Since 1976, as part of a national policy introduced by the French State, there are some ambitious projects with regards the development and management of the national heritage sites that have been classified as the most prestigious and the most visited.

A national policy for popular classified sites


These development and management projects are carried out as part of the Operations Grands Sites (OGS), partnership approaches that bring together the State, local authorities and site stakeholders. Large Site Operations result in concrete improvement interventions: rehabilitation of degraded areas, improvement or creation of reception facilities, etc.

They are based on strong principles which must be respected by all partners who commit to one of these projects:

  • Respect for the "spirit of the place" which is unique to each site. This serves as the basis of any project carried out on a Grand Site
  • A Grand Site's primary purpose is to welcome the public and to educate
  • The visitor numbers to a site must be compatible with its conservation which means that the visitor numbers must be controlled and managed
  • The inhabitants must be involved with the projects and the life of the Grand Site
  • The economic benefits of the project must benefit the entire territory and its region.
GSF logo

Label of excellence

The Grand Site de France label was created by the State to recognize the quality of the management of these protected landscapes, in accordance with the spirit of the place and the principles of sustainable development. The Grand Site Operations and the Grand Site de France label are the two pillars of the Grand Site de France policy.

The Network of Grands Sites de France brings together the local authorities managing Grands Sites who are actively involved in this project.

These Grands Sites, active members of the Network of Great Sites of France, cover more than 350 municipalities, 35 departments, 12 regions, have around 900 inhabitants and welcome more than 000 million annual visitors. (INSEE 32 census data and RGSF data).

"Operation Grand Site" and "Grand Site de France" and "Grand Site" are protected trademarks, property of the French State

The life of a Grand Site in France is made up of many stages, which can be grouped into three main phases :


The analysis
of the situation and

The first phase corresponds to the preliminary period, known as the "situation analysis", during which communities and partners check whether there is just cause to embark upon the process of applying for the Grand Site de France label, set up the legal organisation that will lead the project and prepare their application.

This takes the form of a "detailed note"which will be presented to the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition.

If the application is accepted, the project enters the second phase, the Operation Grand Site...




The second phase of the project is called "Operation Grand Site". This project phase covers the entire period before obtaining the label and can sometimes take several years. The partners involved in the process carry out several compulsory studies, with the advice and regular monitoring of DREAL, from the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition: landscape study, study of flow management, ecological study, signposting study ...

From these studies and their conclusions, a plan of actionis drawn up, describing all the developments and achievements to be carried out around the future Grand Site de France, to be in with a chance of obtaining the label. This plan of action will always aim to preserve the quality of the place, in keeping with sustainable development, and to find the right balance in terms of visitor numbers.

Once the plan of action has been put in place and the planned developments have been carried out, the completed application for obtaining the label can be presented to the Ministry ...



If the ministerial committee deems that the plan of action has been carried out to a satisfactory level, and that the territory can claim the label, it is awarded and the territory is therefore added to the list of Grand Site de France for the coming 6 years.

A commitment is made: to pursue the sustainable management of the area with rigor and to manage the whole area with the main principles of the label in mind.

Every 6 years, this is reviewed and the ministerial committee decides whether or not to renew the label, depending on whether the commitment has been respected!