St. Barth attracts 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 harborside Quai de la Rpublique, 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, Psyched, Cartier, Chopard, Longchamp, Dolce & Gabbana, Richard Mille and Herms. Its the perfect spot to pick up a Rolexwatch or a Chanel bag.

St. Jean's Pelican Shops and La Villa Crole are known for theirchic boutiques (take a look at those bikinis at Pain de Sucre). The latest European couture can be foundin 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 uniqueand 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 djeuner but stay open as late as 8 pm. Many are closed on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons as well.