Le Galion Beach
By Teala Howell
Protected by a beautiful reef, Le Galion, also called “Baie de L´Embouchure” by the French, is the perfect beach for the whole family. The beach is situated next to the famous Orient Bay and adjacent to The Butterfly Farm. In order to get there from the French side, you drive past Grande Case to a roundabout, keep right. Continue down the winding road, past Orient Bay, and turn left at the sign for Le Galion/The Butterfly Farm. You then Drive past The Butterfly Farm, past Bayside Riding Club to the end of the dirt road where eventually you will see the beach.
Not only is Galion’s water a beautiful blue, but it is also nice and shallow for the kids. In fact, this is the beach many parents take their children to when they are teaching them how to swim. You can walk out 20-30 feet without even getting your swim trunks wet! The sand is delightfully soft—great for sandcastles! There is also a lovely breeze, but remember: just because you don’t feel hot doesn’t mean you’re not burning—apply sunscreen!
It is one of the few beaches on the French side of the island that outright prohibits nudity and prides itself in being a family orientated beach. On top of these two perks, Le Galion is also a nature preserve. Due to this protection, snorkeling on Le Galion is absolutely fabulous and there are plenty of fish to see. The beach is kept exceptionally well, it is one of the cleanest beaches on the island and as a nature preserve there are a few rules that beachgoers have to adhere to. Some of these rules include: no dogs allowed, no glassware on the beach, and boats cannot come near the shore.
There are beach chairs and umbrellas to rent as well as a little restaurant called Chez Pat and also known as Tropical Wave. The restaurant serves appetizers, sandwiches, salad, and amazing burgers! The restaurant does have a restroom but it is reserved for paying customers. Next to Tropical Wave are a few volleyball nets where, if you happen to have a ball, you are welcome to play as many games as you want.
Yet, despite being a great beach for the kids, it is also a lovely place to go if you enjoy watersports. Chez Pat has a watersports kiosk where beachgoers can rent snorkels, kayaks, peddle boats, paddle boards and a variety of beach entertainment. Renting any or all of the above is a true experience. It’s not every day that you can paddle out into the ocean and look at the shoreline; it is truly a beautiful site. There are also two platforms you can swim to in the water. They are great fun to just hangout on as well as to jump off of! And the best part of these two platforms is that they’re free!
If you’re looking for something a little more entertaining, beginner’s windsurfing lessons are also offered. These lessons are some of the most detailed and best taught lessons on the island. Although the beach is calm, there are some decent waves in the distance as well as a good breeze, making it ideal for windsurfers. There are usually a number of kite surfers and regular surfers out in the distance as well because of these ideal conditions. Galion is one of the only beaches on the island that remains calm, even in rough weather, but still has enough wind and surf in the distance to interest windsurfers and kite surfers alike. Many of our local windsurfing enthusiasts started out on this very beach.
On the weekends, Le Galion is a very popular local hangout. Many of the locals bring barbeque supplies and make barbeques on the beach for their entire families. The weekends can, therefore, get a little rowdy on Le Galion; if you don’t like the party atmosphere it might be best to keep your visits to the weekdays. However, if you are looking for some fun, the weekends are a great time to see what island life is all about. Le Galion is a children’s paradise, which in turn makes it a relaxing day for parents alike. With such shallow water and such calm conditions, this beach lends itself to a perfect day in the sun in St. Martin.
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