Open House ‘Heritage Days’

Hôtel de Beauvais - Cour Administrative d'appel de Paris

Hôtel de Beauvais – Cour administrative d’appel de Paris

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.

A free tour of the towers of Notre Dame were offered for Heritage Days. We took the less crowded option and went around back.

A free tour of the towers of Notre Dame were offered for Heritage Days. We took the less crowded option and went around back.

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!

Basement of Hotel de Beauvais - with our very knowledgable blur of a guide

Basement of Hotel de Beauvais – with our very knowledgable blur of a guide

Courtyard of Hotel de Beauvais

Courtyard of Hotel de Beauvais

Mozart lived here! Back when he was 7 - and already writing masterpieces.

Mozart lived here! Back when he was 7 – and already writing masterpieces.

A room for the building's modern day usage. Administrative cases heard here.

A room for the building’s modern day usage. Administrative cases heard here.

Close by was the Hôtel d’Aumont, the administrative tribunal. (A theme was emerging). The site was even more beautiful.

Waiting to enter the courtyard of Hotel d'Aumont.

Waiting to enter the courtyard of Hotel d’Aumont.

Detail, Courtyard, Hotel d'Aumont

Nice study room! Lawyers and law students can use the library here.

Nice study room! Lawyers and law students can use the library here.

Sweet office! President of the Tribunal works here.

Sweet office! President of the Tribunal works here.

One of the modern day court rooms.

One of the modern day court rooms.

Courtyard of the Hotel d'Aumont/Tribunal. The guide said something about 60 horses here, but I didn't quite catch the whole story ;)

Courtyard of the Hotel d’Aumont/Tribunal. The guide said something about 60 horses here, but I didn’t quite catch the whole story.

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.

Past the Hotel de Ville - still my favorite hotel in town.

Past the Hotel de Ville – still my favorite hotel in town.

Blue sky! River Seine! Twin ships! Scenic-ness!

Blue sky! River Seine! Twin ships! Scenic-ness!

Now that I've visited the Pantheon, I'm seeing it in the skyline all the time. How in the heck did I never notice the dome this much before?

Now that I’ve visited the Pantheon, I’m seeing it in the skyline all the time. How in the heck did I never notice the dome this much before?

Sky blue wedding shoot

Sky blue wedding shoot

NO! This isn't even the original "love lock" bridge. Does *every* bridge in Paris now have to be hidden by locks?

NO! This isn’t even the original “love lock” bridge. Does *every* bridge in Paris now have to be hidden by locks?

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?

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2 Responses to “Open House ‘Heritage Days’”


  1. 1 Karin B September 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I got a giggle out of this as it is how I felt about the Journées du Patrimoine:

    “I didn’t know anything about the administrative court, but hey, why not? They’re letting us in!”

    I didn’t know this special event existed until 2009, and that year I was traveling that weekend so I didn’t get in to any places, but by 2010 sought out locations. I got to see an upstairs location in the Eglise Saint-Eustache by just being out and exploring, for example. I think if had still been in Paris, I would have gone on to the website dedicated to the event and found a small but interesting place to be and to see.

    I think it is a great idea — one that works well for Europe with all its old, historic places.

    Maybe not so much for a place like Denver, though, lol. Unless it would be to go out to the grasslands and actually explore and learn more about the native people to whom this land belonged before … well, yeah, anyway, I was about to go on an historical rant, but I think you get the idea! :D

    Thanks for sharing all the great pics of Paris, m’dear.
    xx
    K


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Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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