Les Journées du Patrimoine

A must-do event for your cultural calendar this fall, France’s heritage festival shows just how much the public’s appetite for their local history has grown since 1984. Seventeen thousand sites across France take part in the event every year, including one thousand five hundred in the Ile-de-France region.

Right Bank

Start in the extremely chic 16th arrondissement, now home to the superb Harcourt studio – founded in 1934 and renowned for its portraits of stars the world over – in a mansion house built in 1899 by the banker Hottinger. Then head over to the neighboring 8th, its unmissable Palais de l’Élysée and Maxim’s restaurant with its stunning Belle Epoque rooms. Next, go west towards the Opéra and down the boulevard des Capucines to Bucherer, the world’s largest store dedicated to timepieces, which is organizing, especially for this two-day event, watch and jewelry workshops and a guided tour exploring the history of watchmaking. Heading south, explore the Palais Royal and the glories of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Conseil d’État, the Conseil Constitutionel and the Comédie-Française. A short walk away, at 10 rue du Mail, feast your eyes on Tassinari & Chatel’s showroom filled with silk work from every period in French history. Going north, explore the 9th arrondissement, or more precisely the Nouvelles Athènes district where the Hôtel Dosne-Thiers holds a collection of more than 156,000 works, and the Musée de la Vie Romantique, which has a display of rare objects belonging to George Sand. If you’ve still got the energy, visit the Montmartre funicular railway and its vintage machinery. After that, take a well-earned break at the peaceful Villa des Arts, following in the footsteps of Cézanne, Marcoussis and Sisley.

Left Bank

Epicenter of intellectual life in the city, the left bank is organising events with a cultural and spiritual flavor this year. From the Seine, in the 6th arrondissement, the Mazarine library stands shoulder to shoulder with the Roger-Viollet photo agency, a treasure trove of old photographs. Stop off at the Musée Delacroix on the sublime place de Furstemberg before hopping over to the Saint-Germain-des Prés-church with its Romanesque nave and work by Pierre Buraglio, then head to Saint-Sulpice – the biggest church in Paris and home to a masterwork by Delacroix. Over in the 5th arrondissement, you have the choice between the Louis-le-Grand and Henry IV high schools, the Sainte-Geneviève library and architect Soufflot’s masterpiece, the Panthéon. The 7th, meanwhile, is opening the doors of its sumptuous town houses so you can admire their elaborate décors and grandiose gardens. Don’t miss the Hôtel de Monaco, between rue Saint-Dominique and rue de Grenelle, built by Alexandre Brongniart in 1744 or the Hôtel de Noirmoutier, the residence of the Préfet de Paris, built in 1724. Exhausted? Don’t worry: the jardin du Luxembourg is just next door!

Be careful, some places are closed due to tragic events in the country. For more information, click here.

By Anne Kerner. Photos : Benjamin Gavaudo - Centre des monuments Nationaux / Jean-Pierre Delagarde / D.R - Published the

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