Turning 20 in the Loire Valley World Heritage site

Published on 31 March 2020 - Updated 13 July 2021
Cet article date d'il y a plus de 3 ans

In 2020, the Loire Valley celebrates 20 years as a listed UNESCO World Heritage, in the organically evolved and continuing cultural landscape category. Although the summer programme planned for the occasion had to be postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, some events, scheduled for the final quarter, are still aiming to go ahead!

1 photo exhibition

  • 23 October 2020 to 17 January 2021 at Château de Tours

Mission Val de Loire is seeking to shake up the perspectives we have of the Loire Valley World Heritage site. In partnership with Vendôme’s “Promenades photographiques” festival, it is hosting the Mark Grosset prize-winning young photographers on a residency, aimed at exploring the relationship with monuments, the local area and inhabitants through photography. 

Together with photographer Christophe Le Toquin, Mission Val de Loire and its partners are also launching a participatory photo observatory to monitor the changing landscape.  

1 week of educational events

  • “20 classes for 20 years”, from 16 to 20 November

Mission Val de Loire and the Fédération des Maisons de la Loire are organising an educational initiative for 8-11 year olds involving the construction of a model chaland, a traditional Loire barge, to gain a clearer insight into the link between people, the river and the landscape. 

Official festivities

  • End of November

Tours, talks and official festivities between Tours and Fontevraud will provide an opportunity to celebrate the Loire Valley cultural landscape, which has been a listed World Heritage site since 30 November 2000, on the theme of heritage outreach activities for young people. 

Involving youth today means preparing for the future!

"Turning 20 in the Loire Valley World Heritage site", the chosen theme for this pivotal year, will see young people who were born at the time the inscription became official getting involved in shaking up the perspective we have and our approaches in terms of the landscape, heritage, art and environment in the Loire Valley World Heritage site.  

4 ports of call along the Loire postponed…

Initially scheduled in Les Ponts-de-Cé, Tours, Blois and Orléans, these ports of call, together with an open-air café area, intended to stage four days’ worth of ‘edutaining’ activities including quizzes, VJing, video mashups, cinema for the ears, talks, exhibitions and more for all ages – 18-25 year olds, 8-11 year olds, families and everyone with a link to the Loire and its banks.  

Poster of the 4 ports of call initially scheduled.  


Unfortunately the pandemic and associated health restrictions meant we were unable to host these events under suitable conditions. They have therefore been postponed, in the hope of reorganising them next summer. 

... but virtual events held in the meantime

To help pass the time and give a little taster of these postponed ports of call, Mission Val de Loire has decided to repackage the initiative in the form of "virtual ports of call". The aim is to broadcast interviews with the people involved in these physical ports of call via a cultural offering that can be viewed across a range of media. In the same way as the "physical ports of call", these interviews will seek to yield insight into the stakeholders’ day-to-day activities, to showcase their (directly or indirectly) river-related trades and the landscapes and to talk about the way in which the riverbanks are inhabited and occupied, what they mean to us and how we engage in a dialogue with them, and local history (traditions, know-how), etc.  

The first of these "video podcasts" will be aired at the end of June/beginning of July. 

Participation in events

Partnerships with other Loire-based events are taking shape and Mission Val de Loire will be attending: 

  • Rendez-vous de l'Histoire , from 7 to 11 October in Blois. The theme of this 23rd "Rendezvous with History", Governance, will venture behind the scenes of the Loire Valley’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It will also provide an opportunity to talk about the governance of an inscribed site the likes of the Loire Valley, a cultural landscape extending over 860 sq.km., from Chalonnes-sur-Loire to Sully-sur-Loire.
  • BD BOUM  , from 20 to 22 November in Blois, during a special Loire-themed day, in the company of Alain Bujak, photographer and author of "L'eau vive". This comic book goes back over the fierce ecological opposition in the 1980s to the Serre de la Fare dam in Haute-Loire.

This programme is liable to change in light of Covid-19 pandemic events. To keep up with all of the news relating to this special anniversary year, follow us on social media!  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram   



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