Beach Collector: Finding the Perfect Beach in St Barth


By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

GOUVERNEUR BEACH, one of 14 beaches on St Barth, is defined more by what it lacks than its attributes.

There’s no “beautiful people” scene like you’d find on St Jean or Shell Beach; no shady palms; no food; no water sports concessions; not even changing facilities.

Instead, the crescent-shaped plage offers the quintessentially Caribbean beach experience distilled to its essentials: water, sand and sea breeze.

Backed by a tangle of sea grape trees and, at either end, bush-carpeted cliffs, Gouverneur is where local families come to spend the day, picnicking under the trees at its entrance, les enfants frolicking at the shoreline as the waves spread their lace-like foam on the sand.

At the far end, nude and topless bathers lie spread-eagle in that nonchalant, typically French way, interested only in their reading material or studious contemplation of the clouds sailing silently across the sky.

Even the water is a surprise: rough, with waves that can (and do) easily topple you as they rush to shore.

And as vigorous breezes kick up sand onto your sunscreen-coated skin, you realize you’ll be breaded like a chicken leg within the hour.

This is no territory for timid swimmers; no place for high-maintenance for sun-seekers who require planteurs on demand.

And yet, for those in search of a low-key, come-as-you-are, beach-and-nothing-but experience, Gouverneur has absolutely everything you need.


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