Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Open Days) in France are 15-16 September 2012.
Throughout the weekend and across France, many galleries, museums and other buildings open their doors for free to celebrate local history and heritage.
The 12 million visitors during the 2011 weekend confirmed that for almost thirty years these very special two days have testified the love of the French for the history of places and art. Such success lies in the great diversity of the heritage offered to visitors: in parallel to the masterpieces of civil or religious architecture, examples of industrial or agricultural activities, parks and gardens, archaeological sites, furnishings, literary, river or military heritage are also recognized.
You will often be able to access buildings, workshops etc which are not usually open to the public. European Heritage Days thus provide the marvellous opportunity for a large number of visitors to discover public buildings (the Élysée Palace, the Senate, ministries, embassies, prefectures, town halls, as well as theatres, hospitals, schools, gymnasiums) and private buildings (villas, castles, factories) which are opening their doors for the first time or on an exceptional basis, revealing behind the scenes, their unique history or their secret collections.
- The crypt of the Basilica of St Clothilde, Reims (51 Marne, Champagne-Ardennes) (picture above)
- The collection of Astronomical Clocks at the Cathedral in Besancon (25 Doubs. Franche-Comté)
- The art nouveau Villa Majorelle in Nancy (54 Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine)
- The medieval house in Mirepoix (09, Ariège. Midi-Pyrenees)
- The bastide (fortified village) of Aiguillon (47 Lot et Garonne, Aquitaine)
- TGV workshops in Lyon
(69 Rhone, Rhone-Alpes)
In every département there will be something going on – check with the local tourist office.
For more info see www.journeesdupatrimoine.culture.fr/