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Channel Islands

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Even if they are only a few fathoms from the French coast, we often tend to forget the Channel Islands, so close and so exotic at the same time. If each one has its own character, there are nevertheless some common components: the tranquility of the Normandy countryside, the irresistible marine charm of Brittany and a very British sociability. The tourist guide of the Channel Islands will first take you to Jersey, the largest of all, with its endless beaches where floats run and surfers are plentiful, but also its capital, Saint-Hélier, its warm pubs and its chic boutiques. Guernsey, although smaller and also more populated, is the beautiful city of Saint-Peter-Port in particular, and is home to the residence in which Victor Hugo spent 15 years of his life in exile. The island ofAlderney (Alderney) is a village where the endless walks along majestic a-pic, between Victorian forts and abandoned German blockhouses, often end with a seafood plaster cast sprinkled with beer with the inhabitants. Sark (Sark), with its splendid panoramas and pretty gardens, seems to have remained frozen in another millennium, just like the very small and serene Herm that man's hand has only barely scratched. A getaway to these islands, so familiar and yet so secret, will sound like a forgotten poem, a sailor's song that is both nostalgic and joyful. Sai l'beinv'nu!

What to see, what to do Channel Islands?

When to go Channel Islands ?

When to go to the Channel Islands? Known as the "French Riviera of England", the islands enjoy an oceanic climate that allows them to have mild temperatures all year round. Thus, in summer, temperatures are around 20°C and the weather can be foggy while in winter temperatures can vary from 8 to 18°C, with high risk of rain. While the high season extends from May to September, spring is still the best time to visit the Channel Islands. Indeed, from April onwards, the sites are transformed into colourful gardens with a thousand flowers. Victor Hugo described Jersey as follows in the month of mai : " L he island is beautiful, it's like a big flower.  " Hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias bloom in gardens and fields. In well sheltered areas, Mediterranean plants such as mimosas, yuccas and palm trees can be found. However, the sea is still too cold to swim. This is the best time to take a walk and attend local festivities. Be careful, during the low season, many establishments close their doors. When to go to the Channel Islands? from May to September, with a preference for spring

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Covid-19 : current situation Channel Islands

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entry and travel restrictions may apply Channel Islands. Remember to visit the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave for the latest information
Practical information for travel Channel Islands

Given the geographical proximity of the Channel Islands to the French coast and their rather limited surface area, the islands of the archipelago are the ideal destination for a short stay, or even a delightfully exotic weekend. Some travelers, coming from the Normandy or Brittany coasts, do not hesitate to spend a day there, for a good breath of air or a shopping trip. In high season, nothing could be simpler as it is very easy to travel between the islands. In the low season, ferries are much less numerous and air conditions are, to say the least, changeable. It is therefore advisable to plan trips in advance and above all to adapt to the often capricious weather. To get a good overview of the archipelago, one week is ideal to discover Jersey and Guernsey. The combined program of the two weekends proposed on the islands is therefore very appropriate.

How to go Channel Islands

How to go alone

The Channel Islands can be reached by plane. It should be noted that the price variation depends on the company borrowed but, above all, on the time required to book. To get the best rates in high season, buy your tickets six months in advance. For shorter periods, a much shorter time frame should not prevent you from getting an attractive price. The Channel Islands are also easily accessible by boat from France or England.

How to go on a tour

Most tourism professionals will offer you short stays on the Channel Islands including the hotel and the crossing whether it is for a weekend (2 days and 1 night), or for a longer stay including visits to several islands. This type of service is often economically interesting.

How to get around

Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey each have a well-equipped and modern airport. Inter-island connections between these three airports are most often operated by local companies. The most popular and practical way is still the boat. Jersey and Guernsey have bus lines, and Alderney has a coastal railway. Cars (and taxis) are only tolerated in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney. If the weather conditions allow it, prefer cycling or walking!

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Discover Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are a very rich destination that will delight the most demanding visitors. On these pieces of land, which have dropped anchor between the French and English coasts and have welcomed the eternal Victor Hugo during his exile of almost 20 years, we touch a very rich history. A singular history, constantly shared between France and Great Britain, which has known its share of conflicts. We will also discover a unique people, deeply Norman, attached to its islands and its cultural specificities. Islands with a spectacular nature and which, contrary to popular belief, are not constantly under the rain. A perfect spot to enjoy the hiking trails. We also linger on the long sandy beaches, for relaxation and water sports, before sitting down in a warm pub to enjoy the excellent specialties and local products.

