Operation Grand Site – Project

What is a « Grand Site » ?

« Grand Sites » have three common characterstics :

• They are classified by the 1939 law concerned with « the protection of natural monuments and of artistic, historic, scientific, lengendary or picturesque sites »,
• They are emblematic French landscapes that appeal to  a lot of people,
• Their managers are commited to preserving both the landscape and the cultural heritage, and aim to provide a quality welcome to the public.

A « Grand Site » is an exceptional landscape, with an indentifiable and important « spirit » that appeals to a collective imagination.

And an « Opération Grand Site » ?

« Opération Grand Site  du Cirque de Navacelles » are projects focussed on sustainable development which correspond to a national political policy. The aim of the OGS projects is to help local communities protect, restore and manage a « Grand Site ». The projects are planned and carried out through consultation. The final aim of the projects is to attain the label « Grand Site de France », awarded by the Ministry to preserved, managed sites gauranteeing a quality welcome.

At Navacelles, the « Opération Grand Site » (OGS) has been taken on board  by the « Syndicat Mixte du Grand Site de Navacelles ». In Feburary 2012, the second stage of the OGS programme was validated by the Minister of Ecology. The « Grand Site » is now  becoming operational.

A few figures for the Grand Site du Cirque de Navacelles :

  • 46 163 hectares,
  • 12 complete communes, 7 partial communes,
  • 2 intercommunalities (Lodévois et Larzac, Pays Viganais), 2 « conseils généraux » (General Councils) of the Gard and of the Hérault,
  • 1274 hectares of classified site, 1309 hectares of subscribed site,
  • 6 “Natura 2000” sites,
  • Part of the 302 319 hectares of the « Causses et Cévennes » subscribed to the Worldwide heritage,
  • 250000 visitors per year.

The five key points of the « Opération Grand Site du Cirque de Navacelles » project :
• To preserve the heart of the Grand Site : the Cirque de Navacelles and its surroundings (the gorges of  the Vis the boundaries of the Causses)
• To manage and control the flow of visitors
• To protect, to restore and to manage the quality of the site
• To transmit and reveal the spirit of the area to the general public
• To initiate and share a management and sustainable development project with local people.

A few examples of actions accomplished within the framework of the « Opération Grand Site » :

Eco-mobility : Electric bikes and shuttle buses have been used to facilitate  parkingand travel between the belvederes and the hamlet of Navacelles.
• Welcome and the environment : During the summer season, small groups of  ecovolunteers have worked  in the gorges.
• Interpretation of the cultural heritage : Tactile tablets describing and indicating short culural walks are currently being made.
Raising awareness : Meetings with local tourist professionals at the « Grand Site » have been organized. Training around  the  key themes connected to the cultural heritage of the « Grand Site » archeo-geomorpholoy, « caussenard » agropastoralism, biodiversity have been carried out.
Safeguarding the landscape : Drawing up a landscape and architectural charter with locally elected people.
Built heritage : Restoration of the fortified farm of the Prunarède,  the Foux mills, and  smaller cultural constructions : « lavognes », paths, small walls…

Download the leaflet « The Grand Site of the Cirque de Navacelles project »

carte Grand Site Cirque Navacelles

The communes of Grand Site du Cirque de Navacelles

communes GS


Further information :

The law of 1906

The law of 1930

The articles of the environmental code concerning site policy

Natural monuments and site policy (Medde, 2013)

Parts 1 and 2  of the action program of the Navacelles Grand Site initiative :

Presentation of the action program 23-01-2012

Detail of the action program