The water quality is a major point in the decision of a place for vacation or even more for the purchase of a property. Well known for their cleanliness, the beaches of south of France are extremely appreciated. But the Atlantic coast owns also beautiful places to enjoy the pleasure of the ocean. To know exactly where are these best locations, France decided to reward them.
The Blue Flag – « Pavillon bleu » in French – is an award given to beaches and marinas regarding the environment. This flag rewarded more than 3,300 beaches and marinas in 2009 across 39 countries in Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia and America. This award has been created in 1985 by a not-for-profit organization, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Each year, this organization rewards the beaches and marinas that pursue a policy regarding researches and applications in support of the quality environment. Nowadays, the Blue Flag is a reference in the tourism, environmental and sustainable development industries.
In 1985, the label concerned only French beaches and French marinas but due to its success, it extended quickly to the world. With the support of the Environmental Minister, only two criteria were needed to obtain the Blue Flag: the water quality and the decontamination. The FEE changed the standards for the achievement of the Blue Flag due to the success of the program and also the environmental changes. Nowadays, the beaches and marinas must fill the four following requirements to obtain the Blue Flag:
– Environmental Education and Information
– Water Quality
– Environmental Management
– Safety and services
The only differences are inside the categories themselves. For example, for the marinas, the water quality category only concerns visually clean water (no oil, litter or evidence of pollution). On the opposite, the water quality standards for the beaches are higher. No industrial or sewage-related discharges affect the beach area. Algae or other vegetation must be left to decay on the beach unless it constitutes a nuisance.
For 2010, results have just been announced. All across the world, 3450 beaches and marinas globally received the Blue Flag. 77 marinas obtained the 2010 Blue Flags. Carentan, in the Manche department received on May 25th its 23rd Blue Flag. Each year, there are 218 sailing boats with more and more services available in the marina such as lifting the boat or a safe anchorage. In this Normand town, Sextant Property Website lists various properties such as longeres or castles. Regarding the beaches, results have been announced on May 28th 2010. 341 beaches in 141 towns have been rewarded for the quality of their water and their respect for the environment. The Atlantic coast also presents beautiful beaches: 7 towns received an award in Vendee and 8 in the Gironde department. The south has also been well rewarded like the Provence Cote d’Azur with 25 towns and the Languedoc Roussillon with 20 towns. Sextant Property proposes different apartments and villas in this area like in Saint Cyprien and its Capellans beach.