Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 17.COM 7.B.8

The Committee

  1. Takes note that France has nominated Artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread (No. 01883) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The baguette is the most popular kind of bread enjoyed and consumed in France throughout the year. The traditional production process entails weighing and mixing the ingredients, kneading, fermentation, dividing, relaxing, manually shaping, second fermentation, marking the dough with shallow cuts (the baker's signature) and baking. Unlike other loaves, the baguette is made with only four ingredients (flour, water, salt and leaven and/or yeast) from which each baker obtains a unique product. Baguettes require specific knowledge and techniques: they are baked throughout the day in small batches and the outcomes vary according to the temperature and humidity. They also generate modes of consumption and social practices that differentiate them from other types of bread, such as daily visits to bakeries to purchase the loaves and specific display racks to match their long shape. Their crisp crust and chewy texture result in a specific sensory experience. The baguette is consumed in many contexts, including during family meals, in restaurants, and in work and school cafeterias. The production process is primarily transmitted through work-based training, combining school courses with work experience in a bakery. This apprenticeship enables future bakers to acquire the necessary knowledge of the ingredients, tools and process.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1: The artisanal know-how associated with the baguette involves a traditional production process comprising a series of stages, including kneading, fermentation and baking. The bearers and practitioners include bakers and professionals of small bakeries, teachers, trainers and apprenticeship supervisors and apprentice bakers, among others. The culture of the baguette also involves consumers and researchers. The transmission of the element takes place through work-based training, apprenticeships and school courses. The knowledge is also passed on within associations and professional bodies, as well as through public initiatives such as workshops, events and publications. The file describes the element as a key part of French food practices and meals.

R.2:   At the local level, the element's inscription will make it possible to leverage the territorial network of bakeries as intermediaries to raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage. At the national level, inscription will raise awareness of food practices as a part of daily life shared by many. At the international level, inscription will raise awareness of culinary practices by highlighting them as a part of communities' intangible cultural heritage. Inscription will also contribute to enhancing links with other communities with similar practices, particularly through the organization of international initiatives and exchanges.

R.4:   The file describes the participation of communities in the nomination process. The Confédération Nationale de la Boulangerie et Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Française, with its ninety-six departmental federations, took up the task of coordinating and drafting the nomination file. It also coordinated the exchanges between communities and the preparation of the file in a spirit of collaboration. Three committees were formed to work on the nomination: a steering committee, a scientific committee and a support committee. Various letters of consent from bakers, organizations, professionals associated with the bakery industry, scientists, artists, educators and diverse organizations were submitted as part of the nomination file.

R.5:   The element was included on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in France in November 2018. The inventory is maintained by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. The practitioners and bearers of the element formed committees for the drafting of the nomination to the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Meetings, seminars and exchanges were held as part of the preparation of the element's inclusion in the inventory. The inventory is updated each year with approximately forty new elements.

  1. Further considers that, from the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting State through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.3:   The file explains the communities' past and current efforts in the safeguarding of the element through efforts in the areas of: knowledge transmission, identification, documentation, research, promotion, presentation, preservation and protection. The State Party's efforts were also explained in the file. The file further explained that the decline in the number of bakeries since 1970 indicates the need to put in place safeguarding measures. A comprehensive set of proposed safeguarding measures is included in the file, such as the creation of a vocational certificate principally focused on the artisanal baguette, establishing an inventory of experts, promoting the element through national competitions and the establishment of a monitoring committee to monitor the effectiveness of the safeguarding measures. In addition, the file provides information on the involvement of communities, groups and individuals in the planning and implementation of the safeguarding measures. The State Party clarified through the dialogue process, that the ‘standardization of bread-making tests and assessment of baguettes’ concern the flour for traditional French breads and ensures that new flours are suitable for use in the production of good quality bread.

  1. Decides to inscribe Artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party of the importance of using vocabulary and concepts that are appropriate to the Convention and to therefore avoid expressions such as ‘authenticity’, ‘origin’, as well as any reference to exclusive ownership over intangible cultural heritage;
  3. Invites the State Party to take appropriate measures to ensure that the application of a standard procedure does not restrict or stifle human creativity and to avoid over-commercialization;
  4. Encourages the State Party, for future nominations, to pay more attention to the cultural and social functions of the nominee element and not to focus only on the product related to it.