Pictures and images Channel Islands

Côte sauvage de Guernesey près de la baie de Petit Bot. asmithers - iStockphoto.com
Gorey Pier. Maxian - iStockphoto
Dolmen de Faldouet. BDLM - Iconotec
Port de Saint-Peter. Chris2766 - iStockphoto

The 12 keywords Channel Islands

1. #Anglo-Norman

Until the beginning of the 20th century, the islands were French-speaking territories. Two dialects derived from French are spoken there: Jèrriais and Guernesiais, derivatives of the old Norman language, transmitted orally. In spite of the predominance of English culture, the inhabitants do not consider themselves as English but as Normans

2. #Detax

Even if the islands are not a free zone, there is no VAT and each island establishes its own legislation. Luxury goods are therefore often offered at attractive prices. Some tourists do not hesitate to make a quick return trip during the day to take advantage of the duty free stores on the boat, especially at Christmas time

3. #Flowers

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The islanders have a real passion for gardening and every green corner of the islands is in bloom. The very mild climate allows flowers to grow all year round, but it is in spring that the islands shine with the most brilliant colors. Horticulture has become one of the motors of the island economy

4. #Jewelry

The islands of Jersey and Guernsey have earned a solid reputation for jewelry making. Many artists and craftsmen based on the islands create beautiful luxury rings and necklaces, from the most sought-after to the most classic, elegantly displayed in the stores of the shopping streets of St. Peter Port and St. Helier

5. #Fortifications

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Throughout their millennia of history, the islands have faced invaders far more dangerous than the peaceful tourists of today. Their eventful history has justified the construction, in all eras, of military buildings to protect the population against enemies. A history that can be read in these fortifications.

6. #New Jersey

The state of New Jersey in the United States is aptly named after the island. The name was given in honor of Sir George de Carteret, a Jersey native and one of the founders of the state, after King Charles II made him a gift of the island. Indeed, during the English Civil War, King Charles II took refuge in Jersey and the island's loyalty was rewarded

7. #Breakfast

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The traditional English breakfast is an institution in the archipelago. In hotels and guesthouses, you can order eggs, bacon, beans, porridge and grilled tomatoes. Those who are not used to it can of course have a "continental breakfast", and sometimes even combine the two... Enjoy your meal!

8. #Pirates

Located at the crossroads of the largest maritime route in Europe, the archipelago has long been a haven for piracy. Sark was a den of bandits until its conquest in the 16th century. Many of the houses in the archipelago had exotic wood furniture, Dutch earthenware or porcelain from the East India Company

9. #Pleasure

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More than 200 km of coastline, 60 km of beaches: the Channel Islands are a delight for sailors! The islanders are above all a people of the sea, who fished, fought and traded on the water. As soon as the good weather arrives, many boaters come to anchor in the sheltered bays of the Channel Islands

10. #Pub

The English culture having taken the upper hand on the Norman origins of the islands, pubs flourish at every corner. Pubs that fill up from evening to morning with a heterogeneous population coming to have a drink or to eat. The best time to meet the locals is during the cup of tea or theafter work beer.

11. #Rivality

The proximity of Jersey and Guernsey makes them true enemies. In 1642, during the English Civil War, Guernsey sided with Cromwell while Jersey remained loyal to King Charles I. Often, men banished from Jersey found refuge in Guernsey, like Victor Hugo or, before him, Saint Patrick, the protector of Ireland.

12. #Cars

The absence of pelicans in Herm and Sark is a real delight. On the other hand, their omnipresence in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney is a real problem. In the two largest islands there are no less than two cars per inhabitant, which is a record. Not to mention the 4x4s, which clutter up the narrow roads and village lanes!

You are from here, if...

You are Norman above all! Although more than half of the islanders were not born here, it is quite risky to confuse them with the English. The inhabitants of the archipelago are very proud of their Norman origins and their privileged relationship with France

You are well dressed. Many establishments require their customers to be properly dressed. The same goes for nightclubs. Not to be forgotten for those who wish to go out at night.

You say hello to everyone. It's good manners to say hello to everyone you pass. If you don't speak English, a smile will do

You respect nature. All the plants on the islands are protected and therefore cannot be picked. In addition, there are hiking trails for pedestrians and cyclists, so don't drive by them! Finally, be careful not to disturb the birds, which are very numerous on the islands, especially during the nesting season

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