Traditions - General Info Section

European Heritage Days in France

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Creation of the European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days is a cultural event that promotes European heritage in 50 countries that adhere to the European Cultural Convention.

The European Council and the European Commission preside over this joint event.

In 1984, France was the first country to create Les Journéed Porte Ouvertes - Open Doors Days, a name still used in some participant English countries.

The following year, the French Minister of Culture proposed to extend this initiative to the whole of Europe under the aegis of the Council of Europe.

The Netherlands joined in 1987, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990.

Open Doors Days were officially renamed European Heritage Days in 2000 and are organized by the Council of Europe with the support of the European Union.

In 2010, 50 states had joined the European Cultural Convention!

These cultural events take place from late August to early November, according to country but also the region.

However, European Heritage Days have had a theme since 1995 to highlight a – or several - aspects of our heritage; the theme for 2018 is The Art of Sharing.

European Heritage Days in France

The Directorate of Cultural Heritage and the various regional directorates of cultural affairs, all placed under the auspices of the French Ministry of Culture, organize the European Heritage Days that always place on the third weekend of September.

The European Heritage Days 2018 will take therefore place in France on September 15th and 16th.

These cultural events are an opportunity to discover national and regional heritage and visit buildings and places normally closed to the public.

This includes monuments, ministries and state residences, private homes, castles, banks, tribunals, prefecture, churches, theaters and museums to name a few.

State-owned public monuments, and museums that bear the label Musée de France are accessible free of charge.

Private sites and monuments, or those that depend on local authorities or public institutions, generally welcome the public at a reduced rate.

Some of the Parisian Monuments we visited for you

The most visited Parisian monuments are, unsurprisingly, the Elysée Palace and gardens (the official residence of the French president), the National Assembly - Palais Bourbon, the Palais du Luxembourg (seat of the French Senate) and the various ministries; it is obvious that circles of power attract visitors!

We also visited the Académie de Médecine and the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, next door; the Institut de France (seat of the French Academy), Hôtel-de-Ville of Paris, Mairie de 1er Arrondissement (1st district townhall), Tour Saint-Jacques, Sorbonne, Petit Palais (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Paris), Ecole Militaire, Le Petit Cimetière du Calvaire in Montmartre which is also open on All Saints' Day, Museum of Art and History of Judaism, Musée Pasteur and Crypt where Louis Pasteur is buried and the Manufacture des Gobelins

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