French sociological research on landscape issues during the last fifteen years is briefly surveyed. It shows how a picturesque visual litteracy has shaped the french cultural elite attitudes with respect to landscape appreciation and public management. Yet it calls attention to the competing cultural models which are used by other social groups striving to achieve some sense of place. Then, this Brownian notion of landscape attitudes is shown to reflect a very deep change from an aesthetic to a symbolic value of landscape. Bibliography and notes.