Chaîne des Puys (World Heritage)

Chaîne des Puys (World Heritage)

In the heart of the French Massif Central, a relic of mountain formation in the Middle Paleozoic (around 350 million years ago), lies the Auvergne, one of the youngest volcanic landscapes in Europe. The volcanoes – all of which are no longer active – show themselves here from their exemplary side, so to speak. Various manifestations of volcanism can be studied in a very small space, which scientists recognized as early as the 18th century.

Volcanic variety of shapes: The northernmost volcanic group, which sits on the crystalline base of the Massif Central, forms the Chaîne des Puys, also known as the Monts Dôme. The approximately 30-kilometer-long mountain chain made up of over 80 cinder cones, spring crests and maars extends in a north-south direction along a tectonic fault zone (Limagne rift valley). The landmark is the towering Puy de Dôme (1463 m) – with ruins of a Mercure temple from Roman times, an observatory (since 1876) and an 89-meter high transmission tower (since 1956).

Eyries and ditches: The volcanoes are 95,000 to 8,000 years old and are the youngest geological phenomena that testify to continental drift in this region. The Limagne Rift Valley is much older. It is part of the Western European rift system that formed after the formation of the Alps 35 million years ago. The Montagne de la Serre lies on the edge of the rift valley, which has been refilled with weathering material from the mountain ranges. It is a vivid testimony to the formation of a clump 3 million years ago.

Chaîne des Puys: facts

Official title: Chaîne des Puys – tectonic arena of the Limagne fault
Natural monument: The geological features of the site include the eroded Plateau des Dômes with the Chaîne des Puys including the Puy de Chalard (northernmost point) and the Puy de Monténard (southernmost point); the Limagne, which testifies to continental drift, subsidence and sedimentation 37 to 25 million years ago; Montagne de la Serre south of Limagne, an example of the reversal of relief
Continent: Europe
Country: France
Location: Massif Central, west of Clermont-Ferrand, in the Volcans d’Auvergne Regional Nature Park
Appointment: 2018
Meaning: Testimony to the continental drift and the connections between different geological processes in the development of landforms

Taputapuātea (World Heritage)

Taputapuātea is a community on Raiatéa, a society island in French Polynesia. According to tradition, this is the “cradle of Polynesia”.

Taputapuātea: facts

Official title: Taputapuātea
Cultural monument: Part of the municipal area of ​​Taputapuātea with two forested valleys, part of the lagoon and coral reef, a marae and a strip of the Pacific Ocean
Continent: Australia and Oceania
Country: France
Location: Raiatea Island
Appointment: 2017
Meaning: exceptional testimony to 1000 years of Polynesian Maori culture

Vineyards, wine houses and wine cellars of Champagne (World Heritage)

According to physicscat, Champagne is one of the products that is manufactured in a relatively small, well-defined region, but enjoys worldwide fame – and in this case has even become a synonym for a refined way of life. In 2015, UNESCO named the eponymous landscape in the east of the Paris Basin with its viticulture-related facilities a World Heritage Site with the wine-growing region of Champagne.

The method of making sparkling wines through secondary fermentation in the bottle originated in the early 17th century and was further developed from craftsmanship to industrialized production in the 19th century. During the (deliberately desired) secondary fermentation, the winemaker adds sugar and yeast to the already fermented wine and thus starts a second fermentation, which lasts three weeks in the case of champagne. The fermentation carbonic acid formed in the process cannot escape, which creates an overpressure in the bottle. In order to remove the yeast from the bottle before shipping – possibly after years of storage – the champagne is shaken and placed in an ice bath. The frozen yeast then shoots out of the bottle due to the excess pressure before it is finally corked.

The World Heritage Site includes the historic vineyards and cellars of Hautvilliers, Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay, Saint-Nicaise in Reims, and Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. In order to appreciate the whole process of manufacture, the cultural heritage consists of the following components:

  • the vineyards as the basis for champagne production
  • Production and storage facilities such as fermentation rooms and wine cellars; Often old quarries are used for this, which leads to spectacular spatial experiences such as the converted limestone quarries of Reims and St. Nicaise
  • Distribution outlets, champagne houses and winegrowers’ estates

Champagne vineyards, wineries and cellars: facts

Official title: Champagne vineyards, wineries and cellars
Cultural monument: around 1000 hectares of wine-growing area including production facilities for champagne, cellars and wineries
Continent: Europe
Country: France
Location: Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, the hill of Saint-Nicaise in Reims and the avenue de Champagne in Épernay
Appointment: 2015
Meaning: The world heritage site bears witness to the tradition of a very special craftsmanship and its transition to an agro-industrial company.

Chaîne des Puys