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Nice, France Vying for UNESCO World Heritage Declaration

Nice, France Vying for UNESCO World Heritage Declaration

As a UNESCO world heritage site candidate, the beachfront area in Nice, France is on a quest for elegance and prestige via a large landscaping project that should take five years. The mayor understands completely—in order to increase its chances of inclusion on the list of world heritage sites, the Promenade des Anglais needs a makeover. It must put on

View of the Promenade des Anglais at Night, Nice, France

As a UNESCO world heritage site candidate, the beachfront area in Nice, France is on a quest for elegance and prestige via a large landscaping project that should take five years. The mayor understands completely—in order to increase its chances of inclusion on the list of world heritage sites, the Promenade des Anglais needs a makeover.

It must put on its best finery. Magnificent, moving, naturally grand as it certainly is, it isn’t enough. It’s time to rethink the outdated showcase of France’s fifth city. The decision for inclusion is not done in a hurry. “It’s a very long process that can last between 5 and 10 years,” emphasizes Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the mission for this candidacy.

In five years, the city thus intends to renovate one of the most remarkable maritime bays in the world, by launching, in the deputy mayor’s own words “a reclassification and development project, revealing the ingenuity of our city and the originality of the Promenade. We will give it a certain elegance, and a dignity that many years have taken from it.”

The major idea of this modification? Rebalancing the lines between the cityscape and the open seascape. In what way? By reimagining it as a garden of acclimatization. Greenery galore! This work, to be done in increments, should begin this year and finish around 2020. Ranging six hectares (14.8 acres) to be completed in five parts: Phocéens-Gambetta, Gambetta Poincaré, Poincaré-Lenval, Lenval-Mossa, Mossa-Carras.

View of Nice from Castle Hill, Nice, France

The work will be made up of several projects: creating a nice green space, renovating the pavements, and renewing the lighting equipment by replacing lamps with LEDS, as a necessary energy-saving method.

Meanwhile, no expense will be spared on the trees. Palm trees are planned all along the Promenade. Different tree species will also be planted between the southern roadway and the bike paths on the actual site, while a second strip of trees will separate the bikers from the pedestrians. This will result in improved road-sharing and security, nothing but greenery in sight.

Except that too much greenery will kill the view. Since we announced this project in the beginning of the year, certain Niçois citizens have strongly reacted, fearing that excessive greenery will ruin the view of the Promenade, and jeopardize the view from Castle Hill.

We tried to learn more about the mayor’s plans, but his lips are sealed. But our fortunately eloquent readers are welcome to write in their reactions to this project. Especially since the entire cost of the project seems extreme: 16 Million euros ($17.5 Million), including 5.5 million ($6 Million) for the first phase. But, even at that price, it might just be worth it to be included in the pages of UNESCO.

Do you live near any world heritage sites? What do you think should qualify a site to be listed as a part of world heritage? What are the impacts to a city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site? Share your thoughts and you city's stories in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Carmen Phillips is a graduate of Oberlin College and is currently pursuing her masters in French Translation at Kent State University. Carmen spent the last year in Lyon, France teaching English to primary school children and had the opportunity to i...

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