MAP: The French towns at urgent risk from coastal erosion

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MAP: The French towns at urgent risk from coastal erosion
Twin villas built on the sand dune on the coast in Biscarrosse that are at risk of collapsing due to coastal erosion (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

The French government has published a new report listing the towns and cities most at risk from coastal erosion.


A recent government report found that 126 French municipalities, or the equivalent of one fifth of the French coastline, are at high risk of coastal erosion.

The majority of these are located on the Western coast of the country, with 41 in Brittany, 16 in Normandy, 31 in New Aquitaine.


They include popular holiday sports such as Biarritz, La-Tranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-de-Luz. 

The new Climate and Resilience law, will now require affected municipalities to make key changes in order to adapt to climate change. Specifically, mayors will have to commission maps that predict the risk of coastal recession for 30 years in the future, and then again for 100 years in the future. These maps will serve as a basis for new rules of regarding land use, including new regulations on construction.

Overall, 864 municipalities are listed as "particularly vulnerable," with the 126 shown above are considered as highly vulnerable. The list of impacted communities will be updated every nine years.   

In France, 1.5 million people live in these zones, meaning they are at particular risk for violent storms and flooding.

READ MORE: MAP: Where in France is most at risk from erosion and rising sea levels

How does coastal erosion work?

Coastal erosion is largely impacted by global sea level rise, and the "hardness" of the shore plays a role in how rapidly the coastline is able to be eroded (take a sandy shoreline versus one with cliffs).

This infographic by French daily Le Parisien helps explain the causes of coastal erosion.


You can find the full list of at-risk communities here.


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