Thursday, September 2, 2021

Heritage Days are Sept 18 & 19

It's that time again: The 38th annual Journ
ées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19, in cities and villages all over France. The program was launched by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984 and has since spread all over Europe (officially it's now called European Heritage Days or JEP, for Journées Européennes du Patrimoine). This year the theme is "Heritage for All" and 20,000 sites or so are expected to participate. This is one the biggest events in France and one of my favorite weekends of the year.

The idea is that a wide range of monuments, religious sites, estates, gardens,  museums, workshops, galleries, ateliers, factories and more are open for special visits, including many that are normally closed to the public. Most sites are offering free entry and will have a guide on hand; some are hosting special tours and events (mostly in French). Some may require you to sign up in advance...but for the most part, you just show up. 
Some villages will have events on Friday Sept 17 as well. 

The main Journées du Patrimoine website is here (or in English here) and the department-by-department listings are here. But I'd wait a little while and then check back; I'm told that final event details are coming in slowly as the various sites decide whether to participate or not...and how to best handle Covid protocols. Local tourist offices will have Patrimoine info on their own sites...or will direct you to it if you call...and in year's past I've found that they have the most comprehensive, up-to-date info. 

For example, as of today the department-listings page on the Patrimoine site mentions just one participating site in my village of St. Remy (in Department #13, the Bouches-du-Rhone) but every year St. Remy publishes its own terrific map/guide and this year I see 22 sites listed. You can see and download the 2021 St. Remy program here. Or you can pick one up at the St. Remy Tourist Office or at the participating sites.

To get you started, here are some listings for the six departments of PACA (Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur): Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceAlpes-MaritimesBouches du Rhone, the Hautes-Alpes and the Var. For the Vaucluse, try here and here. And here's the Gard (which is not technically in Provence but never mind). 

And here are the programs for Avignon, Aix, Arles Marseille and Nice. But don't forget about tiny villages, many of which offer fantastic tours, visits and programs as well.  

For events and participating sites in Paris, look here and here

The main Patrimoine website will continue updating their full nationwide map and program here. It's a bit clunky but you're smart and you'll figure it out.

Some events (such as concerts, guided tours and lectures) are happening at specific times, on one day of the weekend on both. And many villages are offering additional activities not pegged to specific sites, such as the historic walking tours that St. Remy is offering on Saturday and Sunday at 10 am (reservations required, call 04 90 92 05 22) and four free jazz concerts sponsored by Jazz à St. Remy (three on Saturday, one on Sunday). 

For additional updates, you can also follow the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine on Instagram and on Facebook

Vive le Patrimoine de France!

Photos: Get out there and explore! A few of the many thousands of sites that have offered or will offer Patrimoine events include the LUMA Foundation in Arles, The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar (Alsace), The Museon Arlaten in Arles, The Confectionery Factory Roy René and Museum of Calisson outside Aix, the fantastical houses of Jacques-Emile Lecaron in Clamart, the Théâtre Antique d'Orange, La Cite Radieuse by Le Corbusier in Marseille, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on the Cap Ferrat, the Roman Amphitheatre in Arles, the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, the Jewish Cemetery in St. Remy, the Gare de Reims, the Maison du Riz in the Camargue, the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles, the Heliport of Paris, The Château Raspail in Gigondas, the Château d'Aujac and the Palace of Versailles.  At the bottom, this year's poster.


  1. This is always such a great time to be in France! Thanks for all the info!

    1. Love this event and love sharing it! I wish there were a better way to get all the particulars (sites and events) but it always takes a bit of digging around. Worth it, though. xx

  2. Julie, I don't see the links to repost these articles on FB, Twitter, etc.

    1. Hi and I's frustrating! But Blogger, the Google blogging platform, did away with that. If you'd like to share (and thank you if you do!), just copy the URL for the story from above and paste as normal. Here it is:

  3. Les Journées du Patrimoine always make me wish we could stay longer in France after la rentrée in Canada! Merci for the post, and enjoy that coming weekend.

  4. Thank you Julie for reminding me and for sharing this info. This is a great day not to be missed! It is really helpful and I am so appreciative of your efforts and care to share important dates and events and fun things to do in Provence. Gaby