Our history, our values

What is the Centre des monuments nationaux?

The Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN) is a public institution under the authority of the Ministry of Culture. Created in 1914 under the name Caisse nationale des monuments historiques et préhistoriques, it became the CMN in 2000. Financed by the State, it preserves, manages and opens to visitors more than one hundred monuments, ranging from prehistoric times to the 20th century, nineteen of which are on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Its 1,470 employees welcomed more than ten million visitors in 2022.

Its missions

Under the French Heritage Code, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux is entrusted with four main missions in respect of the monuments for which it is responsible:

  • Toconserve, restore and maintain one hundred monuments and the 137,000 cultural assets placed under its responsibility by carrying out operations aimed at preventing their deterioration and ensuring that they are passed on to future generations.
  • Toopen up these one hundred national monuments tovisitors and bring them to life: the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, the Châteaux of Angers and Azay-le-Rideau, the Château and ramparts of the City of Carcassonne, the Arc de Triomphe, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Hôtel de la Marine and soon the Cité Internationale de Langue Française in Villers-Cotterêts, to name but a few. The CMN's mission is to make these monuments accessible to as many people as possible, particularly those who are far removed from culture or have disabilities, and to contribute to the policy of artistic and cultural education, in particular by welcoming large numbers of schoolchildren, some 350,000 of them every year.
  • Promoting the participation of national monuments in cultural life and the development of tourism, with almost 400 events a year (exhibitions, shows, events, etc.). Numerous links exist with local authorities and networks of cultural institutions.
  • To act as apublic publisher under the Éditions du patrimoine brand, thereby making a major contribution to the knowledge and promotion of heritage through the publication of visitor guides, fine books, monographs on architects or buildings, children's books, works for the blind and partially sighted, and works for the deaf and hard of hearing. Éditions du patrimoine has a catalogue of seven hundred titles and publishes almost forty works each year.
Abbaye de Cluny, bibliothèque
Abbaye de Cluny, bibliothèque

© Patrick Tournebœuf - Tendance floue - Centre des monuments nationaux

How it works

The CMN's network of monuments is governed by two founding principles.

According to the first: the financial principle of total equalisation of resources, the income generated by the monuments is paid into the budget of the establishment which then distributes the credits to the different monuments. In this way, certain monuments whose economic activity is lower can receive credits according to their needs.

The second principle is based on the pooling of projects, resources and skills, and allows the monuments to work as a network to benefit from the experiences of other monuments and their good practices.

Major projects

L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021, au couché de soleil.

Laurent Lecat / Centre des monuments nationaux

In 2021, the Centre des monuments nationaux has collaborated with the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to pack theArc de Triomphe. The project, imagined as far back as 1961, finally came to fruition on 18 September 2021. According to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, over sixteen days, more than six million visitors saw theArc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Paris, 1961-2021. The establishment has also celebrated some of the nation's greatest moments by organising the entry into the Panthéon of artist and resistance fighter Josephine Baker in 2021, Maurice Genevoix and Ceux de 14 in 2020 and Simone Veil in 2018.

Entrée de Joséphine Baker au Panthéon le 30 novembre 2021
Entrée de Joséphine Baker au Panthéon le 30 novembre 2021

© Sabrina Mariez / Centre des monuments nationaux

In recent years, the CMN has inaugurated a number of major worksites, including theHôtel de la Marine and others funded by the France Relance economic stimulus plan, notably theabbey at Beaulieu-en-Rouergue, theEnsérune oppidum and the logis du Gouverneur at the towers and ramparts of Aigues-Mortes. In total, more than forty million euros have been invested in the restoration of fourteen monuments thanks to France Relance.

Current activity report

Read full screen

All activity reports