Jersey - just 14 miles from France !
This page is aimed at visitors from the UK, Europe and the rest of the world who have visited this site and subsequently shown interest in the Channel Islands and Jersey. The information we provide should be particularly interesting for English ex-pats resident in adjacent Brittany and Normandy, who might be tempted to take a day or longer to visit the islands - known in France as Les Isles de la Manche or Les Isles Anglo Normande.
This page is a mix of information which is more tourist related than the Channel Islands' French Culture page.
What does Jersey provide for English (and French) People living in nearby Brittany and Normandy? I would say incomparable beauty and a unique mixture of French and English cultures and a fascinating history.
Many of the English chain stores represented include a decent sized Marks and Spencer, British Home Stores, Etams, Evans, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Accessorise, Boots, Burtons - to name just a few! Ex Pats resident in France - particularly in Brittany and Normandy can travel quickly and easily to the island for some "retail therapy" should they be a bit "shop sick" or needing items not found easily in France. Click here for Ex Pat shopping.
Jersey has some superb restaurants serving a variety of food from top class classic French to a variety of ethnic dishes such as Chinese, Indian and Thai. The island has its share of fast food which is quite a surprise when visiting from France. Apart from the island's Gallic roots, many Italians came to work in Jersey, stayed and set up some excellent restaurants. Jersey has relied on an immigrant work force and following the French and Italian workers came the Portuguese who also have opened some really good restaurants serving traditional Portuguese dishes. There is something to suit every taste - even a French market with traders coming in from Normandy!
The island is stunningly beautiful with a varied coastline comprising long sandy beaches, tiny coves and heather covered cliffs which slope down to picturesque beaches and harbours. The lanes in the countryside run through a mixture of modern and period properties and the older buildings are constructed from the rose coloured granite of the island.
The evidence of the island's strong French influence is made apparent by the French road and property names. Property owners have become increasingly conscious of the appearance of their homes and the quality of the floral displays in the summer and gardens is high.
Jersey's capital and only town is St. Helier. Reclaiming land from the sea has long been undertaken in the island and the area from the newly restored granite church once bordered the harbour. The waterfront area of St. Helier is a very sharp contrast to the rest of the town and the island with an abundance of very modern, new buildings. This is not that popular with the traditionalists among the locals but does generate a feeling of vibrancy and an aura of wealth and sophistication perhaps.
The waterfront area is nearing completion. It has been a source of much controversy as the design is so cuttingly new however the office buildings that have developed from Jersey's old agricultural depots and warehouses are architecturally pleasing. The Jardins de la Mer are well worth a visit, and the area borders on a harbour and marina full of some decidedly impressive leisure craft. On leaving the harbour visitors travel along a road which is divided by a flower bed full of a variety of seasonal plants including yellow roses and the deep blue agapanthus which grow in abundance on the island.
The beaches of Jersey are fantastic. To mention just a few; St Ouen is famous for its surf, St. Brelade's is sandy and glamorous, the Bay of Grouville stretches to Gorey Harbour dominated by the beautiful, centuries old Mont Orgueil castle. The Royal Jersey Golf Club borders the bay and yes, Jersey has some excellent golf courses too! Ouaisne and Portelet are at the bottom of cliff paths and there are many other beaches, coves and also pretty harbours such as St. Aubin, Rozel, Bonne Nuit and Bouley Bay.
Tradition and history combine with fun on the island - museums and night clubs exist side by side. There are festivals all year round from the world famous Battle of Flowers in August to the Fete du Noué in December which heralds in Christmas with street celebrations, lights and lively entertainment.
The island is divided into twelve parishes:
Grouville, St Brelade, St Clement, St Helier(capital town), St John, St Lawrence. St Martin.
St Mary, St Ouen, St Peter, St Saviour, Trinity
Focus on Grouville and St Martin
Grouville and St Martin are parishes to the east of St Martin. The village of Gorey in St. Martin sits under the protection of beautiful Mont Orgueil Castle.