Administrative and criminal sanctions
The penal code has been amended to reinforce the repressive measures against theft, changes made without authorization and malicious acts committed on protected heritage. Offences found, such as the destruction, degradation or deterioration of a protected building or furniture object, are punishable by the provisions of the Heritage Code, the Urban Planning Code and the Penal Code.
Modifications made without authorization on a registered or classified immovable or movable object
Alterations made without authorization to an immovable or movable object registered or classified as a historic monument constitute an offence liable to criminal prosecution. These are indicated in the articles L. 641-1 and L. 641-2 of the heritage code.
Changes made without authorization on and operations likely to affect the appearance of a building on the edge of a historic monument
Implementation, without the authorization provided for in Article L. 621-32 of the Heritage Code, any transaction of such a nature as to affect the appearance of a building, whether built or not, protected in respect of the surroundings of a building classified or inscribed in respect of historical monuments shall be punished by the penalties provided for in Article L. 480-4 of the urban planning code.
The offences concerned are specified in Article L. 641-1 of the heritage code.
Destruction, degradation or deterioration of a building or movable object
In general, the destruction, degradation or deterioration of property belonging to another person is punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros, unless it has resulted in only minor damage according to the provisions of Article 322-1 of the penal code.
The making of inscriptions, signs or drawings, without prior authorization, on facades, vehicles, Public roads or street furniture is punished with a fine of EUR 3,750 and a general interest work sentence where only minor damage has resulted.
The destruction, degradation or deterioration of an immovable or movable object classified or registered as a historic monument is an offence punishable by article 322-3-1 of the penal code. The maximum penalty provided for is seven years' imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros, which may be increased to ten years' imprisonment and 150,000 euros' fine when the offence is committed with the circumstance provided for in Article 322-3. The fines mentioned can be as high as half the value of the property destroyed, degraded or deteriorated.
Criminal proceedings may be accompanied by an action for damages and a request for a prescription for rehabilitation at the expense of the offenders.
Theft of a protected cultural property
In 2008, the Criminal Code was amended, including Article 311-4-2, in order to strengthen the repressive mechanism against theft and acts of malice committed against a protected cultural property. Theft is punishable by 7 years in prison and a 100,000 euro fine. The penalties shall be increased to ten years' imprisonment and a fine of EUR 150,000 where the offence provided for in this Article is committed in one of the circumstances provided for in L. 311-4 of the Penal Code:
- theft by several persons;
- by a person who is the depositary of the public authority or who has a public service mission or who claims to be;
- theft accompanied by violence against persons;
- an act of destruction, degradation or deterioration;
Trespassing at historic or cultural sites
Trespassing at historic or cultural sites is punishable by a 5e class according to the provisions of article R 645-13 of the penal code.