Part of the city of Bordeaux has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage status

A committee meeting held last week in Christchurch, New Zealand confirmed that more than 350 buildings in an area of 1,810ha have been classified as historical monuments.

The announcement was given in recognition of the architectural and cultural value of the city, and rewards an extensive restoration programme begun by mayor Alain Juppé over 10 years ago.

It’s the largest city area in the world – over half its total size – to have been distinguished in this way. The classified zone covers the pedestrianised historical town centre, and outlying areas including Pessac, where the vineyards of Chateau Haut Brion are located. These have been accorded a lesser, but still protected, status.

Roland Feredj, president of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau, told decanter.com, ‘We are enormously fortunate to be one of the few wine cities – such as Porto – to have the name of our city so closely associated with its wines. To be accorded such a status does more than a dozen advertising campaigns could ever do to raise their profile.’

Sophie Gaillard, director of wine tourism at the Bordeaux Tourist Office commented on the benefits that it would bring to chateau owners further afield. ‘It will help attract tourists who may not be wine lovers, but who will also want to visit the chateaux of the region.’

Saint Emilion, 50km to the east of Bordeaux city centre, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999.

The United Nations World Heritage Committee has classified over 850 sites, monuments and regions around the world as having ‘outstanding universal value’, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the old town of Vienna, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Tower of London.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux