The law of 30 March 1887 on historical monuments
The 1887 act marks the culmination of half a century of measures in favour of architectural heritage. It ensures the protection of works that present, on a national scale, "an interest from the point of view of history, art or archaeology". The law lays down as founding principles that a classified building cannot be destroyed and that any intervention on the work must be subject to ministerial agreement. The protection of historic monuments finds its definitive form in the law of 31 December 1913 which widens the possibilities of classification while strengthening their scope by means of civil and criminal sanctions in case of infringement.
The first lists reflect the hesitations of a protection doctrine being elaborated: the 1840 one retains the old cathedral of Embrun, the church of Notre-Dame de Lagrand, the castle of Tallard and the "ruins of Roman women of Mont-Saléon" The latter two remains were removed from the 1846 list. The church of Saint-Victor de Chorges (which includes the remains of an ancient temple) and the chapel of the castle of Tallard (without the castle) are classified in 1862.
The law of separation of the Churches and the State transferred in 1905 the property of the cathedrals to the State and that of the churches to the communes: the Saint-Arnoux cathedral of Gap is classified in 1906 (only one year after the completion of the reconstruction work), as well as many parish churches in the early 1910s.
Additional inventory of historical monuments
The former Halle d'Abriès (dating from the early 17th century) is the first high alpine building to benefit from an inscription in the additional inventory of historical monuments. This second level of protection, introduced in the early 1920s, concerns buildings whose interest is considered "sufficient" in terms of history or art; it is then called registered building.
The first protections concern the architectural heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The 17th century was reached in 1920 with the classification of the church of Saint-Louis of Mont-Dauphin, the 18th century in 1927 with the inscription of the fountain of the hospital in Embrun.
Expansion of the Heritage Field
The number of protections increases at the rate of protection on average, per year, between 1910 and 1945, but less than half between 1945 and 1975. The creation of the "surroundings" regime in 1943 prompted the administration to refocus its attention on the immediate environment of monuments, which had been damaged by the urban growth of the post-war period. The end of the Thirty Glorious inaugurates a new dynamic of protection that reflects the widening of the heritage field: fortifications, sundials or remarkable vernacular architectures. From the 1980s onwards, 19th-century architecture appeared to be worthy of interest (Kapados manor house and the Chapel of the Holy Heart in Gap); it was soon followed by 20th-century architecture (Gondran military cable car, Guardian Angel Memorial).
The department of Hautes-Alpes has 168 historical monuments (43,000 in France) including 64 classified monuments.