This past weekend was the thirtieth edition of Journées européennes du patrimoine – or “European Heritage Days.” This annual event has become an important date on September’s already busy rentree schedule.
Historic monuments, buildings, private residences, art museums, parks and gardens – all of these open to the public in an impressive show of the country’s rich cultural heritage. 12 million people visit the thousands of sites spread all across France.
We had planned to go out exploring on Saturday, but it was raining cats and dogs (or “raining ropes” – il pleut des cordes - as they say in French). Still, I heard on the news that people were waiting up to 3 hours in the rain to get into the Elysee, home of the French president.
(Here’s a video of the Elysee, in case you didn’t make it in, either):
While I love getting a glimpse of normally closed off places – and this weekend offered access to many of them! – I’m also kind of a wimp when it comes to both floods of people and waterworks from the sky.
Luckily our strategy worked – waiting until Sunday gave us a day free of rain (even some sun!) and manageable lines because we picked smaller sites. I didn’t know anything about the administrative court, but hey, why not? They’re letting us in!
Close by was the Hôtel d’Aumont, the administrative tribunal. (A theme was emerging). The site was even more beautiful.
I looked down at the little itinerary I had scribbled down: HÔTEL BOUTHILLIER-DE-CHAVIGNY, HÔTEL CHÂLON-LUXEMBOURG, HÔTEL DE COULANGE, HÔTEL DE MAYENNE…
Hey, just how many “hotels” were there around here? 600 in the Marais alone our guide informed us. Wow!
Needless to say, we did not hit up all 600 hotels. We ended up just wandering after that.
We ran into some more evidence of regional pride along the quais of the Seine.
Did you get up to any festivity this weekend?
What secret – or not so secret – site would you most like to visit in Paris?