Slopes instabilities pose a significant risk to infrastructures and development especially in mines and mountainous areas. The management of geohazards in France takes place in a wide range of environments exposed not only to rockfall, but also avalanche, flooding, earthquake or volcanoes, from high mountains to tropical islands territories. Therefore a specific approach has been developed from decades of experience (since 1860) and now known to be one of the most conservative in Europe. Indeed risks are being increased in the French Alps by global climate change (Mediterranean storms) at the same time as the density of infrastructure, mines or industrial projects increase. Over recent years research and new developments are increasing knowledge of slope stability, leading to new engineering methods and mitigation options especially in the range of dynamic barriers conception or high energy passive bunds. Experience between private companies and public services have been applied. This diversity through centuries of experience and some major disasters, led to a balanced management strategy always bringing in pioneering measures such as recent European and French guidelines. Finally, operational feedback of some cases studies of roads and industrial sites protection are described as example. This shows mainly the importance of the analysis process through fine engineering studies and the combination of different protective strategies and lightweight preventive measures.

1. Introduction

Rock instabilities pose a significant risk to infrastructure and development in mountainous areas. Risks are being increased in the European Alps by global climate change at the same time as research is increasing knowledge of instabilities and their propagation. Over recent years, significant developments have been made in assessment and mitigation methods, especially in the range of options available for rockfall protection, whereas places to install them can be rare (Boutillier, 2011).

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