Friday, September 07, 2007

Journees du Patrimoine

You know what it's like when you stroll down the streets of Paris. You see huge, fancy doors, an imposing edifice, a hint of a grand courtyard... and you wonder what's inside. Could it look like this?

On September 15 - 16 it is your once-a-year chance to get a sneak peek at the glories or mysteries inside many historic buildings that are normally closed to the public. The 24th Annual Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) will take place in Paris and across all of France and Europe next weekend. Actually, this event isn't limited to continental Europe. Guadeloupe and many other French DOM-TOM are hosting Patrimoine open houses as well.

If you are in Paris, there are virtually endless visiting spots for the incurably curious. This year, you can even visit President Nicolas Sarkozy's office and the grounds of the Elysée Palace. Dozens of sumptuous, jaw-dropping hôtels particuliers and other architectural gems in every arrondissement.

Here's my plan between now and then:
Do my homework.
Map my route.
Get up early.
Expect lines at the more popular spots.

Those who prefer a day trip from Paris could visit a chateau in one of the nearby departments, such as Yvelines, where the black-and-white photo above was taken some 60 years ago. Incroyable, non? I dream of some day getting a glimpse inside this particular chateau, which in its time boasted the largest collection of antler trophies in France. Alas, it's not open to the public.
From what I've been told, only historic buildings that have received renovation funding from the government are required to open their doors. Nevertheless, the options are enthralling.

Anyway, having been drooling for months over the photos in Olivier Blanc and Joachim Bonnemaison's coffee table book, Hôtels particuliers de Paris, I've decided that I'm sticking to the 7th arrondissement this year. So many neighbors, so little time.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page
Travel Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory blog search directory Targeted Website Traffic - Webmasters helping webmasters develop high value relevant links. Promoting ethical web-marketing using the time trusted pillars of relevance and popularity.