Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days)
This cultural-year highlight brings an opportunity to spend a weekend in September visiting an endless variety of well-known (but usually off-bounds) and outright unusual historical monuments.
The European Council instated the EU-backed Heritage Days in 1991 on a French idea dating back to 1983 (when the Ministry of Culture held its first historical-monument open days). More than 40 French countries and regions hold Heritage Days now.
The Palais de l’Elysée (the French President’s residence), Sénat, Assemblée Nationale, museums and theatres are a few of the many historical hotspots that open their doors to the public one weekend a year.
The City of Paris plays a very active role in this event. It maps out about 35 heritage trails for anyone who wants to explore this city on foot or by bicycle. The “Architecture Trails” self-explanatorily focus on the history of Paris’ buildings and architectural heritage around fountains and townhouses, quiet back streets and world-famous squares.
Paris museums (excluding the catacombs and crypt under Notre-Dame Cathedral Square organise free-of-charge lecturer-guided tours and artist workshops. People can also visit permanent and temporary exhibitions free of charge during these two days. Or the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), Archives de Paris, Hôtel d’Albret or Hôtel de Lamoignon (Paris 4), where Paris has its historical library.
Heritage Days usually take place during the 3rd week in September.
Discover Patrimap (free Ipad and Iphone application of the City of Paris)