France submits the baguette as a candidate for UNESCO heritage status

France submits the baguette as a candidate for UNESCO heritage status

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                La France a choisi la baguette comme candidate au statut de patrimoine culturel immatériel de l'UNESCO, a déclaré vendredi le gouvernement, cherchant à faire reconnaître ce symbole français le plus représentatif.

                                    <p>Alors que les bérets et les cordes d'ail autour du cou pourraient être plus stéréotypés que la réalité de nos jours, de longues miches de pain sont encore vues quotidiennement sous les bras dans toute la France.

According to the Planetoscope data site, some 10 billion baguettes are consumed each year in France – around 320 per second.

When France was in its tightest lockdown from the pandemic last spring, it made sure to keep bakeries open as a core business.

So perhaps the only surprise is the time it took for the Ministry of Culture to submit the baguette to UNESCO, which will deliver its decision at the end of 2022.

In a statement as dry as flour on a baker’s table, he said: “The inscription of this element would make it possible to appreciate that this eating practice, which is part of daily life, shared by the vast majority and taken for acquired, constitutes a heritage in its own right. ”

However, the ministry drew attention to the steady decline in the number of bakeries across the country, especially in rural areas.

“In 1970, there were 55,000 artisan bakeries (one for 790 inhabitants) against 35,000 today (one for 2,000), often in favor of industrially produced baguettes”, he explains.

Uncertain history

The baguette, although apparently immortal in French life, did not officially get its name until 1920 when a new law specified its minimum weight (80 grams) and maximum length (40 centimeters).

The rest of the story is rather uncertain.

Certains disent que les longs pains étaient déjà courants au 18e siècle;  d'autres qu'il a fallu l'introduction des fours à vapeur par le boulanger autrichien August Zang dans les années 1830 pour que son incarnation moderne prenne forme.

A popular tale is that Napoleon ordered the bread to be made into thin sticks that could be more easily carried by soldiers.

Another connects baguettes to the construction of the Paris metro in the late 19th century and the idea that baguettes were easier to tear and share, avoiding arguments between workers and the need for knives.

UNESCO confers the status of intangible heritage, which must involve a specific community of practitioners, on hundreds of very different things around the world each year.

This year’s list included sauna culture in Finland, a lantern festival in South Korea, and a grass mowing competition in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

France selected the baguette from a shortlist that also included the iconic Parisian rooftops and the Biou d’Arbois harvest festival in the Jura department.




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