France has nine national parks, “natural monuments” that are home to exceptional wildlife.
April 2006 saw the creation of Parcs Nationaux de France, the public body for France’s national parks, within the framework of the law on national parks. Under the Ministry for Nature Protection, its goal is to promote the parks, strengthen their common culture and contribute to the quality of their management.
The national parks are governed by a charter, a genuine sustainable development project, aimed at protecting and developing them. The charter unites all local actors, in particular the communes [the smallest administrative division in France], which are at the heart of the mechanism.
Priority is given to the protection of habitats, plant and animal species, landscapes and cultural heritage. Nearby communes have the option of subscribing to the park’s charter. In doing so, they unite in a genuine strategy of environmental solidarity which works towards the protection of biodiversity, the improved functioning of institutions, the management of natural and cultural heritage, and visits by the public.
Public spaces that are open to all, these protected areas are subject to regulations. The rules of conduct are simple and dictated by common sense, respect for others and respect for nature.
France’s nine national parks are:
Planned: Parc National des Calanques