World Heritage In Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur (2022)

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is one of the eighteen administrative regions in France and also one of the most touristy, covering the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Hautes-Alpes, Var, and Vaucluse. Its capital is the city of Marseille.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is a region with a very rich history and cultural heritage. In addition to dozens of Roman ruins, religious temples, and paradisiacal beaches, there are also eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur that you can (and should) explore!

So, do you want to know more about the World Heritage In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (2022)? Keep reading!

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World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

World Heritage in France

Currently, there are 49 sites listed as World Heritage in France:

  1. Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe (New Aquitaine Region)
  2. Amiens Cathedral (Upper France Region)
  3. Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (Great East Region, Occitania Region, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  4. Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  5. Belfries of Belgium and France (Upper France Region)
  6. Bordeaux, Port of the Moon (New Aquitaine Region)
  7. Bourges Cathedral (Centre-Val de Loire Region)
  8. Canal du Midi (Occitania Region)
  9. Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims (Great East Region)
  10. Chaîne des Puys – Limagne fault tectonic arena (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region)
  11. Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars (Great East Region)
  12. Chartres Cathedral (Centre-Val de Loire Region)
  13. Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay (Burgundy-Free County Region)
  14. Cordouan Lighthouse (New Aquitaine Region)
  15. Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region)
  16. Episcopal City of Albi (Occitania Region)
  17. Fortifications of Vauban (Brittany Region, Burgundy-Free County Region, Great East Region, New Aquitaine Region, Normandy Region, Occitania Region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, and Upper France Region)
  18. French Austral Lands and Seas (Overseas Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands)
  19. From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the Production of Open-pan Salt (Burgundy-Free County Region)
  20. Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve (Island and Region of Corsica)
  21. Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  22. Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne (Occitania Region)
  23. Historic Site of Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region)
  24. Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion (New Aquitaine Region)
  25. Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (Dependent Territory of New Caledonia)
  26. Le Havre, the City Rebuilt by Auguste Perret (Normandy Region)
  27. Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay (Normandy Region)
  28. Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  29. Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin (Upper France Region)
  30. Palace and Park of Fontainebleau (Île-de-France Region)
  31. Palace and Park of Versailles (Île-de-France Region)
  32. Paris, Banks of the Seine (Île-de-France Region)
  33. Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island (Overseas Region of Réunion)
  34. Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière and Place d’Alliance in Nancy (Great East Region)
  35. Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) (Occitania Region)
  36. Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region and Burgundy-Free County Region)
  37. Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley (New Aquitaine Region)
  38. Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs (Île-de-France Region)
  39. Pyrénées – Mont Perdu (Occitania Region)
  40. Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the “Triumphal Arch” of Orange (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  41. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region, Burgundy-Free County Region, Centre-Val de Loire Region, Great East Region, Île-de-France Region, New Aquitaine Region, Normandy Region, Occitania Region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, and Upper France Region)
  42. Strasbourg, Grande-Île and Neustadt (Great East Region)
  43. Taputapuātea (Overseas Community of French Polynesia)
  44. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region, Burgundy-Free County Region, Great East Region, Île-de-France Region, New Aquitaine Region, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region)
  45. The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region, Burgundy-Free County Region, New Aquitaine Region, Occitania Region)
  46. The Climats, terroirs of Burgundy (Burgundy-Free County Region)
  47. The Great Spa Towns of Europe (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region)
  48. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes (Centre-Val de Loire Region and Pays de la Loire Region)
  49. Vézelay, Church and Hill (Burgundy-Free County Region)

As you can see, seven of these forty-nine sites listed as World Heritage in France are part of more than one region or territory. The remaining forty-two are distributed as follows:

  • 5 in the New Aquitaine Region
  • 5 in the Occitania Region
  • 4 in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps Region
  • 4 in the Burgundy-Free County Region
  • 4 in the Île-de-France Region
  • 4 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region
  • 4 in the Great East Region
  • 3 in the Upper France Region
  • 2 in the Centre-Val de Loire Region
  • 2 in the Normandy Region
  • 1 in the Dependent Territory of New Caledonia
  • 1 in the Island and Region of Corsica
  • 1 in the Overseas Community of French Polynesia
  • 1 in the Overseas Region of Réunion
  • 1 in the Overseas Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

1. Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments (1981)

Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981, the second year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in the city and commune of Arles, in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône.

