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Discover one of the 45 French sites classified as World Heritage

Did you know that forty-five cultural or natural sites French are on the UNESCO World Heritage List? The inclusion of a place on this exceptional list is recognition of its outstanding universal value. It makes it worthy of being preserved as a heritage of humanity.

Dearly July 2019, the distant French southern lands and seas joined the 44 other French cultural or natural sites benefiting from prestigious label awarded by the World Heritage Committee. They are the latest in a French list inaugurated in 1979. The Mont Saint Michel, Chartres cathedral, the basilica of Vézelay, The Palace of Versailles, or the prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley were the first to register.

Among the emblematic French sites, 39 are recognized for their cultural heritage. 5 are for their Natural Heritage. As for the Pyrénées-Mont Perdu site, it receives mixed recognition. Cultural, in that it presents "invaluable testimonies on the European society of yesteryear". Natural, due to “the presence of two of the largest and deepest canyons in Europe on the southern slope, and three important cirques on the northern slope”.

Demanding selection criteria

To be included in the World Heritage List, sites must have outstanding universal value. They must also satisfy at least one of the ten selection criteria. These criteria include, for example, representing a masterpiece of human creative genius. Or to bring an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition ... Or finally to represent areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.

The national indicative list of UNESCO World Heritage

To have the honor of appearing one day on the list of sites classified as World Heritage, it is first necessary to ask that the place appear on the national indicative list. Indeed, “the World Heritage Committee cannot study a nomination for inscription on the World Heritage List, if the property in question is not already on the Tentative List of the State Party”. In France, thirty-seven sites appear on the indicative list. This is how the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the City of Carcassonne and its sentinel mountain castles, the Camargue, the Mediterranean shore of the Pyrenees, the Marquesas Islands, the landing beaches, the Mont-Blanc massif or again the salt marshes of Guérande, are there for the filing of an application for World Heritage listing.

World Heritage: Exceptional sites so close to you

To visit the lagoons of New Caledonia, the pitons, cirques and ramparts of Reunion Island, the French Southern Lands and Seas, or even the island of Taputapuātea, you will have to travel the globe. But to admire the forty-one other classified sites, all you have to do is explore the roads and paths of France. This exceptional heritage is so close. Do not wait any longer to discover the French classified sites.

While waiting for your departure and to help you in your choice, stay connected. In the weeks and months to come, we will make you discover one by one the diversity and the originality of these extraordinary places.