In 2010, the Gastronomic Meal of the French was listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. This distinction underscores the importance meals in French society and culture. In this framework, the French government selected several towns to create the “Network of Cities of Gastronomy,” providing an organized avenue through which everyone can experience and discover this heritage.
To promote gastronomy, the cities of Dijon, Lyon, Paris-Rungis, and Tours will develop centers dedicated to food heritage in France. These “Cities of Gastronomy” will also be centers of innovation, and education for gourmands such as tourists, students, and chefs. Each city has been chosen for specific reasons that will help promote French gastronomy in varied and numerous ways.
- The City of Gastronomy of Dijon will specifically promote wine and vineyards in partnership with The Vineyard Institute and the UNESCO Chair of Wine Tradition and Culture. As the capital of Burgundy, this historic city is an attractive center of research and development for agronomists and food tanks that work in partnership with universities, the National Institute for Research in Agronomy (INRA), and National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
- The City of Gastronomy of Lyon will focus on health and nutrition. This research center will involve researchers, chefs and teams from the hospital of Lyon and help highlight the gastronomic schools of the region, such as Paul Bocuse School, Tsuji School and Le Royal. Located in the former “Grand Hotel Dieu” of Lyon, this City of Gastronomy will promote the rich culture of cuisine: more than 58 food products from the Rhône-Alpes region are protected under Designation of Origin, representing 11 percent of all French foodstuffs.
- The City of Gastronomy of Paris-Rungis will target the issue of food supply in urban areas and operate as a pilot center for the development of urban markets. This center will also focus on the educating youth about food and nutrition. The Rungis International Market is the principal market of Paris. Located in the city’s southern suburbs, it is the largest wholesale food market in the world. Every day, approximately 13,000 people work at the Rungis International Market, covering 573 acres and bringing nearly 1,698,000 tons of products to the area each year.
- The City of Gastronomy of Tours will underline the connections between food and social life. A university of food science and culture will be created to research this connection. Capital of the Val de Loire, Tours is well-known for its rich land and attractive history, symbolized by the Châteaux de la Loire.