Protect an object, a building, a space
Each year, approximately 300 buildings and 1500 movable objects are protected as historical monuments. The application for protection may be made by the owner or any person with an interest in it. There are nearly 850 outstanding heritage sites among the towns, villages or neighbourhoods whose conservation, restoration, rehabilitation or development is of historical, architectural, archaeological, artistic or landscape interest.
The historical monuments
The protection of historic monuments is not a label but a servitude of public utility based on the heritage interest of a property, which is assessed by examining a set of historical, artistic, scientific and technical criteria. The notions of rarity, exemplarity, authenticity and integrity of goods are taken into account. Based on these criteria, the Regional Heritage and Architecture Commissions (RCAP) and the National Commission on Heritage and Architecture (CNPA) advise on applications for protection.
Buildings or parts of buildings, whether built or not (buildings, caves, gardens, parks, archaeological remains and land containing such remains) and movable objects may be protected (classification or inscription) (furniture by nature or buildings by destination, such as organs). “Traditional” heritages (churches and castles for buildings, religious art objects for movable objects) remain the vast majority in all historical monuments, and continue to form the majority of protected assets each year. However, a significant change in the categories of protected property has taken place since the 1970s: gardens, buildings and movable objects of the XIXe and XXe centuries, industrial, scientific and technical heritage (factories, buildings and structures of railway, ships, trains, planes or automobiles, scientific collections) now occupy a significant place, although still a minority, of goods classified and registered.
Since the establishment of the Historic Monuments Commission in 1837, more than 44,000 buildings and nearly 300,000 movable objects, including more than 1,400 organs, have been protected by classification or inscription. The procedures and criteria for protection currently in force aim to supplement, by type, the stock of protected buildings and movable objects.
Approximately 300 building protection measures (listing or classification) are taken each year; however, a significant proportion of these measures do not represent new protections, but revisions of old protections (additional protection or classification of items already entered). The number of protection measures for movable objects taken each year is approximately 1,500.
Remarkable Heritage Sites
In order to clearly identify heritage issues in the same territory, Remarkable Heritage Sites (SPR) are covered by management plans – Protection and Enhancement Plan (PSMV) or Architecture and Heritage Enhancement Plan (PVAP) – the development of which involves State departments and local authorities. Moreover, the appropriation of heritage issues related to a territory by citizens is essential: mediation tools are thus implemented in order to raise awareness among residents and visitors.
The procedure for classifying outstanding heritage sites implies a partnership between the State services and local authorities. On a proposal or agreement of the municipality or the municipality, the remarkable heritage site shall be classified by decision of the Minister responsible for culture after the opinion of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture, guaranteeing the public interest and the unity of heritage protection in our territory. The commitment of local authorities and the State is thus guaranteed from the classification of the remarkable heritage site.
In practice, the local authority, in connection with the regional service of the Ministry of Culture in charge of heritage and architecture, develops a preliminary study defining the perimeter of the remarkable heritage site and the heritage and urban issues. This preliminary study is submitted to the National Commission on Heritage and Architecture, which must express its opinion on the relevance of the classification of remarkable heritage sites and recommend, where appropriate, the most appropriate management document.
This classification entails the obligation for the local authority to draw up at least a plan for the development of architecture and heritage, or a plan for the preservation and development of all or part of the remarkable heritage site, to establish a local commission for the Remarkable Heritage Site and to develop tools for mediation and citizen participation.
The expertise of the architect of the Bâtiments de France is required for all work located within the perimeter of a remarkable heritage site. The Minister is responsible for ensuring that the work does not interfere with the conservation or development of the Remarkable Heritage Site. As such, it remains at the disposal of project holders upstream of the filing of a work authorization to advise them.