There's also the option to just do as many side quests as possible, let the world die, and use the New Game+ feature to start over with all your bonus stats intact. So technically if you wanted you could just have a run at all the easier side quests, sleep at the inn non-stop, and do it all over again.
If you're decent at blocking attacks I found my general 'go-to' option for most fights, including Noel, is to spam the crap out of Heavy Strike while keeping enough AP in reserve for guarding. Heavy Strike slowly builds up the stagger gauge and once it breaks and you're dealing bonus damage just keep pumping in Overclocks. It worked for Normal Difficulty Noel with minimal side questing.
Doubt it would work on a Hard run-through though. XP