Baguettes and Paris rooftops vie for Unesco recognition

Will the humble baguette finally get global cultural recognition? 

19 February 2021
Paris' zinc rooftops, French baguettes and an annual wine festival in the Jura are all in competition to be nominated for Unesco recognition
By Connexion journalist

Mid-March has been set as when France’s culture minister will choose between French baguettes, Paris’ zinc-plated rooftops and the annual Arbois wine festival in the Jura as to which should be put forward to Unesco for possible inclusion on its 2022 List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Roselyne Bachelot will then present her choice to President Emmanuel Macron, newspaper Le Figaro reported. 

The chosen bid, if accepted by the president, will then be presented to the Unesco Committee with a view to its inclusion on the list.

Every year, there are around 100 new additions to the list from around the world.

It aims to protect and raise awareness of cultural heritage that cannot be defined by a single place or item.

It can include, for example, clothes, food, festivals, craft traditions, rare languages, and songs.

Other French properties already on the list are the “gastronomic meal of the French”, added in 2010, and the “skills related to perfume in Pays de Grasse”, added in 2018.

See a full list here.

In France, six billion baguettes are sold every year, equating to half a baguette per person every day, France 24 reported in 2018

“It would be a good thing to protect our baguettes, our know-how,” artisan baker Jean-Yves Boullier said in a recent interview with France 24

“At least let them recognise the French baguette as a unique product that is typically French, and something other countries can't make," he said.

Grey zinc roofs are one of the special features of Parisian architecture and cover a majority of buildings there. They were also in contention to be submitted to Unesco for inclusion in 2020, but lost out to yoles, traditional fishing boats from Martinique. 

Edouard Bastien, president of plumbing and climate engineering trade union Génie Climatique et Couverture Plomberie, is backing Paris’ zinc roofs for the nomination.

He wishes, “to have a know-how that has existed for more than 200 years recognised,” BFMTV reported

La fête du Biou d'Arbois in the department of Jura is an annual wine festival with medieval and religious origins dating back to the 17th century. It is usually celebrated at the beginning of September.

The winegrowers in the surrounding area select the best bunches of grapes from their vines and assemble them to form a giant grape decoration. 

This is then hung outside the town church as an offering Saint Just, so that the rest of the harvest is good.

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