Bonne Nuit Bay

Bonne Nuit Bay

 

Named after the French for ‘good night’, Bonne Nuit Bay is one of Jersey’s most charming and idyllic locations. The quaint bay is shielded by Jersey’s dramatic cliffs and sheltered from the high winds Jersey can experience that create the impressive waves the island is famous for.  The picturesque bay is a hidden gem, tucked away and frequented only by those in the know making Bonne Nuit one of the most tranquil destinations to spend some time in Jersey.  A busy hub for local fishermen, a day at the beach witnesses boats returning to shore and you will find some of the best and freshest seafood in Bonne Nuit’s restaurant.  For a small location, Bonne Nuit Bay has so much beauty to offer and for those in on the secret of Bonne Nuit, visiting this calming cove is undoubtedly a must during a visit to Jersey.

The History of Bonne Nuit Bay

For a small bay, Bonne Nuit is bursting with history.  The first record of Bonne Nuit dates back to 1150 with the name ‘Bonne Nuit’ already attached.  It is said Bonne Nuit received its name due to its reputation as a safe harbour for boats to seek refuge during treacherous weather.  The protected harbour is sheltered from high winds making it a popular location for passing boats to anchor and avoid storms.  Due to its tucked away position between the Jersey cliffs, Bonne Nuit was a popular place for smugglers to dock and trade between the 17th and 18th centuries with the majority of illegal goods that were entering Jersey at the time coming through Bonne Nuit.  In 1834, La Crete Fort was built on a headland overlooking Bonne Nuit Bay in an attempt to defend against French invasion. In more recent times, Bonne Nuit was heavily featured as a filming location in the British crime drama, Bergerac, during the 1980’s.

How to Get to Bonne Nuit Bay

Bonne Nuit is a small bay nestled in the parish of St John on Jersey’s north coast between Fremont and La Crete.  Bonne Nuit Bay can be found at the base of Jersey’s imposing cliffs by following a long, winding hill to the bottom from St John’s Village.  Access to Bonne Nuit is very easy with the location well sign-posted and easy to follow on any navigation system.  Parking in Bonne Nuit Bay is limited but spaces often free up frequently so it is worth waiting around for a parking spot.  An alternative way to visit Bonne Nuit is via public transport. Liberty Bus operates a route between St Helier and Bonne Nuit Bay with a bus service running approximately every two hours from 7am.  The route number 4 runs from Liberation Bus Station to Bonne Nuit Bay Bay with a journey time of 35 minutes.

Things to do in Bonne Nuit

Bonne Nuit may be small but there is plenty to do to warrant spending a day there.

Bonne Nuit Beach

The main attraction in Bonne Nuit is the postcard-perfect beach.  At low tide, a small stretch of sand appears and provides the perfect base to spend the day.  The beach is the best place to admire the views of Bonne Nuit, a charming cove surrounded by striking cliffs with turquoise waters lapping against the golden sands.  The views of the harbour are also spectacular resembling a Mediterranean fishing village with small boats bobbing on the surface and fishermen unloading their catch of the day.  The beach is more suited to visitors looking to sunbathe rather than swim as due to the sheer number of boats anchored along the harbour and frequent sea traffic, swimming in the waters at Bonne Nuit beach can be tricky.  However, you can still enjoy time in the sea with a walk along the water’s edge and little ones will enjoy splashing in the shallow waters.  The beach has public toilets but no hire facilities for deck chairs and other equipment so make sure to take your own with you if you wish to use it.  The beach is also dog-friendly so the whole family can come along but four-legged friends must remain on a lead between 10:30am to 6pm from May to September.

Pier Diving

A popular activity at Bonne Nuit is diving.  Competent swimmers and those who like diving enjoy practising summersaults from the harbour pier into the sea.  You will often see people strolling along the harbour before splashing in the water below.  To partake in this activity, it is highly recommended to take caution, stay clear of boat traffic and only advisable for confident swimmers.

Paragliding

The cliffs surrounding Bonne Nuit Bay are the highest in Jersey making them an excellent launch point for paragliding.  The winds in this area are very favourable for paragliding due to the shape of the cove creating a brilliant lift.  During low tide, the beach makes an excellent landing spot but if you cannot land on the sand because of high tide, you can always top land and there are numerous paragliding websites highlighting the best top landing sites around Bonne Nuit.  Paragliding on the north coast of Jersey is very scenic with a birds-eye view of Jersey’s breathtaking landscape stretching to neighbouring Channel Islands and the French coast on a clear day.  With all Bonne Nuit has to offer for paragliding, it is a very popular location with paragliding enthusiasts who head to the area to take advantage of the phenomenal heights and stick around to enjoy a spot of lunch or spend some time at the beach.

Wildlife Spotting

Due to its sheltered location, Bonne Nuit is a popular refuge for both local and migrating birds who seek the safety of Bonne Nuit Bay.  A variety of different species including rare breeds can often be spotted flying above the beach and perched on nearby rocks.  The beach is often home to large numbers of ducks who take up residence on the golden sands in groups.  Avid bird watchers will be awed by the species to be witnessed at Bonne Nuit.

Fishing

The deep water surrounding Bonne Nuit is the ideal destination for shore fishing and is popular with local anglers. A renowned fishing harbour, Bonne Nuit witnesses an abundance of sea life passing through with local fishermen setting sail daily from Bonne Nuit and returning with their catch of the day. You will commonly see fishermen unloading crab and lobster from their boats amongst many species of fish that are common in the area.

