Jersey is an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France. It is the largest of the Channel Islands (118.2 square kilometres or 45.6 sq mi) and is located 22km (14 miles) from the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, France. It has a coastline that is 70 km long and measures roughly 9 miles from west to east and 5 miles north to south, which gives it the affectionate name among locals of “nine-by-five”.
The island is divided into twelve parishes (all named after their parish church), the largest of which is St Ouen and the smallest of which is St Clement. The island is characterised by a number of valleys which generally run north-to-south, such as Waterworks Valley, Grands Vaux, Mont les Vaux, although a few run in other directions, such as Le Mourier Valley. The highest point on the island is Les Platons at 136 m.
Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown, though never became part of the Kingdom of England.
Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom and has an international identity separate from that of the UK, but the UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey.
The island has a large financial services industry, which generates 40% of its GVA. British cultural influence on the island is evident in its use of English as the main language and Pound sterling as its primary currency. Additional British cultural commonalities include driving on the left, access to British television and newspapers, a school curriculum following that of England and the popularity of British sports, including cricket. The island also has a strong Norman-French culture, such as its ancient Norman language Jèrriais and place names with French or Norman origins.
01. Jersey airport
02. Old shed for the defunct Jersey Airlines
03. Rozel Bay, the closest beach to where I used to live. I would walk there down Rozel Valley through the daffodil fields until I reached the shore.
04. A simple burger at the Hungry Man, Rozel’s most famous beach café. I loved walking there to get a coffee and watch the waves, while throwing muffin crumbs to the ducks. The tiny colourful houses on the background are beach huts.
05. Another view of Rozel. The tide is low, exposing the sandy beach.There used to be a lovely seafood restaurant on the seafront (the blue square house in the center of the picture), but I believe it’s now closed.
06. Jersey has 19 beaches and they are home to a plethora of fauna and flora. Masses of succulents cascade down the sunny rocks, providing shelter for little lizards.
07. This is where the old abattoir used to be, and in recent years it was turned into a mall. It wasn’t very popular. Retail isn’t one of Jersey’s strong points; there aren’t enough inhabitants to justify having a lot of shops. People do their shopping online (Ebay, Amazon, etc. but several retailers won’t deliver to Channel Islands postcodes), take weekend shopping trips to the UK or France or get by with whatever is available locally. The upside: Jersey doesn’t charge VAT tax, meaning that anything bought in the island or coming into the island from the UK is at least 20% cheaper – hence the many cosmetics/perfume shops, very popular with locals and tourists.
08. and 09. The parish of Saint Helier is Jersey’s capital and main retail area. There are plenty cafés, restaurants and shops, and also houses the bus station to where the vast majority of bus lines converge. Public transport isn’t a strong point either, as most people have cars and never take the buses.
10. Le Crapaud, the toad statue in Saint Helier in honour of the nickname given to the Jersey people by the french. It’s sometimes used as a meeting point; “see you at three by the toad!”