Meet France’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The impressive Cordouan Lighthouse. Pic: Esperanza33/Getty

The impressive Cordouan Lighthouse. Pic: Esperanza33/Getty - Credit: Archant

Three new French destinations have been added to the World Heritage List thanks to their special cultural significance

Cordouan Lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary. Pic: Cloud-Mine-Amsterdam/Getty

Cordouan Lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary. Pic: Cloud-Mine-Amsterdam/Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

France has no shortage of UNESCO-recognised destinations: 48 of them, to be precise, putting the country in the top five globally by number of sites. They can be cultural (Bourges cathedral, the Canal du Midi), natural (Chaîne des Puys - Limagne fault tectonic arena) or a mixture of both (the Pyrénées - Mont Perdu). 2021’s new additions are all cultural – find out what they are and why they’re so special.

Nice's famous waterfront. Pic: Maria Marcone/Getty

Nice's famous waterfront. Pic: Maria Marcone/Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cordouan Lighthouse

France’s last inhabited lighthouse is a real sight to behold, rising majestically from the choppy waters at the mouth of the Gironde Estuary in western France. It was built in the early 17th century by Louis de Foix, a Paris architect, and became the most famous French lighthouse of the period. It holds the intriguing crown of being France’s last inhabited lighthouse – despite being fully automated – after the lighthouse keeper at Cap Fréhel left in 2019.

The relaxing setting of Vichy, Allier. Pic: RossHelen/Getty

The relaxing setting of Vichy, Allier. Pic: RossHelen/Getty - Credit: Getty Images

Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera

The cosmopolitan capital of the Côte d’Azur needs no introduction. Nice’s reputation as an all-year-round resort helped to cement its place in the latest round of UNESCO recognitions. Its attractive climate has lured the aristocracy and celebrities to this stunning part of the Mediterranean since the 18th century and its star has only increased with age.

Vichy, Allier (part of the Great Spa Towns of Europe)

Eleven of Europe’s most storied spa towns have been recognised for their role in Europe’s spa culture heritage from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The only resort to be given the nod in France is Vichy, whose hallowed waters were loved by the French bourgeoisie. Today you can visit the Vichy Célestins Spa Hôtel, Europe’s largest spa hotel, to take the waters.

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The other resorts recognised include: Baden bei Wien (Austria); Spa (Belgium); Frantis?kovy La?zne? (Czechia); Karlovy Vary (Czechia); Maria?nske? La?zne? (Czechia); Bad Ems (Germany); Baden-Baden (Germany); Bad Kissingen (Germany); Montecatini Terme (Italy); and City of Bath (United Kingdom).

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