Jack Lang decided in 1984 to open the doors of French public buildings to the public. 50 countries in Europe now do the same, annually the third week in September.
After that first Journée Portes ouvertes dans les monuments historiques (Historical Monuments Open House) on the third Sunday in September. The Sunday visits became so successful, that in 1992 the event became a day-two French affair taking place the third weekend in September. The name changed to Journées du Patrimoine. Europe adopted the name Journées européennes du patrimoine in 2000.
For the French, this is an opportunity to visit their national monuments that are closed to the public or have limited access the rest of the year.
The visits include national monuments, churches, theaters, castles, private residences, banks, parliament buildings, government buildings, justice buildings, city halls, chambers of commerce.
Go on line and use the search keywords “journees du patrimoine” for these newspapers every year. Chances are they will have a listing of patrimony openings in Paris (by arrondissement) and in France. You choose the “Ile-de-France”, “Paris 75” and then an “arrondissement number”.
Enlarge the map or scroll down for the list of open venues in that arrondissement. Choose one, for the days and times and a history.
Le Parisien has an application “LeParisien.sortie” to download on either iTunes or Samsung.
Alternative Online Information
Two other alternatives for help in finding information: (1) the iPhone and smartphone application “Patrimap” and (2) a sense of adventure.
Downloading the “Patrimap” is the easiest way to search for the story behind Paris patrimony anytime. The app is available on iTunes and for other smartphone downloads. On the iPhone/iTunes, it is located in the “Travel” section in English.
Once you open the application, “Patrimap” your top choice is “Nearby”. The app will read your location and list the venues in your vicinity and a short description about the place. It does not list the hours. It is useful even when it is not time for Journées du Patrimoine.
While in Paris, use the nearest park for a WiFi connection to avoid roaming charges or download an application to find Hotspots.
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