In 2014, the mayor of Toulouse succeeded 10 years in making the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2019, the project was put on hold for lack of prospects. But he still guides the town’s development projects, assures his deputy for town planning.
“Our Unesco ambition will be a long march”. As early as 2014, Jean-Luc Moudenc had perceived the difficulty of bringing in the historic center of Toulouseau World Heritage of Unesco. A prestigious ranking, which attracts an average of 40% more tourists to the elected cities … Now, we can say that the path looks like a very, very long hike.
The mayor of Toulouse admitted in 2019, short-term ambition is no longer appropriate. The selection criteria have changed, and now France can only present one project per year (natural or cultural), against two previously, with Unesco. The competition is global, and the countries of the southern hemisphere are demanding a catch-up compared to the North. Even in France, the Occitanie region, very well offered in classified sites, must wait its turn.
The city already well equipped with classified sites: Saint-Sernin, L’Hôtel-Dieu, the Canal du Midi
Unesco made it known to the city From toulouse from 2018, after the presentation of the first arguments: already well placed as monuments classified by Unesco with the Canal du Midi, the Saint-Sernin basilica and the Hôtel-Dieu (under the roads of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle), it will be obliged to review its copy. And above all, “take care” of its classified treasures, before seeking another sesame.
The city, since 2015 of a steering committee “Unesco” according to the former minister Christine Albanel, now dormant, had it gone too quickly? ” We have put Toulouse’s heritage back at the center of the debates, and this is not the least of the victories, today believes Annette Laigneau, urban planning assistant. Look at the Saint-Sernin basilica, its renovated square, look at the work undertaken on the dome of the Grave, emblem of Toulouse, on the historic Saget dikes and the Garonne quays. We have appointed a team of architects under the aegis of Jacqueline Osty, for the “Grand Parc Canal” enhancement project, because the development of the Canal du Midi in Toulouse, does not suit us “.
The development of the current “Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan”, an essential prerequisite for a future application
The city continues the substantive work started in 2018, through the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan (PSMV) of the historic center, adds the elected official. “It is colossal, painstaking work, which aims to identify all the elements of heritage, and to publish new town planning regulations for this remarkable heritage”.
For Toulouse, the theme chosen in 2016 for the Unesco candidacy, “Toulouse Capital, architecture and places of power” did not meet with resonance in the corridors of the institution. But it remains relevant, assures Annette Laigneau. “We need something unique in the world, something that sets us apart. This is what Unesco is waiting for. “While waiting for a future filing, Toulouse consoles itself with the title of” City of art and history “, awarded by the Ministry of Culture in 2019. Its two-thousand-year-old history, its 181 buildings and more than 500 objects protected as Historical Monuments, are well worth this recognition.
The city of Nice entered Unesco World Heritage in July 2021
To become a Unesco World Heritage Site, in July 2021, the city of Nice focused its candidacy on the heritage of winter tourism on the Riviera, recognized as “outstanding universal value” by Unesco. It is this type of exclusive theme that the city of Toulouse is looking for for a future application. The theme defined by the municipality, “Toulouse capital, architecture and places of power” remains relevant, explains the town hall.
The candidacy of Nice, carried by the mayor Christian Estrosi in 2010, was based on a major renovation of facades, buildings, places of worship, gardens, landscapes and public spaces. “We have cut down the urban warts which destroyed this harmony. We have pacified the movements, found the light and the colors of our facades, replanted the emblematic plants”, explained the mayor during the Unesco announcement. From the end of the 18th century, Nice had the first site on the coast, until unhospitable and difficult to access, on which a winter resort activity developed..
The perimeter concerns the promenade des Anglais, the quai des Etats-Unis, the Ponchettes terrace (the oldest tourist development in France, designed in xviiie century for the spectacle of the sea); it goes beyond Rauba-Capeù at the foot of the Castle hill, crosses the Lympia port, includes Mont Boron, the Cimiez and Baumettes hills which constitute the amphitheater facing the sea, characteristic of the towns of the Riviera