Friday, 1 April 2011

ST BRELADE/PORTELET BAY

St Brelade’s Bay has a big, sweeping crescent shaped beach lined with hotels, restaurants and cafes. Overlooking this enticing scene is the St Brelade parish church, which has alongside it the Fishermen’s Chapel, which, dating from the 11th century, is older than the church. During restoration work frescoes from the 14th century were discovered in the chapel, the one in best condition depicting The Annunciation.

Such is the appeal of the nearby highly picturesque Portelet Bay that it is often used in promotional material for Jersey tourism. The golden sandy beach is lovely, but escapes the worst crowds due to the long descent down via steps. Of course what goes down must come back up, but there is an pub at the top with lovely views where any thirst brought on by the climb can be quenched. There is a large rock just off the beach reachable by a short causeway – a kind of baby St Michael’s Mount – with a small martello tower on top dating from 1818. There is a sad story attached to this island, which is called l’Ile au Guerdain, or Janvrin’s tomb. Philippe Janvrin was a local seaman who in 1721 died of plague while out at sea. Due to the hysteria surrounding this particular disease the locals would not allow the body on land, but instead allowed it to be buried on the island, although it was later moved to nearby St Brelade.

Map of the area.

Portelet from Noirmontphoto © 2005 Man vyi | more info (via: Wylio)

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