Nice joins France’s more than 40 world heritage sites which include the banks of the river Seine in Paris, the Amiens cathedral, the Mont Saint Michel and stretches of the Loire valley.
Reacting to the announcement, Nice’s mayor Christian Estrosi said:
The history of Nice balances deeply rooted and very accepting, Mediterranean and Alpine, European and cosmopolitan and has produced an architecture and a landscape that are unique, a model for many other cities in the world.
With close to one million inhabitants, greater Nice is the second-largest city on the French Mediterranean coast after Marseille, and the fifth-biggest in France. It is a tourist hotspot with several million visitors per year – though maybe not last or this year – and its airport is usually one of the country’s busiest.
Nicknamed “Nice the Beautiful”, the city attracted European aristocracy from the 18th century, starting with British royalty who had the seafront Promenade des Anglais named after them.
The UN cultural body awards world heritage status to sites judged to be of special universal value to humanity. Top heritage sites include the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Machu Picchu in Peru and the Acropolis in Greece.
The sought-after distinction brings intangible benefits, but also often boosts tourism, and can help secure funding for the preservation of sites.