Nature reserves

Protecting exceptional environments

Around Brittany, national and regional nature reserves have been set up to protect sensitive or endangered environments and many defend special bird habitats. In recent decades, a national body, the Conservatoire du Littoral, has been buying up beautiful stretches of the shoreline to preserve them. As for Brittany’s bays, they’re an exceptional natural wonder.

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It’s only natural 

You need to board a boat to make it out to most of the national nature reserves in Brittany, such as the Molène archipelago. Les Sept Îles beckon beyond Perros-Guirec, but are reserved for rare bird colonies such as gannets and puffins while St-Nicolas on the Îles de Glénan lie in an exclusive circle of islands. Back on the mainland’s coast, the Séné marsh beside the Golfe du Morbihan and the Côtes d’Armor’s Sillon de Talbert, an extraordinary, long, fragile finger of stones extending into the Channel, count among well-protected reserves.

Official protectors of the coastline 

The Conservatoire du Littoral is a national agency that has been acquiring magnificent coastal stretches since the mid-1970s to look after them and protect them from overuse. Their work includes strengthening dunes around Brittany by fencing off large parts, allowing sea grasses and bindweed to take root, and marking out clearer paths for walkers to stick to.

Great tidal bays 

One truly exceptional element to the Breton coastline is its huge tidal bays. Those on the north coast (Mont St-Michel, St-Brieuc, Lannion and Morlaix) are so visibly influenced by staggering tidal variations, some of the largest in the world. Out west, the stunning bays of Brest and Douarnenez are amazingly protected from the full force of the elements. On the south coast, the gorgeous Golfe du Morbihan is a magical inland sea with just the tiniest opening to the ocean, but it’s still subjected to the tides.

Did you know?

You can board an amphibious tractor on the Breton side of the Bay of Mont St-Michel to go and see the forest of posts on which mussels grow there.

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