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e-book Cycle Touring in France: Eight selected cycle tours (Cicerone Guides)

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Link to audio file To subscribe to all my podcasts in ITunes click here If you enjoyed this podcast, check out all my other Travel Podcasts in my Podcast Archive. We flew into Guernsey from Bristol and spent the afternoon exploring the rocky southern coastline with cliffs and a few beaches, although the bigger beaches are on the north coast where the shoreline becomes flatter. You can walk along the cliff path from St Peter Port and find beach cafes where you can sit in the sun and have a cream tea or ice cream.

As we drove along the road we saw hedge veg stalls where people sell their fresh produce outside their houses and you leave the money in a box. Finally, we ended up at Portelet Harbour on the south-west corner of the island and sat in the garden of the beach kiosk eating crab sandwiches overlooking the sea. As the sun was shining we decided to walk along some of the coastal paths we had seen the day before.

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We followed the small wooded path down to Fermain Bay, a popular beach as it is one of the first beaches you get to if walking from St Peter Port. The cafe has an excellent reputation for food, but it was a bit early for lunch so we had a coffee and then continued our walk around the headland.


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The cliff path passed through stands of pines, giving it a South of France feel, with the turquoise sea sparkling below. We reached Jerbourg point where there are gun emplacement and German fortifications and then turned inland along the lane back to Sausmarez Manor. Sausmarez Manor is a beautiful Queen Anne manor house and there are guided tours on certain days, but not while we were there. The gardens around the house are free but there is also a sculpture trail that I visited which is like an outdoor art gallery, with sculptures set in a woodland setting beside a lake. Next we stopped at The Little Chapel — a tiny chapel just a few paces long covered with broken crockery, shells and mosaic.

The museum is housed in a traditional whitewashed building that is bigger than it looks.

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There is interesting information about how Guernsey survived the German occupation, as there was a lot of hardship and food got very scarce. At the end of the war after D day there could be no re-supply from France, and the people would have starved had it not been for a Red Cross ship coming in to bring food parcels. The Germans were severe in their punishments and you could be imprisoned or deported for having a radio or painting a V for victory sign.

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The three Jews deported from Guernsey were sent to Auschwitz and never returned. Upstairs in the museum is a street scene with vehicles and models dressed as if they were queuing outside a shop for rations. There is a big fishing boat in the museum and fishing was restricted as many of the beaches were mined and you had to have a special licence to fish and take a German out in the boat to prevent people escaping to England.

After our look around the museum we walked around the harbour of St Peter Port to see the yachts with flags flying and bunting for the Royal Diamond Jubilee weekend and explored some of the winding streets on the hill behind the harbour.


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  • I interviewed Gill Girard who is a guide on Guernsey and has recently been doing tours on the theme of the bestselling novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is set on Guernsey. The German fortifications, towers and tunnels mentioned in the book are still here and there are museums such as the German Occupation Museum and La Vallette underground military museum in St Peter Port for visitors to see.

    It is hoped that the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie book will be made into a film and Gill was recently showing film director Kenneth Branagh around the island while he was researching film locations. The Isle of Sark is another smaller channel island, close to Guernsey, that can easily be reached by taking a ferry from the harbour at St Peter Port. There around people on board for the 45 minute ferry ride across to Sark and when we arrived the cliff loomed above the landing pier.

    The 5 minute ride pulled by tractor took us up to the main village of Sark with a bank, some cafes and shops where you could stock up with provisions. A well-known feature of Sark is that the island has no cars, as the residents have made a conscious decision to keep it that way, so all transport is by horse drawn carriage, bike, walking or tractor.

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    There are horses and carriages waiting for hire but we decided to hire bikes from Avenue cycle hire , one of the several bike hire places on the island. The island is only 3 miles long but there is a surprising amount to see, especially if you want to stop for lunch, so although we returned on the 4pm ferry we could have easily stayed on a couple more hours until the 6pm ferry. We got off our bikes to cross La Coupee — until the Second World War the path was not fenced and could be quite dangerous to cross in bad weather.

    We decided to have lunch at La Sablonnerie Hotel on Little Sark, a long, whitewashed building that was once a farmhouse. We chatted to hotel owner Elizabeth Perez, who told us that her parents had owned the hotel building and gradually started opening it to guests. We sat in the sunny garden where I had half a lobster, locally caught and topped with a frothy butter sauce. My daughter had Sark lamb which was very tender and presented in a classic French style with the sauce in a small copper saucepan.

    On the way we passed several scarecrows on display for the scarecrow competition with a Regal theme for the Royal Jubilee — there was King Henry the eighth, a Grenadier guard and the King of Kings at the church. There is a walled garden with lovely herbaceous borders and fountains and a maze to get lost in. Unfortunately it was raining on our last day on Guernsey and by 11 am we arrived at the Victor Hugo house in St Peter Port, but found that all the tours were by timed entry and the next tour was at Everyone put their fingers in their ears, as the noise was deafeneing and after that I ran back up the hill for the The 18th century French novelist and poet, Victor Hugo was exiled first from France and then from Jersey for his political views and finally settled at Hauteville House on Guernsey.

    Victor Hugo threw his artistic energies into the decorations for Hauteville House, collecting carved wood antiques, rich tapestries and embroideries, tiles and glassware. The house is a cross between the Palace of Versailles and a darkly pannelled Tudor house where Victor Hugo used and reconstructed the antiques as he liked, with old panels, sea chests and benches from churches. After seeing the biliard room and dining rooms on the ground floor, you go upstairs to the exotic Chinese salon where he would entertain and his bedroom with the carved oak four-poster bed.

    The house is a tall and narrow but the garden hidden behind is surprisingly large and planted in country style with roses, flower filled borders and fountains, overlooking the bay. I highly recommend that you try to to see the house but be sure to go early to book your tour, as it is clearly very popular. After the tour we crossed the island to Fort Grey as my husband wanted to buy a Guernsey jumper from the shop next to Guernsey Pearl.

    The Guernsey jumpers are made on a frame, with the neck and arm detail being finished by hand. We had a late lunch at Cobo Tearoom in Cobo Bay which was the ideal place to shelter from the rain, with cheerful yellow walls, flowery tablecloths and a nice selection of home-made cakes.

    Cycle Touring in France: Eight selected cycle tours (Cicerone Guides)

    We ordered a crab salad with coleslaw and bread and Guy ordered the local speciality of Bean Jar which is the Guernsey equivalent of Cassoulet. Then we went on to the St Pierre Park Hotel where we were staying for our final night, a large 4 star hotel with a lake, gardens and golf course. The hotel rooms were very nice and we decided to eat in the hotel bar where I enjoyed my new favourite tipple of Rocquette cider which is brewed on the island of Guernsey. Guernsey is a lovely place to visit in spring, summer or autumn with so much to see and do that you would need a week or more to see it all.

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    Tents Bivy Bags Tarps. Hammocks Tent Accessories. Running Packs. Sandals Trail Running Footwear Accessories. Climbing Shoes. Add to Wishlist Add to Compare. Quick Overview The guide presents a personal selection of the most picturesque cycling routes through the mountains of south-east France. The nine tours - eight circuits plus the 'Grand Traverse' from Geneva to Nice - include the 'classic' high passes of the French Alps Galibier, Iseran, Izoard, etc as well as many lesser known areas of the pre-Alps and Southern Jura.

    Product Tags Add Your Tags:. Why buy from Bogong? Best gear We have Australia's best range of quality lightweight hiking, climbing, travel and mountaineering gear. Drop in to view our huge range of lightweight gear, including our upstairs tent showroom.