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The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and Grand Chambord mirror their outstanding landscapes

Published on 09 October 2018 - Updated 26 October 2018

The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and the CC du Grand Chambord (Grand Chambord Association of Councils) signed a cooperation agreement in Montlivault (Loir-et-Cher) on 13 September. The aim of this is to create viewpoints on their respective sites, looking out on emblematic UNESCO World Heritage landscapes. An ingenious system of “periscope” mirrors reflecting both memories of the sites and expectations of inhabitants and tourists, which gives an idea of future installations tailored to the quality of these sites.

A shared commitment to UNESCO

The CC du Grand Chambord, the GAL Val de Loire – Chambord and the PETRs du Pays de Saint-Malo et Sud-Manche and of the Pays de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel (local economic and rural development agencies) signed a cooperation agreement on 13 September 2018, covering their commitments to protect and promote the Outstanding Universal Value (O.U.V.) of their areas. 

This cooperation evidences the solidarity existing between the various local authorities responsible for UNESCO sites and their abilities to respond, together, to the challenges of protecting the cultural heritage of emblematic “memory of humanity” sites. 

Signature de l accord de coopération entre la CC du Grand Chambord et la Baie du mont Saint-Michel

Simultaneous opening of sites - laboratories

The objective is the simultaneous opening of installations promoting the viewpoints located at popular landmarks on tourist routes and offering an evocative perspective on the O.U.V. heritage landscape. This approach focused on the appropriation of UNESCO values is being developed at the following sites: 

  • In Normandy, two viewpoints towards Mont Saint-Michel, in Avranches and Genêts.
  • In Brittany, two long distance viewpoints towards the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, in Cancale (Grouin point) and in Vieux-Viel (Haut de la Patence).
  • In Centre-Val de Loire: Port de Montlivault, 360° viewpoint, opening out on Cour-sur-Loire and Ménars, as well as the alluvial agricultural landscape and the hillside at Montlivault.

The objective includes both tourism and education, creating new points of interest pointing towards and/or as part of the tourist route and promoting discovery and an understanding of these views. The point is to meet the expectations of inhabitants and visitors to these places, on the basis of a shared assessment and a jointly constructed project. 

“Periscopes” for observing the landscape

A grouping of landscape gardeners, architects and scenic artists, “Dérive”, installed a “Periscope” at each of the 4 sites, between June and July 2018 in the Bay of Mont Saint Michel, and between July and September 2018 in Montlivault. 

The fun and highly unusual installation is formed of mirrors that break up the landscape and juxtapose a number of differing views in a completely out-of-the-ordinary alignment: In Montlivault, it offers a 360° panorama, with, on the left bank, the authenticity of the Loire village of Cour-sur-Loire and the park of the Château Royal de Ménars and, on the right bank, the beauty of the Loire floodplain landscape, with its levees, drains and its specific agriculture. A farm located on a hummock and protected against floods by a dike, reveals the age-old nature of adapting agricultural practices to river flooding. In this way, faraway views juxtapose with nearby views, views of the river with views of the floodplain and those of Cour-sur-Loire village itself. 

This artistic installation approach explores memories of places, the complexity of the elements of a cultural landscape and, at the same time, draws out the expectations of locals and tourists. These installations have been very well received, especially among tourists who, previously, seldom stopped to appreciate these landscapes. 

The next stage will be to define a “parti d’occupation des lieux” (site use framework), identifying the O.U.V., and compatible with national requirements in terms of managing public river and maritime areas, and produce a mobile structure that facilitates, at the same time, enjoyment of the panorama and an understanding of the heritage landscape, together with catering and relaxation services. 

Mission Val de Loire provided technical support to the CC du Grand Chambord for the realisation of the “lieu-laboratoire” (“site-laboratory”) approach at port de Montlivault and supported the signing of this cooperation agreement.