The Grand Sites of France are an exceptional selection of natural highlights
The label 'Grand Site de France' has been granted to 33 locations in mainland France, which belong to the organisation known as the RGSF (Réseau des Grands Sites de France - network of Grand Sites of France).
All are listed sites, in attractive locations that attract large numbers of visitors each year. They each share the common challenges of meeting the conflicting needs of local residents, the environment, and exceptionally large numbers of visitors.
Of these Grand Sites, six are authorised to use the 'Grand Site of France' logo having met the stringent requirements, principally being required to demonstrate that the site is being developed and sustained in harmony with the local environment. These are indicated below.
Aven d'Orgnac, cave system in the Ardeche department of the Rhone-Alpes near the Gorges de l'Ardeche
Pointe de Raz
Pointe du Raz, at the western tip of the Brittany peninsula
Sainte-Victoire mountain near Aix-en-Provence
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard, Roman aquaduct in Languedoc-Roussillon.
See Pont-du-Gard for details.
Puy de Dome
Puy-de-Dome, volcanic site in Auvergne with a Roman temple at the summit.
See Puy-de-Dome for details.
Bibracte, in the Morvan region of Burgundy, and once home to an extensive Celtic population
Beauport Abbey, Brittany: 13th century abbey and starting point for pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela
Alésia in Burgundy is the site of an important Roman battle between the gauls (under Vercingetorix) and the Romans (under Julius Caesar) in 52 BC - and now the site of a museum and recreated settlements to commemorate the event.
Bay of the Somme
Bay of the Somme is an important natural environment in northern France, best known for its birdlife.
See Somme for details.
Mont Saint Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel bay: abbey and island, south-west Normandy.
See Mont-Saint-Michel for details.
Camargue, marshland, scrubland and wild horses form a unique Languedoc landscape.
See Camargue for details.
Cap d'Erquy at Cap Fréhel
Cap d'Erquy, next to better known Cap Fréhel, is an exceptional unspoiled coastal landscape in Brittany
Cirque de Gavarnie
The Cirque de Gavarnie is in the heart of the High-Pyrenees, a great natural amphitheatre surrounded by circular cliffs and a waterfall.
See Gavarnie for details.
Cirque de Navacelles
Cirque de Navacelles is an impressive natural cirque in Languedoc-Roussillon
Cirque de Sixt Fer à Cheval
The Cirque de Sixt Fer à Cheval is a place of great beauty in the Rhone-Alps, with the local village also forming part of the site
Medieval city of Carcassonne.
See Carcassonne for details.
Domaine du Rayol
Domaine du Rayol is an extensive botanic gardens on the coast in the Cote d'Azur.
Dune du Pilat
Dune du Pilat, Europe's largest sand dune, south of Arcachon
See Arcachon for details
Gorges du Gardon
Picturesque setting for the Gorges du Gardon, north of Nimes, and with various interesting natural features
Gorges du Tarn
Gorges du Tarn, dramatic scenery in the Lozere department (northern Languedoc).
See Gorges du Tarn for details.
Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon is often referred to as the 'Grand Canyon' of France. Found in Provence.
See Gorges du Verdon for details.
The beauty spot of the Iles Sanguinaires is off the coast of Corsica.
See Corsica scenery for details.
Cap-Blanc-Nez and Cap-Gris-Nez
Two coastal sites in Pas-de-Calais: Cap-Blanc-Nez and Cap-Gris-Hez
Brouage, town with ramparts/ defenses and marshes.
See Brouage for details.
Marais Poitevin, marshes of Poitou-Charentes.
See Marais-Poitevin for details.
Mont Canigou, Pyreneean mountain of spiritual importance.
See Mont-Canigou for details.
Massif dunaire de Gâvres-Quiberon - protected coastal environment between Gavres and Quiberon in Brittany
Puy-Mary, Auvergne mountain (altitude 1783 metres) in the Parc des Volcans with far reaching views - largest volcano of its type in Europe
Rocamadour, pilgrimage destination on Lot / Dordogne borders.
See Rocamadour for details.
Mont-Ventoux is a famous barren and exposed mountain that often features in the Tour de France, and is in the Provence region.
Solutre-Pouilly: dramatic cliff/rock high above a village, in Burgundy
Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert and nearby Herault Gorges.
See Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert for details.
Vallee de la Clarée
Vallee de la Clarée, site of great beauty in the Hautes-Alpes department of Provence, near Briancon
Map showing positions of the Grand Sites of France
If you have a better photo of any of these grand sites of France please send it along so we can do them justice!