Established in the 19th century out of a desire to save the nation’s heritage, the monumental heritage policy has continued to expand to cover an increasingly wide range of monuments and heritage sites. While 44,540 buildings were covered by the historic monuments system in the strict sense in 2020, in reality several hundred thousand buildings and surrounding areas are protected as the surroundings of historic monuments (national domains, remarkable heritage sites, classified and listed sites and cultural properties listed as world heritage). Essentially focused on conservation, public spending - which stood at more than €1.3 bn before the health crisis - increased significantly between 2019 and 2021 due to the sharp increase in state credits allocated to major works and the amounts committed under the recovery plan. Yet, while the state and local authorities can make claims about the scale and constancy of this support, the overall expenditure remains poorly estimated. In addition, the latest assessment of the condition of historic monuments carried out in 2018 revealed that almost a quarter of them are in a worrying state. In the report published today, the Court of Auditors makes a series of recommendations aimed at consolidating public spending while ensuring the protection and enhancement of the monuments and sites.