Unesco bid for Paris' roofs

Viewing platforms, gardens and restaurants to be part of bid to highlight and preserve capital’s zinc and slate horizon

15 October 2014

THE zinc-covered roofs of Paris should be granted World Heritage status, according to the capital’s politicians who will debate the plan this month.

It would be a second listing for the capital whose banks of the River Seine are already inscribed as World Heritage.

The mayor of the IX arrondissement, Delphine Bürkli, is leading the project, with the support of the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The latter’s election campaign included a pledge to create 314 hectares of roof top garden terraces where people could admire the view of the city’s distinctive horizon.

“The seventh storey of Paris has always interested artists, fascinated by these roofs of zinc and slate, and by their panel of colours,” Ms Bürkli told Le Figaro.

The bid would include measures to protect and highlight the roofs, including development of viewing platforms, restaurants, bars and even swimming pools.

The skyline has inspired several artists including Vincent Van Gogh and Nicolas de Staël.

Paris’ rooftop bars, such as Georges on the top of the Pompidou Centre, the Nuba on quai d'Austerlitz and the Perchoir in Menilmontant are all proving immensely popular.

France has 38 Unesco World Heritage sites, the latest, the Chauvet Cave in the Ardèche, contains some of the world's earliest figurative cave paintings and was inscribed on the list last June.

Photo:Flickr/Diego Albero Román

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