The French side (St. Martin), is certainly relaxed and sophisticated. Marigot is Mediterranean resort-like, yachts in the harbor, open-air markets, shops lining the waterfront. Grand Case is known for the island's best restaurants. The Dutch side (Sint Maarten) is a lively destination of white sand beaches, casinos, historical sites, shopping venues and a lot of nightlife. Philipsburg, a duty free port, vibrates with Caribbean colors, sounds and cruise ship passengers.
Ariel view of the island of Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin. This was a cruise stop for us in 2001. We took an island tour that included both the Dutch and the French sides. 2 different countries, one island.