Don’t let the name fool you; the archipelago of the Sept Îles off the coast of Ploumanac’h in fact only boasts five true islands: the Île Bono, the Île Plate, the Île aux Moines (the best known), Malban, and Rouzic. Les Costans is simply a cluster of rocks mostly visible at low tide, and Le Cerf, only an islet. This interesting fact is the first of many surprises of ever-increasing size that await you on this wonderful site. You’ll learn what led to the creation of the bird sanctuary of the 7 Îles as it appears today. In fact, in 1910, the Compagnie des chemins de fer de l’Ouest (Western Railway Company) came up with the idea of hunting trips for lovers of bird shooting. This led to the puffin population shrinking to a tenth of its original size in two years! The outrage it provoked was so great that the natural site was declared protected in 1912 (receiving “Réserve Naturelle” status in 1976).
The birds native to the archipelago were rapidly joined by other species. 25,000 pairs have been identified here, including 20,000 couples of northern gannets who nest here every summer. You’ll be able to approach them by boat, and hopefully, also spot the approximately 30 elusive grey seals that have decided to make a home on the islands. Even if you don’t know much about birds, this is a chance to learn a bit more about them on our threatened land, and the very names of these close neighbours sound intriguing in their own right, with names such as Atlantic puffin, European shag, common guillemot, northern fulmar, and herring, great black-backed and lesser black-backed gull.
Boats depart from Ploumanac’h and Perros-Guirec, and you also have the choice between motor or sail boat. There’s nothing but fun on the horizon!