The sense of places

The Grand Sites de France, emblematic landscapes

The Pointe du Raz, the Pont du Gard, the Cirque de Navacelles are just some of the emblematic Grands Sites de France landscapes.

The Grands Sites de France are protected by the French law of 2nd May 1930 concerning “the protection of natural monuments and sites of artistic, historic, legendary or picturesque character”. They enjoy very great fame; most have “three stars” in tourist guidebooks.

The sense of places

Sublime or picturesque, grandiose or intimist, captivating or soothing, each of the Grands Sites de France has their own distinctive “spirit”. Great painters, poets and writers like Cézanne for Montagne Sainte Victoire and Victor Hugo and Michelet pour the Pointe du Raz have drawn on this to convey it.

The Grands Sites de France managers joined together in the “Grands Sites de France Network” to pursue one ambition: to put the preservation of the “sense of places” at the heart of everything they do, so that every visitor, both today and tomorrow, can live the experience of the site as described by Kenneth White, writer and founder of the Institut international de géopoétique, guest of honour at the founding meeting of the network.

Though the Grands Sites de France are diverse in nature they share similar challenges

  • The preservation and restoration of fragile and attractive landscapes
  • The intelligent organisation of high visitor numbers that have to be managed and contained
  • The promotion of the values of sustainable development

This is why they require active, proximity management carried out by local organisations that are an indispensable complement to the regulations set out by the state.