European Heritage Days in Paris
15th & 16th September 2012

Gosh! How can we explain how much we love this event? It’s a once-yearly chance to see places that are usually closed to the public, and Paris has some amazing spaces to discover. This year’s theme is even ‘hidden heritage’ – even more exciting!

Here are our picks…

© Jacques Lebar /

As usual, there’s a huge amount going on in Paris for the European Heritage Days (if you’ve bever visited the Senate or Hôtel de Ville, now’s the time).

The full programme is on the official site (all in French unfortunately), but we’ve selected a few places not far from our hotels that are open only for this weekend, and some that are opening for the very first time this year, like…

…the head offices of the Crédit Lyonnais bank that have been closed to the public for over 15 years. You’ll be able to wander round and see the safe room and the dome. Don’t miss the metallic structure made by Eiffel (as in, Tower) and the majestic staircase modelled on the one at the Chateau de Chambord! More information here.

Another building usually closed to the public is the head office of another bank, the BNP – the façade is spectacular, and there are some amazing rooms to discover inside too…

photo : JasonW
photo : © BNP / Gerard Uferas/ La Company

Near our hotels, there are several things specially open for the weekend that you might like to see:

Just a few minutes from la Belle Juliette you cna visit the Hôtel de Montmorin, now the Overseas Ministry, including (for the first time) a war bunker constructed in the basement in 1937! All the info is here.

The ‘Conseil Régionale d’Ile de France’ has an exhibition of photos on offer, and a visit of their auditorium. More info here.

And the ‘Séminaire des mission étrangères de Paris’ opens their house and grounds – a large hidden garden. All the details are here.

Nearer the Hôtel Design Sorbonne and Hôtel Jardin de l’Odéon, you’ll have special access to the Science faculty, their grand ‘Salle des actes’ and the Medical Instrument Museum, the Hôtel de Vendôme has an exhibition on about mine engineering and the catacombs, and the French Institute is allowing you to visit their dom and Mazarine Library… All the details are here.

And near the Hôtel du Panthéon and Hôtel des Grands Hommes, a number of themed tours are on offer, as well as a visit of a college founded in 17th century. However, our offbeat choice would be a stone arch hidden in the basement of a Post Office, through which used to flow La Bièvre, a river that ran through Paris and has now been covered over. More details here!

A great weekend then. Try to see as much as you can – as we said, many of the places are only open for these two days, and we’d hate for you to have to wait until 2013!

Les Journées du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days) are in Paris (and all over Europe) on 15th & 16th September 2012

Official French site: (beaucoup d’aitres visites à découvrir)

Site optimised for mobile devices :, or scan this tagFacebook (in French):

European Heritage Day Facebook in English: here

Twitter:, hashtag #jep2012