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Postal address : 2 impasse de Kervégant, 29 350 Moëlan sur mer, France.

Money and Shopping in St Barts

Since the Swedish handover in 1875 Gustavia has been a free port, a status which has made it a shopper’s paradise with the very best in French luxury on offer. Sometimes it seems odd to see so many prestigious boutiques, bearing world famous brand names, all grouped together in the bustling streets of Gustavia, the island’s capital. You may see a little stallholder selling local products under a parasol on a street corner, right beside elegant boutiques with the latest fashions on display from the biggest luxury brands. And the prices are much less expensive than on St Martin’s, the neighbouring island. Partly because there is no VAT here, products are on average 20% less expensive than in mainland France. And absolutely all the biggest names are in evidence! You will also find many young French designers have set up here: home décor shops, concept stores, art and craft galleries, as well as clothes and items from around the world. Saint Jean also boasts numerous luxury stores.

Gustavia is like a large high end shopping village, where you can feel free to wander in safety, as there is virtually no crime here. French forces have set up their Caribbean base here, and this contributes to the security of the island.

The largest concentration of shops is in Gustavia, the local capital, but there are also a good number in Saint Jean and in Lorient, and yet more are spread out along the island’s roads. You will also find many local artisanal products, notably baskets and bags woven from latanier palm leaves. Boutiques are generally open Monday to Friday, and up to 1pm on Saturday, then closed on Sunday. Sometimes they are also closed on Wednesday afternoon as there is no school and people want to spend time with their children.

Gustavia has a supermarket as well as the fish market at the port, and there is another supermarket near to the airport.



Port de Gustavia
photo © Laurent Benoit

 

The official currency is of course the Euro, as we are officially in France, but the American dollar is accepted almost everywhere and for everything. Travellers cheques/Travelers checks are also accepted (but normal bank cheques/checks are not welcome, even from French banks). Credit card usage is widespread.

The main banks offer currency exchange and all have cash dispensers. The only banks with a presence on the island are French, and they are as follows:

BFC (Banque Française Commerciale): one branch in Gustavia, rue du Général de Gaulle.
BDAF (Banque des Antilles Françaises): located in rue Samuel Falhberg.
Crédit Agricole: located in rue Jeanne d’Arc.
BNP Paribas (Banque Nationale de Paris): this bank is in rue du Bord de Mer.
Bred (Banque Populaire): in Saint Jean, just opposite the airport.
LCL: one branch in Saint Jean.

There are also two bureaux de change available in Gustavia:
Change Caraïbe: in rue de la République.
Point Change: in Quai de la République opposite the ferry embarcation point.

Banks are usually open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 12 midday and from 2pm to 3:30pm. Some branches are also open on Saturday morning.

There is also an American Express bureau in Saint Jean, opposite the airport. It offers useful services for American Express cardholders.




Yacht - Tony Duarte
Copyright Tony Duarte