Friday, September 14, 2018

Journées du Patrimoine is This Weekend

It's that time again: The wonderful annual Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) takes place tomorrow and Sunday, September 15 and 16, in cities and villages all over France; a few have activities today as well. The program was started by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and has since spread all over Europe (where it's called European Heritage Days). This is the 35th year, the theme is "The Art of Sharing" and roughly 17,000 sites are participating. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year.

The idea is that a wide range of historic monuments, buildings, estates, gardens and domaines are open for special visits...along with many sites that are normally closed to the public. Most sites have a guide on hand to enhance your enjoyment of the visit (most tours and talks are in French) and most offer free entry. Some may require you to sign up in advance...but for the most part, you just show up. 

The website with all the participating venues is here (or in English herebut you'll do much better checking in with the Tourist Office or the tourism website of the village or city you want to visit. For example, the region-by-region Patrimoine page here lists just two participating sites in my village of St. Remy. But as in years past, the village has published its own terrific guide and this year there are 24 participating sites. You can see them all, with the map, hereYou can also pick up a printed copy at the Tourist Office or at most of the participating sites.

The best idea is to choose the village you wish to explore, pick up or download their schedule as early as possible and map your route, because some events happen only at certain times.

Here are some listings for various Provence departments, to get you started: Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceAlpes-MaritimesBouches du Rhone, the Gard (not really Provence but never mind), the Hautes-Alpes, the Var and the Vaucluse

And here's a list of most of the Tourist Offices in Provence and they should be able to help. Enjoy!

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