10 July, 2013 / By Nejma Bk / 231 views

Gems of the English Channel I



Channel Islands have a very peculiar history. They are remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, hence the numerous street and village names in French.

Very close to France, it is the United Kingdom that is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands, although Jersey and Guernsey have a different relationship with UK.

They are not members of the Commonwealth nor the European Union but have special links with the later.

Both Crown Dependencies have their own interchangeable bilingual French English currency. They do accept Bank of England and Scottish notes, as well as Euros. Both islands also print their own stamps.

The legal institutions of Jersey are bilingual because the texts of law are a mix of Norman, French and English texts, although the working language is English.


The Channel Islands are fascinating. Not really French, not really British, not in the European Union but yet Islanders are full British Citizens although if they do not have parents from the UK or spent 5 years there they need to apply for a Schengen Visa if they wish to travel in the EU.

The Channel Islands are actually not a constitutional nor a political unit. The name appears around around 1830, possibly as a collective name for the islands to make it easier for the Royal Navy to mention them.


Some of its inhabitants still speak Jèrriais, a Norman dialect, with is closer to Cajun than to French.

The Islanders have also kept some Norman traditions, especially in Sark.


Jersey has a very interesting history going from the Neolithic to WWII.

It the largest island of the archipelago. A few uninhabited islands and rocks collectively named Les Dirouilles, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers, Les Pierres de Lecq and other tiny reefs are also part of it.

What to see in St Helier

The capital city of Jersey is a cute little town. Its name is taken after Helier, a 6th-century ascetic hermit.

The city can be easily discovered in a day.

Jersey Museum and Art Gallery

The museum presents a fascinating history of 250 000 years.

Liberation Square

Jersey was occupied by Nazis during 5 years. They used it as a camp for prisoners. The inhabitants who decided to stay did not approve of this at all and tried to resist as much as they could.


Elizabeth Castle

Built on a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay, Elizabeth Castle can be reached by foot. Make sure to check the tide times first.

It can also be reach by ferry during high tide.

Check the opening schedule ahead. It is not open during winter.

Statue of the Toad

"A monument was erected at Charing Cross in St Helier in 2004, as part of the commemoration of the octocentenary of Jersey's status of Crown Dependency, and in memory of the presence on the site between 1698 and 1812 of the island's prison. The monument, created by Gordon Young, consists of a 9-foot tall column of polished Jersey granite into which is carved extracts from the Code Le Geyt of 1698 concerning crimes and applicable punishments. On top of the column is a Jersey crapaud - the site was originally marsh land, and the numerous toad colonies in the area are the source of the nickname commonly applied to Jersey people."

For the story, inhabitants of Guernsey are nicknamed ânes (donkeys) by the crapauds (toads).


St Helier Beach

Long sand beach going from St Helier to St Aubin (tides depending).

Havre des Pas

There is a swimming pool near the beach.

The walk from Havre des Pas to Saint Helier is a nice one.

Hotels are cheaper than in the city centre and there are lovely Victorian houses in the neighborough.

I stayed in the marvellous La Bonne Vie Guesthouse and really recommend it. The owner is lovely. It is only 600m from the beach. And if you book from this link, you will have a discount.


This is where you take the ferry or the catamaran to France or the other islands of the archipelago.

The coordinates of Jersey are written in big on the wall facing the harbour.

Make sure to stroll on the docks to see the opening words of the NATO phonetic alphabet.


The colourful Central and Beresford Street Markets have been existing for over 200 years now.

Central Market
Beresford Street Market

Liberty Wharf

Former abattoir which restored and converted into a shopping centre right in front of the harbour.

Fort Regent 

19th-century fortification right in the middle of the city.

Steam Clock

This clock is a full-scale replica of a section of a steamboat named the Ariadne. When it was still working with steam, the Guinness Book of Records listed it as the world’s largest steam clock.

It was later converted to electricity. It is not working anymore but still a fun sight to see.


Lovely St Andrew`s Church.

The Glass Church

St Matthew's Church is renowned for its glass-work by René Lalique.

Lalique was a French glass designer. 

Do not be fooled by the appearance of the church, the glass-work is really worth a look.


There is a Late Neolithic site that had been excavated in St Helier. It is composed of a rectangular chamber set within an enclosure of upright stones. The structures date back to 3250-2250 BC.

The entry is free.

Freedom Tree

Sculpture by Richard Perry set in front of the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Unveiled by the Queen in 2005, the tree and the poem from

The scupture and poem from the Jersey born poet Linda Rose Parkes commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of the people of Jersey.

The tree represents Freedom, Peace and Hope for the future.

Green Street Cemetery

This is the second oldest cemetery in the city.

La Vaque dé Jèrri

Would Jersey be Jersey without the Jersey Cow?

The Jersey Cow is native to the island and produce a very rich milk. There is no comparaison with the milk made by other dairy cow breeds.

The Jersey breed is protected by legislation since 1763.

Also I looove their head!


Gems of the English Channel IV - Guernsey the Green Island
Gems of the English Channel III - Sark the Feudal Island
Gems of the English Channel II - Jersey the Flower Island