AIA President Thomas Vonier calls for continued support of architecture and preservation efforts.
As news broke last week of the Trump administration’s plan for a U.S. departure from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), many were left fearful about potential ramifications on the group’s efforts domestically and abroad. For architecture and preservation, this was particularly poignant with regards to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which legally protects sites—natural and man-made—bearing cultural, scientific, or historic significance (including many architectural gems). On Tuesday, one such voice, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), issued a statement in support of UNESCO’s work and underlining the importance of cultural preservation.
A beach volleyball court on the Champ de Mars beside the Eiffel Tower, archery on the Esplanade des Invalides, cycling on the Champs-Élysées, fencing and taekwondo at the Grand Palais. As part of its master plan for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paris envisions using its famous landmarks as stunning backdrops for the international competition. And equestrian sports are no exception.
This week, the French minister of sports visited the historic Château de Versailles palace and grounds about 20 km southwest of the centre of the French capital. The UNESCO World Heritage site is expected to be the venue for Show Jumping, Eventing and Dressage at the two global sports gatherings in seven years, following the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
BAYEUX, Normandy: Normandy is blessed with stunning landscapes, a rich history and some of the best cheese and cream in all of Europe. Sprawled across France’s northwestern corner, the spectacular cliff-lined coast and rolling green fields have inspired centuries of creative talents, including Impressionist painter Claude Monet.
Lapped by the Channel, Normandy is home to a sandy coastline and was the site of the D-Day landings in World War II, when US, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along the heavily fortified coast in 1944.
Despite the tall, wind-rustled grasses and peaceful dunes, memories of the brutal episode in the war reveal the grittier side of Normandy, an area that was home to the Viking warriors who conquered England in 1066 and were said to have terrorized parts of Europe.
Paris hardly needs an introduction, but to make the most of it, you do need an excellent guide. Our experts tell you all you need to know here, including tips on the best attractions, hotels, bars, restaurants and shops. Other gems most travellers will be well acquainted with include Marseilles, Nice, and if we allow it to be French for these purposes, Monaco. But there are plenty of lesser-known cities in France well worth at least a weekend of your time.
Best for: food
“It has never been easier to get to France’s capital of gastronomy,” explains Mary Lussiana. “Eurostar’s launch of a direct service from St Pancras back in 2015 means a travel time of just four hours 41 minutes from London to Lyon.
Second only to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is one of Paris’ most iconic attractions, a marvel of medieval architecture that was immortalized in Victor Hugo’s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Today, the Gothic grandeur and majestic stained-glass windows of the UNESCO World Heritage site continue to reign supreme from Ile de la Cite, an island in the middle of the Seine River.
Notre Dame’s immense interior exemplifies French Gothic architecture—soaring fluted columns, ribbed vaults, and sculptures demand attention from every angle, while the light that pours through prismatic windows gives the basilica an ethereal ambiance. If you choose to climb the 387 steps of the north tower, braving gargoyles along the way, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Paris.
UNESCO annually expands its list of World Heritage sites, and this year’s class of inductees, announced in July, offers both stimulation for travellers, with a rich and varied group of intriguing sites, and a reminder, especially with its remote and more vulnerable picks, that the list itself is not about tourism.
The World Heritage program aims to identify and protect cultural and natural sites around the world that demonstrate “outstanding value to humanity”, according to its website.
Those spots sometimes constitute the most sought-after destinations for global travel: the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.