St. Barth is a duty-free port, and it caters to its sophisticated visitors who revel in its some 200 shops and boutiques. Those lucky enough to be on the island during les soldes will reap bargains galore! Forbes has named it one of the "World's 10 Best Shopping Destinations." We know!

Serious shoppers on a mission, and window shoppers alike, might choose to begin in Gustavia. The bustling little capital has three major shopping streets including the harbor-side Quai de la République, nicknamed rue du Couturier. It rivals New York's Madison Avenue and Paris's avenue Montaigne for elegant displays in exciting designer shops including Louis Vuitton, Tod's, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard and Hermès. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a Pain De Sucre bikini, a Rolex watch or a Chanel bag.

St. Jean's Pelican Shops and La Villa Créole are known for their chic boutiques, and the latest European couture can be found in the many fashion-forward boutiques.

What to buy?

Designer duds and haute couture, but of course. French and Italian fashion lines not available in the U.S. and the trendiest beachwear are all readily available. Watches, jewelry (the St. Barth map bracelets and pendants are charming), French perfumes, vintage wines and Cuban cigars for smoking in situ are all available.

Looking for local products? The women of Corossol and Colombier intricately weave the native latanier palm straw into delightful baskets, handbags and broad-brimmed hats. Locally-produced beauty lotions and oils made from island plants make unique and interesting gifts. A few shops offer a selection of made-in-St Barth clothing and accessories. St. Barth is home to many talented artists  their works can be discovered in the numerous galleries. A bottle of rhum vanille is great to bring home.

As in France, many shops close for a long (2-3 hours) midday déjeuner but stay open as late as 8 pm. Many are closed on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons as well.