Journees du Patrimoine Heritage Days in Paris France

The highlight of the cultural year for France are the Heritage Days and the city of Paris has a weekend every year dedicated to this, where some of the more unusual tourist attractions are open to the public on these days only.

About the Heritage Days

Journees du Patrimoine basically means Heritage Days and in Paris these are held during a weekend in September and these heritage days were instigated by the French back in 1983 when the Ministry of Culture decided to hold a historical monument open day.
Heritage Days Paris

Since 1991 the European Union has back these cultural heritage days and now there are more than 40 countries and all the regions in France that hold annual heritage days including countries in the European Union such as the UK, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, etc where you can visit often well known but normally out of reach buildings, monuments, etc.

However, other countries throughout the world such as the United States and Australia have also taken up on this same idea and also promote Heritage Days, although some countries or even capital cities will hold different heritage days to the rest of the country, which is like the UK, as London is a different weekend to the rest of England.

About the Journees du Patrimoine Heritage Days in Paris

You will find that the City of Lights plays a very active role in promoting the history of Paris through its heritage days by opening up places like the Palais de l’Elysee, which is the French Presidents official residence, that is not normally open to the public to explore.
Yet there are numerous other tourist attractions in Paris that only open on the heritage days such as the workshops at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace, which is located at Le Bourget airport, the  Musee de Matiere Medicale Museum or the greenhouses at the Musee du Luxembourg that house tropical orchids.

Also during these heritage days there are many museums in Paris that are run by the city such as the Maison Victor Hugo, which are completely free to enter on these days, along with others like the Musee des Arts Forains Fairground Museum and places like the Hotel de Ville, which is the City Hall and the Hotel de Lamoignon, which holds the historical library of Paris.
Heritage Days Maison Victor Hugo

Heritage Days Fairground Museum
The city also provide maps and information for those on holiday in Paris to take different strolls or cycle rides around the city, known as heritage strolls, that are based on themes such architecture trails where you can discover historical monuments in Paris along with the many fountains and townhouses.  You can also discover themed walks like equestrian statues, churches with their tombs and frescos, through to some of the famous squares in Paris like the Place de la Concorde.

Plus they have guided tours, workshops and exhibitions that are also organised over these two European Heritage Days like being able to discover the hydraulics and engineering marvels of the elevators at the Eiffel Tower.  However, we would like to point out that some of these, including the Catacombes and the Archaeological Crypt under the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral are not included within the heritage days, so there is still a charge to enter these.

But you will find that the heritage days normally take place during the third week of September and are always held at a weekend on a Saturday and Sunday, and for 2013 the two Heritage Days in Paris are the 14th and 15th of September.