Remarkable heritage site (SPR)

Published on 27 September 2016 - Updated 04 January 2021

A remarkable heritage site is a mechanism aimed at protecting and enhancing the architectural, urban and landscape heritage of a territory.

As a public utility easement appended to the local urban development plan, a remarkable heritage site contributes to knowledge, preservation and showcasing of the built and landscape heritage shaping the OUV of the "Loire Valley World Heritage" site.  

This public utility servitude, defined in Article L. 631-1 of the Heritage Code, is the French legislative tool dedicated to conservation, restoration, renovation or enhancement of built areas (towns, villages or neighbourhoods) presenting an interest, from a historical, architectural, archaeological, artistic or landscape point of view. Thanks to the remarkable heritage site it is possible to regulate their development by optimising the repurposing of old buildings for current needs. Its rules are more precise, and in that way it usefully complements the  Local urban development plan .  

NB: established by the Act on the freedom of creation, architecture and heritage (LCAP) of 7 July 2016, this mechanism replaces protected sectors, areas for the protection of architectural, urban and landscape heritage (ZPPAUP) and Areas for Enhancing Architecture and Heritage (AVAP).  

OUV and remarkable heritage sites

This tool is particularly appropriate for safeguarding and enhancing town and village sites in the Loire Valley whose compositional and architectural quality are a key component part of the OUV. It enables understanding, promotion and regulation of the location, form, appearance of façades and construction materials used in buildings and civil engineering structures (fortifications and walls, river heritage, slipways and harbours, etc.).  

Details specifically concerning the Loire include: organisation of homes and gardens in sequence between the hillside and river, types of houses, whether straightforward, in terms of height and length, with narrow gables and a roof with two sloping sides, arrangement of façades (tall rather than wide windows, vertical siding) and the materials used (cut tuffeau stone, coated with locally extracted sand and lime, timber, slate, small flat tiles).  

Remarkable heritage sites go hand-in-hand with listed sites under Article L341-1 of the Environment Code. The combination of these two tools is a relevant response in French law to the objectives to protect and enhance World Heritage Properties extending over large areas like the Loire Valley.  

If there is no listed site procedure in place, rural areas and landscapes that form a coherent whole with the built heritage (towns, villages or neighbourhoods) or are likely to contribute to their conservation or enhancement can be encompassed by a remarkable heritage site. Application of an appropriate regulation will include showcasing of peripheral support sectors, with little qualification, particularly at the scale of the sweeping landscape and outlooks. 

On the web:

Remarkable heritage sites