The Centre des monuments nationaux maintains close links with UNESCO
France currently has 35 sites listed on the World Heritage List. Thirteen of the monuments managed by the CMN are listed. The CNM is therefore the leading manager of world heritage sites in France.
The CMN monuments listed on the World Heritage List:
- Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel (inscription in 1979)
- Chartres Cathedral (1979)
- Eyzies-de-Tayac (1979)
- Towers of Amiens Cathedral (1981)
- Towers of Reims Cathedral and the Palace of Tau (1991)
- Towers and crypt of Bourges Cathedral (1992)
- Château and ramparts of Carcassonne (1997)
- Château d’Azay-le-Rideau (Val de Loire, 2000)
- Stronghold of Mont-Dauphin (Fortifications of Vauban, 2008)
Other monuments managed by the CMN are currently candidates to be listed (Villa Savoye, the architectural and urban works of Le Corbusier).
Each property has to be presented to UNESCO by the state parties to the World Heritage Convention and is listed on the basis of ’exceptional universal value’ criteria.
On 29 October 2009, France was elected for a four-year term to the World Heritage Committee, which is responsible for deciding whether or not to list a property on the World Heritage List.
France last sat on the Committee from 1993 to 1999. The CMN is actively involved in the Association of French World Heritage Properties, which is an area for sharing experience and expertise in terms of management, conservation, site development and managing tourist flows.
Since the signing on 20 September 2010 of a Charter for the management of France’s world heritage properties between the French state (the Minister of Culture and Secretary of State for the Environment) and the Association, the CMN has been working with the Association to create a network of all the agents involved in the management of each of the properties, with a view to elaborating specific management plans.
ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) is a non-governmental organisation devoted to promoting the theory, methodology and technology of conservation and to developing architectural, urban and rural heritage, both tangible and intangible.
ICOMOS France is contributing, through its ideas and expertise, to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, in conjunction with both the French government and UNESCO, and provides expert consultancy services to the World Heritage Committee for the listing of properties.
The CMN President is a permanent member of the governing board of ICOMOS France and regularly attends its meetings. The CMN also attends meetings of the World Heritage working group organised by ICOMOS France.
Réseau des sites majeurs Vauban
The Network of the Major Sites of Vauban Association was created in March 2005 to coordinate and present the candidacy of Vauban’s Major Sites for inscription on the World Heritage List and also to develop a heritage, tourist and cultural network around Vauban’s work.
Up until 2008, the association worked on creating the candidacy dossier, amassing a wealth of relevant scientific information and technical documents for analysing the geography, culture, heritage value and history of the Vauban sites selected.
With the aid of a new structure, the Network is currently expanding its experience of coordination and of managing fortified heritage sites to develop founding and innovative skills. This includes a project for a resource and documentation centre, study and training days and projects for cultural and pedagogical events.
The CMN regularly attends the general meetings of the Network in its capacity of managing authority of the stronghold of Mont-Dauphin.
Label patrimoine européen
On 19 March 2007, the Minister of Culture and Communications, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, unveiled the first ’European Heritage’ plaque at the Abbey of Cluny, in the presence of Giorgos Voulgarakis, the Greek Minister of Culture and Isabel Pires de Lima, the Portuguese Minister of Culture.
The Abbey of Cluny, managed and opened to the public by the CMN, thereby became the first site to obtain the European Heritage Label.
Launched as an initiative of France, in close coordination with the European Commission, the purpose of the European Heritage Label is to highlight the European dimension of the cultural properties, monuments and natural, urban and historical sites which bear witness to European heritage and history. It encompasses contemporary heritage as well as intangible heritage which is associated with a particular site. Its goal is to strengthen European citizens’ sense of a common European identity and to enhance their sense of belonging to a common cultural space.
After the Abbey of Cluny, other French sites that have received the European Heritage Label are Robert Schuman’s house at Scy Chazelles (57) and the courtyard of the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) in Avignon (84).
Vocations Patrimoine is an NGO headed by Professor Yves Coppens which was created in 2002 to promote the preservation and development of exceptional heritage sites. Vocations Patrimoine designs and develops exclusive programmes in conjunction with partner institutions, both public and private, in France and abroad.
In May 2010, as part of the ’Workshops on Mediterranean Heritage Management’ programme, representatives of many countries from the Union for the Mediterranean gathered in Paris to discuss the economic and tourism management of major heritage sites.
The CMN took part in this programme by hosting six laureates of this programme, which covered all of the countries in the Union for the Mediterranean. These laureates, who are young heritage professionals, will receive an additional month’s training at monuments managed by the CMN.
On 16 July 2010, Luc Chatel, the Minister of National Education, and Isabelle Lesmesle, President of the Centre des monuments nationaux, signed a framework agreement providing for the development of educational facilities at monuments managed by the CMN. This formed part of the policy of expanding artistic and cultural education, set out by the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Culture and Communications.
Drawing on the geographical coverage of the CMN, the agreement provides for local partnerships between teaching establishments and monument authorities, thereby providing direct access to sites throughout the country. It also provides for assistance to the CMN in creating comprehensive pedagogical dossiers for teachers and in its efforts to reach less culturally-orientated sections of the public through the development of online resources and virtual access to monuments and exhibitions.
This agreement is a testimony to the desire of the Ministry of National Education to support CMN’s activities by substantially increasing the number of teachers working at our monuments, thanks to a subsidy which will result in doubling the number of hours which teachers spend at our monuments.
Vieilles Maisons Françaises (VMF)
On 16 July 2010, a partnership agreement was signed between the CMN and the association Vieilles Maisons Françaises (VMF). Through this partnership, a strong synergy has been created between public and private heritage, each enhancing the other.
VMF is a national association devoted to safeguarding private heritage sites, raising public awareness and sharing knowledge. Underpinned by a strong network of regional and departmental offices, it provides legal and fiscal consultancy services on matters relating to insurance and restoration for its 20,000 members.
Through this partnership, VMF highlights the role of the CMN to its members and encourages the large private owners of its network to develop joint projects involving monuments managed by the CMN. In return, VMF’s members benefit from preferential tariffs for visiting all of CMN’s monuments and the opportunity to take part in events organised by the network.