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European Heritage Day Musee Carnavalet

European Heritage Days 2015

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Why you will love it?

On September 19 & 20, 2015, buildings, monuments and sites not normally accessible to the public will open their doors for the European Heritage Days. This is your one and only chance to visit extraordinary sites such as the home of the French President, the prestigious art school Les Beaux-Arts, or even more unusual places like an old medieval unrestored cellar. Here are our tips to fully enjoy the European Heritage Days.

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Our Insiders' Article

European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days, which take place on the 3rd weekend of September, are the best moment to discover the most fascinating places in Paris for free. They started in France in 1984 and have gradually won over other European countries. The idea is to highlight local heritage that is often inaccessible to visitors. Heritage includes museums of course, but also other private locations such as manor houses, rarely open to the public.

Classic Paris

As part of the European Heritage Days, entrance to most state-owned museums is free. This is therefore the perfect opportunity to (re)discover the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay or the Cluny Museum, even though there will be a lot of people. Or you may want to discover the classic parisian monuments, such as Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon or the Invalides. Another interesting tower is the Tour Saint Jacques, once the starting point of pilgrimages from Paris to Saint Jacques de Compostelle in Spain. It’s a bit of a climb, but the reward of some of the most fantastic views of the capital makes it well worthwhile

Political Paris

Step into the shoes of a politician for a change! Here are some political buildings exceptionally open to the public during the European Heritage Days:

The President’s residence: The Palais de l’Elysée is a magnificent 18th century palace. Be aware that the line is extremely long.

The Prime Minister’s residence: L’Hôtel Matignon, another beautiful mansion.

The upper and lower houses of the French parliament: the Senat and the Assemblée Nationale

The Mayor’s office: the city hall, or Hôtel de Ville, with opulent reception rooms.

Peculiar Paris

Tired of seeing the classic buildings? Here are some off the beaten track suggestions:

A Freemason temple: Enter the mysterious Grande Loge de France, full of intriguing symbols

Tour Jean Sans Peur: One of the highest buildings in Paris during the middle ages, this fortress tower has the oldest latrines of the capital!

Water Reservoir: The Réservoir Montsouris, built in 1874 was the largest water reservoir in the world for many years.

Intellectual Paris

Feel like discovering something a little bit more intellectual? Head out to the traditionally artistic and academic neighborhoods of Paris: Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter:

The Sorbonne: the oldest and most famous university in Paris, founded in 1253

Institut de France: This beautiful building in front of the Pont des Arts (love locks bridge) is a meeting place for the academics.

L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts: The national school of fine arts, interesting for both its architecture and its collection of art works.

Hidden Paris

Now a very hip and trendy neighborhood, the Marais was once the place to be for wealthy noble families. Some of them are museums (Carnavalet, Hunting and Nature, Picasso…), others are private properties, only open to the public during the European Heritage Days.

Maison d’Ourscamp: one of the oldest buildings in Paris, with a magnificent gothic unrestored cellar

Hôtel Lamoignon: The oldest public library in Paris, opened in 1763

The National Archives: located in the magnificent Hotel de Rohan and Hotel de Soubise.


The European Heritage Days give you the perfect opportunity to spend a day, or even the whole weekend, discovering the classic or hidden sights of Paris. You can explore the lesser-known side of Paris, as well as its most well-loved points of interest. Whether you choose to go with all the family, alone, with friends or with your special someone, the areas open for the European Heritage Days are absolutely not to be missed.

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