If you've ever wondered what the Moulin Rouge looks like backstage, or wanted to get past the reception area at Paris City Hall, make sure to reserve space in your agenda for European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine). For two days a year in Paris and the rest of France, thousands of monuments, government buildings, and privately owned sites of interest open their doors to give the public free reign to areas that are generally not accessible. Exhibits, concerts, performances and other festive happenings usually accompany the visits. While lines can be long and patience is always required for the Journées du Patrimoine in Paris, first visitors and city connoisseurs alike will find this free event in Paris to be a memorable change of pace.
European Heritage Days in Paris: 2012 Sites and Special EventsIn 2012, les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine takes place Saturday, September 15th through Sunday, September 16th. The theme this year is "Hidden Heritage".
- For a list of sites in and around Paris open for the occasion this year, visit this website with information from the Paris Tourist Office .
- If you aren't able to use the above list due to language barriers and would like to get information on European Patrimony Days events, you can visit the dedicated information center at the French Ministry of Culture and Communication during both days of the event, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm:
Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
182, rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arrondissement
Metro: Tuileries or Concorde
- I also recommend walking around the city and stumbling on interesting sites and events by chance. This is the way I usually go about it and it always makes for an interesting day.