My Post-Irma Trip to St. Martin: Part 5 – Grand Case Including Calmos Cafe, Le Pressoir, Zen It, Les Bains

This post is the fifth in a series of posts I am writing about my first post-Irma trip to Saint Martin. I hope you can join me for all of them. Here is a link to the first, secondthird, and fourth posts in the series.

December 28, 2017 – After visiting Orient Beach we made our way up to Grand Case. Of all the island, I was probably most anxious about visiting Grand Case. It’s a very special area to me and my wife, a place where we’ve spent many special evenings dining and hanging out with friends and family.

As we pulled onto Grand Case Boulevard, after passing Spiga which is looking great and now open, the buildings and street were fairly barren and void of people. It was strange to see but it was also before noon, so it’s to be somewhat expected too.

We pulled up to Le Pressoir and Calmos Cafe. Both places looked battered, much like you’d expect after enduring a mammoth storm like Irma. I’d seen pictures, so I had a good idea what to expect, but I can’t say I was necessarily prepared for the wave of emotions that actually being there brought to me.

It was like someone had taken our perfect little paradise and twisted it into a mangled mess. So many wonderful nights spent at both places, now just memories and a hope that things will someday get back to a semblance of those wonderful times.

On the island, there’s word that Le Pressoir won’t be reopening anytime soon, perhaps not at all. As for Calmos, they’re said to be waiting on the insurance proceeds and whether the government will allow them to rebuild so close to the water. In the end, it’s uncertainty that seems to be winning.

Here’s some video I took of both places. I was able to walk into Calmos which, besides the stripped down front building that lines Grand Case Boulevard, is completely destroyed, save for a few healthy palms in the middle of the wreckage that stand as a symbol of that which once was.

After leaving Calmos, I continued my walk down the boulevard to cross the small bridge just past the large parking lot. Unlike Calmos Cafe, there was noticeable work being done on Zen It. The owner of the building was hard at work trying to get things back in place.

As we wandered past the bridge we came upon Les Bains, which, thanks to owner Arno Ace, was the first bar to reopen in Grand Case following Irma. They’ve been operating since the end of October and it showed. The place looks great and they have live music overlooking Grand Case Bay almost every night.

I’ll be publishing more video I filmed along Grand Case Boulevard in subsequent posts, including the lolos, Bistrot Caraibes, Love Hotel, Rainbow Beach Bar and more.

Please help rebuild SXM and give today. Click here to visit the SXM Strong donate page.

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Jon Ferlise

I fell in love with the island of Saint Martin the first time I visited to celebrate my 40th birthday in May of 2009. Since then, I've spent most birthdays there, and have visited countless other times getting to know this wonderful place and the friendly locals that make it so special. I adore the culture, the people, the community, and the beauty of this stunning island. SXM Strong is a website that I started to support humanitarian relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. There was no plan, it just evolved as I witnessed the devastation that Irma caused the island and the huge need to communicate and disseminate information about what had happened and how people could help support this island and its people.

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