicles and building permits on the island. But on this frangipani edge, perched between two turquoise handles, no house in sight. In the distance, the silhouettes of St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Eustatius and Saba. Tail-straws swirled in the azure sky, gliding over a ravine where the ancients formerly cultivated a few plots of land. The walls that delimited the plots, made of stacked coral blocks, are still standing. « They are 300 years old …