France names four Cités de la Gastronomie
Decanter.com seems to have completely misunderstood this piece of news.
"France" hasn't named anything (i.e., neither the government, nor the people). The MFPCA is an NGO linked with the University of Tours. They are the ones that successfully campaigned to have the "Gastronomic meal of the French" added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. One of the things they promised to do as part of that dossier was the establishment of a "Cité de la Gastronomie", something like a museum dedicated to French food (cf. the Cité de la Musique and the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, the Cité de l'Espace in Toulouse, etc.). The word "cité" does not mean "city" here.
A handful of cities applied to _host_ the Cité de la Gastronomie, not to _be_ the Cité de la Gastronomie. These were: Beaune, Dijon, Lyon, Paris-Rungis, and Tours. None of the candidates was able to propose something on the grand scale the MFPCA were hoping for, so they decided to expand the project into a network of cités located in several cities, and they chose Tours, Rungis, and Dijon to be the three locations. (Remember what I said about them having links with Tours…?) Lyon was invited to resubmit a better proposal, and they have recently been added to the list.
Here's a more informed report, from Le Monde:
Rungis? It's an industrial complex that chose the location after Les Halles was dismantled. Apologies to the good people of Rungis, but the there's-no-there-there town does not have a particular gastronomic culture or history.
No objection to Dijon, but if Dijon is in, why not Arles and Nice and St Jean de Luz ?
Yeah, Rungis is a big fat joke. It is only the wholesale food market for Paris - have they fallen on their heads?
But the whole thing is a joke. If you are to name a city of gastronomy, name one. Oh well that is silly too, France is a *territory* with good food, not a desert studded with a few gastronomic diamonds. Whatever the choice, most cities could claim it is unfair. You can't name one city of gastronomy in France. And if you name more than one, why not name them all. So lame, so meaningless, and so remote from the true issues of food.
Products are disappearing, the European union is about to outlaw many food plants and vegetables that are not in the commercial growers' catalog - so farewell to home gardening, bio maraîchers, biodiversity -, and they're all jumping up and down with joy because they just have thrown four darts at a map of France?