About French Baguettes, Parisian Rooftops and a Wine Fest

About French Baguettes, Parisian Rooftops and a Wine Fest
Freshly baked baguettes is a symbol of daily life in France, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

French bakers want the famous baguette to be declared an intangible heritage, but there's competition from a centuries-old wine festival and Paris rooftops. Who'll win?

OT Staff
March 03 , 2021
04 Min Read

If you have been to a French restaurant, it’s only viable you have been served the baguette as a side, or perhaps it was complimentary. This long, thin crusty loaf of bread handcrafted with love by French bakers has been submitted for UNESCO’s Cultural Listings.

Translating to 'baton' from the word, 'bacchetta', this French bread is very special and unique. The creation requires good flour, the right kind of kneading and, as the bakers like to say, a certain savoir-faire. 


The bakers in France are fighting tooth and nail for the listing. There's some urgency involved because local shops and bakeries in France are being taken over by frozen breadsticks mass produced in factory-like assembly lines.

The Confederation of French Bakers have submitted an application to add the baguette under UN’s list of 'intangible heritage' items. The mark will protect the baguette from being duplicated and erased from the minds of the people which has been a tradition passed down from generation to generation. The Cultural Minister of France has also offered to help in achieving this goal.

But here's the catch. The baguette is competing for the UNESCO tag against two other French things.

The zinc-plated rooftops of France is one. These grey zinc roofs are one of the special features of Parisian architecture. They do not exist elsewhere on such a large scale, covering more than 80% of the roofs of Paris since the middle of the 19th century. It is not the roofs of Paris themselves that is subject of a hopefully successful bid, but the know-how of the zinc roofers themselves.

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The other competitor is Jura’s Biou d’Arbois wine festival. The centuries-old annual fest takes place on the first Sunday in September. The local vignerons put on their Sunday best, and the whole town comes out to witness a glorious procession and church service honouring the harvest to come. The festival, named La Fête du Biou, is the focus for a weekend of events in the town.

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A large bunch of grapes – the ‘biou’ – weighing between 80kg and 100kg, is paraded through the streets on a stretcher, before hanging the oversized bunch in the church of St-Just, as a tribute to the patron of the Arbois commune. A first mention of the ‘biou’ was recorded in 1665, but it could go back even further.

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So who would you root for? The baguette de pain, the zinc rooftop workers, or the biou of Arbois? 

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