Appointed by Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, and Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea, Henry Masson, formerly regional curator of historical monuments in Brittany, Today begins a mission to make known and promote the French maritime heritage, too often unknown to the general public. The sea and the coast are at the crossroads of many public policies, but are not yet sufficiently understood in their cultural and heritage dimension. The ministers consider, by ordering this mission to Henry Masson, that France must be able to value and rely on its heritage linked to the sea, and better highlight these riches too little visible on a national scale.

The mission of Henry Masson will consist, in connection with the institutions and services responsible for the inventory, maintenance, conservation or presentation of this heritage:

  • To make nationally legible the maritime heritage footprint on the national territory, in France and overseas;
  • To propose, based on specific examples, a categorisation aimed at networking existing sites, operators and actions related to the maritime domain;
  • To enhance proposals or projects to strengthen the conditions for their conservation and development;
  • To analyse how other European countries respond to this question and the tools they have developed to do so.

To prepare a complete inventory, Henry Masson, assigned until 1er May 2022 to the General Inspection of Maritime Affairs in order to carry out its mission, will rely on the means and potential actors of the knowledge of the maritime heritage, its valorization and its development, and the central and decentralised services of the State administrations and their public establishments.
Special attention will be paid to the exceptional heritage of the lighthouses: Henry Masson will propose on this subject short, medium and long term management axes, in connection with the direction of maritime affairs. It will also indicate the means to be implemented to arouse the interest of citizens about the project «France overlooking the sea».

The Ministers also stressed that the local authorities, which now play a major role in the development of this heritage, as well as associative networks, at national and local level, must be able to provide excellent relays for the preservation or enhancement of the visibility of maritime heritage and must be particularly requested.
These exchanges will allow Henry Masson to make a report in which he will propose the axes of a collective and federated strategy of the State services to highlight the maritime heritage. This report is expected by the end of Q1 2022.