Paris cafes launch UNESCO status bid

Authorities say they support campaign to have capital's street cafes placed on "intangible cultural heritage" list

An association of Parisian cafe owners has launched a campaign for the city's bistros and terrace cafes to be placed on UNESCO's "intangible cultural heritage" list.

The group points to the role the capital's street cafes played following the terror attacks in November 2015. In a statement, it said that following the atrocities, "Parisians crowded onto the terraces... to show that they regarded them as places of cultural cross-fertilisation, of freedom and of the art of living."

It added that the culture of Paris' world-famous cafés and bistros was increasingly "under threat", from soaring rents and powerful multi-nationals in the food and drinks industry.

The City of Paris has added its weight to the campaign, saying that it was "fully supportive" of the initiative.

The association, meanwhile, has launched a "cultural fund" to support the bid. Further details - and membership at €3 - are available at bistrotsetterrassesdeparis.org.

As well as funding the UNESCO application, the fund will provide financial support for cultural events in Paris - including Hugo au bistrot, readings of selected works by Victor Hugo by actor Jacques Weber in a cafe in each of Paris's 20 arrondissements in September.

A dossier will be handed to the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for submitting such applications to UNESCO, in September.

As well as the cafe owners' bid, campaigns have been launched to put both the French baguette and Paris's green "bouquinisites" book stalls that line the river Seine on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.

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