Paris Travel Planner   Journées du Patrimoine, Paris, France
Journées du Patrimoine, or Heritage Days, allow visitors to see buildings and monuments that are usually closed to the public.




Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, or European Heritage Days, offer the opportunity for residents and visitors alike to see some of the monumental buildings that make up the heritage of the city or country. In Paris, that means that buildings ranging from the Elysée Palace (home of the French President) to the Hôtel de Ville, to a host of other government and private buildings are open, and most can be visited for free.

It also means that lots of people come out to enjoy this unique opportunity, so be prepared to stand in line at the most popular spots.

We visited the Hôtel de Ville after a short wait of about 30 minutes. It was a thrill to wander through this beautiful building, seeing everything from the salle des fêtes to the Mayor's office and the daycare center. Exhibits explained not only the history of the building, but also the complex lighting systems and other behind-the-scenes information. There was even an exhibit about how the building is cleaned, with members of the cleaning staff available for questions. It was a fascinating look at this building that I've admired from the outside for so long.

Hotel de Ville, Paris
Salle des Fêtes, Hotel de Ville, Paris, on Les Journées du Patrimoine.

We decided not to stand in line for 3 hours to see the Elysée Palace. Instead, I enjoyed visiting the Palais Royale, and we took in a couple of smaller Hôtels Particuliers that now serve various government functions.

Interested in military history? Try the École Militaire. There are also lots of smaller venues that are open.

The Luxembourg Palace houses the French Senate. You can also visit the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of Parliament. Other buildings are more industrial, such as factories and even waste disposal plants.

These are only a few of the monuments that will be open on Heritage Days. And if you're outside of Paris, fear not! This is a European event, and you'll find many buildings in smaller cities also open.

Les Journées du Patrimoine are held the third weekend in September (September 16-17, 2023, September 21-22, 2024, etc.)

The website describing all of the offerings is only in French, and it's very complex. If you want to search for a specific building (Hôtel de Ville) or type of building (Château), you can enter its name in the search box. You can also enter the name of a town (I put in Dijon and 149 events came up; for Évian, only 19).

Heritage Days in France

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 Palais Royale, Paris

Above, A reception room in the Palais Royale, Paris.

Below, The Palais Royale, reflected in silver balls in a fountain in the lovely gardens of the Palais Royale.

Palais Royale, Paris



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