Despite being founded by other people, the city of Arles gained special importance during the Roman Empire, when it became a strategic port center. From this period, monuments such as the arena (or amphitheater), the theater, and the cryptoporticus (underground galleries) still remain!

2. Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the “Triumphal Arch” of Orange (1981 and 2007)

The Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the “Triumphal Arch” of Orange were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981, the second year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in the town and commune of Orange, in the department of Vaucluse.

Like Arles, the town of Orange was founded by tribes but completely restructured by the Romans between the 1st and 5th centuries AD – the time when it was invaded by the Visigoths. From the Roman era, it’s still possible to admire the theater (one of the largest and best-preserved in Europe) and the triumphal arch, as well as the ruins of the ancient walls and the forum (or gymnasium)!

3. Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge (1995)

The Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, the ninth year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in the city and commune of Avignon, in the department of Vaucluse.

Avignon achieved international fame in the early 14th century when it became the seat of the papacy. Seven popes resided in this city in the south of France between 1309 and 1377, more specifically in the so-called “Palais des Papes”, one of the largest and most relevant buildings of Gothic architecture in Europe!

Read my complete guide to Avignon, one of the sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur!

4. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France (1998)

The Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998, the twelfth year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in ten different regions (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps, Burgundy-Free County, Centre-Val de Loire, Great East, Île-de-France, New Aquitaine, Normandy, Occitania, Provence-Alps-Azure Coast, and Upper France).

Interestingly, the only example of this multi-regional inscription that integrates Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is in Arles. Saint Honoratus Church (in French, Église Saint-Honorat) was erected in the necropolis of Alyscamps (which means “Elysian Fields” in Provencal) between the 11th and 16th centuries, but it was never completed!

5. Fortifications of Vauban (2008)

The Fortifications of Vauban were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2018, the eighteenth year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in eight different regions (Brittany, Burgundy-Free County, Great East, New Aquitaine, Normandy, Occitania, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Upper France).

The Fortress of Mont-Dauphin is the only example of this multi-regional inscription that integrates Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Designed in 1692 by French Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (one of the most important military architects of all time), this fortress is made up of several military buildings, dating from the 16th, the 17th, and the 18th centuries!

6. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2016, the twenty-second year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in six different regions (Auvergne-Rhône-Alps, Burgundy-Free County, Great East, Île-de-France, New Aquitaine, and Provence-Alps-Azure Coast).

In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, there are two buildings designed by the famous French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier: the Housing Unit (in French, Unité d’Habitacion) in Marseille; and the Holiday Cabin (in French, Cabanon de Vacances) in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin!

7. Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (2021)

The Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2021, the twenty-eighth year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in eighteen different countries (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine).

The Chapitre-Petit-Buëch Strict Biological Reserve is the only example of this multi-regional inscription that integrates Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Designated as “Réserve Biologique Intégrale” in 1990, this alpine beech forest covers an area of almost 6 km2 and integrates the forests of Gap-Chaudun and Sauvas!

8. Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera (2021)

Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2021, the twenty-eighth year in which the country had nominations approved. Of the eight sites listed as World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, this is the only one located in the city and commune of Nice, in the department of Alpes-Maritimes.

Established by the Mediterranean Sea and at the foot of the Alps, about 20 km from Monaco and just over 30 km from the Italian border, the city of Nice has always enjoyed a privileged location and a mild climate, idyllic factors for winter tourism. In reality, this destination in the south of France has been attracting thousands of upper-class people (including European aristocracy and royalty) since the mid-18th century!

Map of the World Heritage in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

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