From an emblematic site to a ‘Grand Site’
In 2004, the Pointe du Raz, along with the Baie des Trépassés and the Pointe du Van, were among the first ever places to be awarded the label ‘Grand Site de France’.
In 2013, the Grand Site de France « Pointe du Raz en Cap-Sizun » was extended to include the cliffs of Cap Sizun, increasing the initial nature conservation area of 200 hectares to 2,024 hectares. The unique landmark site is the only one of its kind in Brittany.
What ‘Operation Grand Site’ entailed
The launch of Opération Grand Site had three objectives. Firstly, to restore the quality of the landscape, damaged by uncontrolled mass tourism. Secondly, to set up a structure to manage the development and rehabilitation of the site. Thirdly, to ensure that the measures adopted were beneficial to local development.
In the case of the Pointe du Raz, pulling back the existing buildings by 800m allowed the tip of the headland to regain its original appearance. The same applied to the Pointe du Van where structures were built set back from the headland and integrated into the landscape. Finally at the Baie des Trépassés, the aim of the operation was to protect the dunes while still allowing public access to the beach.
Receiving ‘Grand Site de France’ approval
The label ‘Grand Site de France’ was awarded for the first time on 17 June 2004 to an area of 200 hectares comprising the Pointe du Raz, the Bay of Trespasses and the Pointe du Van.
The Pointe du Raz was one of the first four places to be awarded the label by the Ministry of Ecology. The other sites were the Aven d’Orgnac, the Pont du Gard and the Massif Sainte Victoire. It remains the only ‘Grand Site de France’ in Brittany. These first four awards supported by the ‘Grands Sites de France Network’ led the way for other landmarks with a common aim.
Bigger and bigger!
The District Council and the operating syndicate were keen to extend the perimeter of the ‘Grand Site’ towards the northern coast of Cap-Sizun under the new name of «Pointe du Raz en Cap-Sizun », so a new application was made to the governing body of Grands Sites de France.
This project necessitated a change to the way the site was administered, recognizing Cap-Sizun – Ponte du Raz District Council as the project leader, site co-ordinator and the sole manager of the green spaces.
A new label
The new perimeter of the area included a large strip of undeveloped coastline of mainly heathland and coastal cliffs interspersed with wetlands which was already a Natura 2000 conservation area covering most of the listed sites of the north, west and south coasts of Cap Sizun accessible via the GR34 hiking path or by road.
On 21 December 2012 the « Pointe du Raz en Cap Sizun » was awarded the label ‘Grand Site de France’ thus extending the site to a total area of 2,024 hectares to include the communes of Plogoff, Cléden Cap Sizun, Goulien and Beuzec Cap Sizun.