St Thomas makes another ‘top 10’ list & this one has nothing to do with our wonderful beaches

St Thomas Frenchtown 
St Thomas’s Frenchtown is located about a half-mile southwest of Charlotte Amalie, it is popular with tourists and locals for its restaurants and bars, colorful boats, and fresh fish market; however we found it particularly interesting – and a tad unusual – that it would have made the ‘top 10 Bastille Day Celebrations‘ around the entire world! Here is the list compiled by Hotwire based on a survey they recently conducted:

Travel Picks: Top 10 Bastille Day celebrations

(Reuters) – Sing a rousing rendition of the Marseillaise, twirl a sparkler or head out to see the parades and fireworks for France’s national day of celebration on Saturday [July 14 each year]. Francophiles around the world can find a place to join in the revelry with online travel adviser Hotwire.com’s (www.hotwire.com) list of the top 10 destinations to celebrate Bastille Day. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Paris

2. London, UK
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
4. Liege, Belgium
5. Budapest, Hungary
6. Franschhoek, South Africa
7. Montreal, Quebec
8. French Polynesia
9. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

While St. Thomas is technically part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, its large French population gathers together for several days of Bastille Day festivities. The celebration begins with dancing at local bars and live performances from bands from the French community. The highpoint of the celebrations is the Kingfish Tournament, a fundraiser for local schools which is held on a Sunday. Fishermen cast their lines early in the morning and must return to the beach by noon to enter their catches into the contest. The participant who catches the largest kingfish is awarded prize money.


Frenchtown was settled by immigrants from the French Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy in the late 1800’s through mid-1900’s. Many of the men were fishermen and so the area became a fishing village and still is today. In the early morning you can watch fishermen coming in with their small fishing boats, or cleaning and selling their catches from the jetties and from the Quetel Fish Market. Many of the older French people still speak Creole, a French dialect. In the middle of Frenchtown is a hill crowned by St. Ann’s Catholic Church. A small museum contains several hundred artifacts of historical interest related to the area and to the French community including photographs, pottery, tools and furniture. The French Heritage Museum is located next to the Joseph Aubain ballpark. Frenchtown is also a great stop on the way to the St Thomas airport.  We are particularly partial to Hook, Line & Sinker, a casual restaurant located right on the water.  You can get a great meal while watching boats and seaplanes come and go and, as an extra bonus, watch the ever-present iguanas sun themselves (a great diversion for kids while waiting for their meal!).

10. Cayenne, French Guiana

Plan on attending next year’s Bastille Day celebration on, of course, July 14, 2013 and while in the Virgin Islands discover, or better yet, stay on St John!
Colorful fishing boats line the shore in Frenchtown

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