While the Dutch side of St Martin has experienced the most growth, the French side has been able to keep the French Caribbean charm that lured so many in the past. When I say it is the hub of the French side of St Martin, that is true since it is the capital, but the town itself is only 4-5 blocks wide.
As you walk along the waterfront you will find plenty of friendly vendors in their huts selling anything you can think of with St Martin on it. You will also find the wonderful architecture in many of older buildings. I absolutely love the rod iron patios on the second stories and how each building works together with the other surrounding building.
The town was built on a great bay on the ocean side when a knight by the name of Descoudrelles observed the French settlers were being harassed by British raiders. He set out to build the fort overlooking the town starting in 1775. To get to the fort you either can take a stair case (quickest) or drive to the hospital and keep walking the rest of the way up. The fort was never meant to be maned full time and that is shown with the lack of facilities for an army. What the fort does have is cannons, walls, and a great view!
While you can anchor in the bay there is also dock space at Marina Fort St Louis and the channel into Simpson Lagoon is at the west end of the bay (although the bridge was closed for repairs when I was there). Along the lagoon side I found some wonderful French bakeries.
All in all I could easy spend a few days just hanging out in Marigot enjoying the atmosphere, bakeries, architecture, and history.