France has ten national parks, of which six are within the mainland of France, protected areas that are home to an exceptional wealth of flora and fauna.
The public body for France’s national parks, the Parcs Nationaux de France, was created only as recently as 2006, under the Ministry for Nature Protection. The ministry's 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, aimed at protecting and developing them. The charter unites all interested parties, particularly the communes, which are vital to the success of the scheme, and have the option of subscribing to the park’s charter. In doing so, they come together in a strategy of environmental solidarity that works to protect biodiversity, the improved functioning of institutions, the management of natural and cultural heritage, and visits by the public.
Priority is given to the protection of habitats, plant and animal species, landscapes and cultural heritage. Internationally recognised as areas of exceptional quality, they offer a remarkable combination of land and sea areas, and a method of managements that allows them to preserve their wealth and originality. Collectively, they cover about 9.5% of French territory (60,728 km2), and attract almost 9 million visitors each year.
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