There is little chance of being part of Les MisÃ©rables on the island of Guernsey.
While the French writer Victor Hugo wrote Les Mis on the Anglo-Norman Island when he lived there between 1855 and 1870, today you are assured of a warm welcome with a touch of Gallic flair.
Fall is a great time to take a break from this beautiful retreat and breathe in the fresh ocean air.
With the leaves turning, it is also pleasant to go on foot.
And until September 26, the Guernsey Autumn Walking Festival promises visitors a choice of 40 guided morning, afternoon and evening walks to discover the island and its little neighbors Herm and Sark.
There is no traffic chaos here, just narrow, winding country roads and coastal paths to enjoy.
Follow one of my favorites to the Moulin Huet bay. Pretty enough for Renoir to paint, you can see how he captured it through photo frames set up to represent the views through his perspective.
Younger ones will love spending a day on the beach exploring caves, paddling in rock pools, and splashing around in waterfalls as you stretch out on the sand and take a dip in the warm sea.
Fishing enthusiasts can take to the sea or cast a rod from the rocky coast to the south and the sandy beaches to the north.
For the more active among you, there are pristine golf courses and plenty of official bike tours to explore on two wheels.
St Peter Port is a gem of a town for foodies and shoppers to explore, made all the more enjoyable with the storefronts and streets sporting containers of colorful seasonal flowers.
Many of the port’s former warehouses are now converted into elegant restaurants, with menus and prices to suit all tastes.
The fresh fish dishes are delicious and we had lunch at Mora, named after the Scandinavian single-masted sailing ship that transported William the Conqueror to England to seize the Crown in 1066.
Dinner took place at Le Nautique, popular with locals for its mouthwatering classic dishes revisited.
This is definitely the place for hand dipped scallops.
For a deeper dive into the island’s gastronomy, check out Nicola Terry’s Pork, Walk And Talk tours at Wallow Farm.
Based on the WWII novel The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, it includes a tour of the deli farm, giving patrons the opportunity to learn about pig farming on the island and taste the tasty results.
The tour starts at Â£ 45 per person and includes a charcuterie tasting, G&T with local gin, and a main course dinner. See wallow.gg.
New for 2021, visitors can join Ben, Guernsey’s only seaweed producer, on a hands-on tour to learn all about the history of seaweed and its uses in agriculture, cooking and the fashion industry.
Tours start at Â£ 20 and children under 15 are free. See guernseyseaweed.com.
The island’s rich history includes the development of vineyards (greenhouses) which cultivated Canon Hall Muscat grapes for wine before being adapted over the years to grow fruits and vegetables during the dark days of WWII. global.
Rising fuel prices and competition made cultivation unsustainable, but now several large vines are coming back to life, used to grow cannabis – under strict license, for medicinal purposes – by an American company.
I’ve been working in Guernsey several times a year for half a century now, advising vineyard owners – and although a lot has changed on the horticultural front, the island remains as beautiful and relaxed as ever.
Take the bus, which runs to the island every half hour, and for a low price, get easy access to all it has to offer.
As for accommodation, there is something for all budgets.
If you want to indulge yourself, book at Hotel 4H La Fregate, an elegant townhouse with 22 bedrooms and its own terraced garden with panoramic views over St Peter Port.
It is just a five-minute walk from the city’s shopping center.
But wherever you stay on the sunny shores of Guernsey, you’ll be assured of relaxation and good life.
COVID: Fully vaccinated visitors can enter without quarantine but must purchase a five-pack of lateral flow tests for Â£ 25 and complete the Island Travel Tracker form.
GETTING THERE: Guernsey’s airline, Alderney, flies from several regional airports. Roundtrip flights from Gatwick start at Â£ 100 per person including 10kg hand luggage. See aurigny.com.
STAY: A standard double room with breakfast at Le Fregate costs from Â£ 215 per night. See lafregatehotel.com.
OUT AND ABOUT: For walking tours around the island with guide Gill Girard, see gillgirardtourguide.com. Walking festival, see visitguernsey.com/see-and-do/events-festivals/autumn-walking-festival.
MORE INFORMATION: See visitguernsey.com.