You can also partake in fishing yourself in Bonne Nuit Bay by casting a line from the harbour pier.  It is common for even amateur anglers to catch one of the most common species in the area which are Atlantic mackerel, black sea bream and Ballan wrasse.  A wide variety of other species also frequently make an appearance and if you are fishing during the winter months, you may even encounter squid.  Fishing equipment and bait is not available in Bonne Nuit so if you intend to fish, you will need to make any purchases or rentals in St Helier before you travel.  If you intend to fish in Bonne Nuit Bay, please abide by local fishing regulations.

Where to Stay in Bonne Nuit

Accommodation options in and around Bonne Nuit are extremely limited and include private rentals only.  It is highly recommended to book your stay well in advance if you are planning to stay overnight in Bonne Nuit.  If during your trip, the accommodation options in Bonne Nuit are not available, Jersey offers an extensive list of incredible hotels, guesthouses and apartments with easy access to visit Bonne Nuit by car or a direct bus from St Helier.

La Crete Fort

The historical landmark of La Crete Fort was built in 1834 in Bonne Nuit to ward off French invasion.  In the present day, La Crete Fort is the official summer home of the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey but when the Lieutenant Governor is not in residence, La Crete Fort is open to the public for private rental.  This unique accommodation option is managed by Jersey Heritage and is one of the most interesting holiday rental properties on the island.  La Crete Fort sleeps up to 5 with a double bedroom, a single bedroom and a double sofa bed and dogs are also welcome to stay for an additional charge.  The kitchen is fully-equipped for cooking and dining whilst the shower room is incredibly spacious.  The highlight of La Crete Fort is its remote location and the tranquil atmosphere it provides.  Due to its secluded position, the fort does not receive a television signal and no WiFi is available, the perfect opportunity for a digital detox and some uninterrupted quality time.  The fort is nestled on a headland that is part of Jersey National Park and boasts outstanding sea views that also take in neighbouring Channel Islands and the coast of France on a clear day.  La Crete Fort also features a secluded rooftop terrace, the ideal place to witness some stunning Jersey sunsets off in the distance.

Bonne Nuit Coastal Apartment

This private rental option is one of St John’s most popular accommodation choices and is perfectly located above Bonne Nuit Bay. Situated on the cliffs above Bonne Nuit and witnessing Jersey’s stunning coastal views, the Bonne Nuit Coastal Apartment is perfectly located for spending time at the beach below. Not only is the apartment in an ideal position for spending time at Bonne Nuit, it is also located on the Liberty Bus route to St Helier providing excellent connections across the island. This two-bedroom apartment has a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a calm colour palette and homely furnishings. Featuring two double bedrooms, a family bathroom and an en-suite bathroom, the apartment is an ideal accommodation option for parties of up to 4. The apartment is fully equipped with everything you need for a home away from home retreat including WiFi, kitchen equipment and televisions in both the lounge and bedrooms. With all the facilities available at the Bonne Nuit Coastal Apartment, you can pack light as even beach towels are provided and the apartment also features a washing machine. The balcony is kitted with patio furniture and enjoys the morning sunlight, a beautiful location to enjoy an early coffee or a spot of breakfast. Bonne Nuit Coastal Apartment is a very popular accommodation option and it is recommended to book your stay in advance.

Where to Eat in Bonne Nuit

Dining options in Bonne Nuit are limited due to its rural location, however, the Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe, the only dining location in Bonne Nuit, is a must-visit.  For those staying in Bonne Nuit or wanting an alternative dining option after a day at the beach, a few restaurants and cafes can also be found in St John’s Village less than a mile away.

Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe

Bonne Nuit is a small location, home to just one small cafe offering beach-side dining with exceptional views, open daily from 8:30am to 8:45pm between the end of March and the end of October.  Breakfast and sandwiches are served from opening until 3pm with the main menu served from 12pm until closing.  Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe’s menu offers a delicious selection of Thai dishes that can be enjoyed by dining in or can be collected as a takeaway to enjoy a Thai picnic on the beach.  The Thai dishes are made from only the freshest ingredients with an excellent selection of locally caught seafood and a speciality option that changes daily depending on the catch of the day.  Bonne Nuit Beach Cafe receives 5 star reviews and is popularly known as the best Thai restaurant in Jersey.

L’Auberge Du Nord Pub & Restaurant

Located less than a mile from Bonne Nuit on the outskirts of St John’s Village, L’Auberge Du Nord is a traditional British pub built at the end of the 17th century and offers an exceptional menu.  The restaurant is open daily from 10am until late serving breakfast, lunch and dinner including a very popular Sunday Carvery.  During the summer months, the beer garden is a sun trap and a beautiful place to dine with outdoor seasonal events and delicious barbecue meals.  The pub is family-friendly featuring both indoor and outdoor children’s play areas and also welcoming dogs.

The Horse Box Cafe

At home in Millenium Cross Car Park in St John’s Village, a mile from Bonne Nuit, The Horse Box Cafe is not your average roadside cafe.  Street food dining is served from a renovated horse box with a menu that locals rave about.  The menu features typical breakfast offerings such as bacon rolls as well as burgers, sandwiches and a delicious array of sweet treats.  The Horse Box Cafe is the perfect place to stop off after a day in Bonne Nuit with a great selection of ice cream and milkshakes in addition to Belgian waffles and scrumptious cakes.  Not only does the horse box serve delicious food, you can also find horse treats, local maps and receive expert knowledge on the area from the friendly staff.  Overlooking Jersey’s north coast, The Horse Box Cafe features picnic tables complete with parasols for protection against the summer sun and the location offers sea views also taking the nearby islands and Normandy coastline.