France has multiple landscapes and monuments. 2,700 are classified and 4,000 defined as “registered”. The definition given by the Ministry of Culture for a classified site is “a site of an artistic, historical, scientific, legendary or picturesque nature, the quality of which calls, in the name of the general interest, for conservation in good condition and preservation from any serious harm.” This procedure is often used to protect a landscape considered remarkable or exceptional.

It is the State services, such as communities or associations that initiate conservation action. Individuals can also request it. It will be formulated in the form of a dossier, which the Regional Department of Ecology, Planning and Housing will study. It is then the Minister in charge of Sites or the Council of State, by decree, who will classify the site.

After having been defined as a classified site, any request for work which could modify its state must be the subject of a special authorization. The classification is therefore more restrictive than the procedure of the registered site.

Indeed, for this one the places theoretically require less protection. In this sense, there is no mention of the conservation of its quality in the name of the general interest. In addition, the procedure is simpler: “On a registered site, the administration must be informed at least 4 months in advance of work projects. The Architecte des Bâtiments de France issues a simple opinion, except for demolition permits which require an assent.”

Planet has produced, in the slideshow below, the ranking of the 30 most popular landscapes in France, according to data from the search engine Likibu.