Best of / Culture

European Heritage Days in Paris

One-off openings, behind the scenes, little-known places ... one-of-a-kind free visits to explore Paris from a different angle.

Affiche Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2023
For 40 years, European Heritage Days have been inviting visitors to discover areas of iconic cultural sites and entire places in Paris that are not usually open to the public. An outstanding programme makes this weekend a highlight of the post-summer holiday period.

In 2023, Heritage Days take place on 16 and 17 September and the chosen themes are Living heritage and Sporting heritage.. There is something for everyone and for all ages ... events in unusual places, discovery trails, workshops and more! Here is a little glimpse of what is in store for you:

An acrobatic performance at the Musée d’Orsay

Nef du musée d'Orsay

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023 at 3pm and 4.30pm
Preparations for an unusual performance are underway at the Musée d’Orsay for the European Heritage Days. As part of the Paris 2024 cultural Olympiad, an acrobatic show will be held in the lobby of the museum, with the tightrope walker Nathan Paulin and members of the XY acrobatic troupe putting on some dazzling displays under the magnificent nave of the Musée d’Orsay.

Guided tour - a nod to the Olympic and Paralympic Games - at the Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly vue extérieure

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023 at 3pm and 5pm
The Musée du Quai Branly is organizing two free guided tours on the European Heritage Days during which visitors will view art through the prism of sport. Featuring a selection of sports-related works from Asia, Africa and the Americas, these tours at the Musée du Quai Branly provide a foretaste of next year’s Olympics.

Visits of the Cité Universitaire

For 95 years now, students from all over the world have been coming to stay in the unique houses of residence on the campus of the Cité Universitaire Internationale. Many of the 43 houses on campus open their doors and organise cultural events. The Cité internationale's Centre du patrimoine offers several thematic tours to help visitors discover this original architectural complex located in a 34-hectare landscaped park.

  • Visit Centre du patrimoine de la Cité internationale heritage centre with its permanent exhibition that tells the story of the International University: Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.
  • Guided tours Architectures Without Borders and discover the history of the International University through its architecture. Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm (1 hour). Departure from the Centre du patrimoine in the lobby of the Maison internationale. Registration on site from 2pm. Subject to availability.
  • Guided tours Gardens of the world in motion and sustainable park and the the ecological park, discovery of the fauna and flora of the park, of its most beautiful gardens as well as the works of art created within the framework of the 6th edition of Gardens of the world in motion. Saturday and Sunday at 4.30 pm (1.5 hours). Departure from the Centre du patrimoine in the lobby of the Maison internationale. Registration on site from 2pm. Subject to availability.
  • Guided tours Discover the new houses of the Cité internationale, built in a sustainable manner as part of the current development project, Cité 2025. Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 3.30pm (1.5 hours). Departure from the Centre du patrimoine in the lobby of the Maison internationale. Registration on site from 2pm. Subject to availability.

The full programme of the European Heritage Days at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris can be found here

The visit Crazy Experience of the Crazy Horse

Saturday 16 September at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Sunday 17 September at 2, 3, 4 and 5pm. Maximum 14 people per group. Registration required by email: [email protected]

The mythical Parisian cabaret Crazy Horse, located on the prestigious Avenue George V, is offering free 30-minute visits for this 2023 edition of the European Heritage Days, which will take the public into the history and backstage of this emblematic place. Two of the ‘Crazy Girls’ – as the cabaret’s dancers are nicknamed – will act as guides on this occasion and take visitors behind the scenes at the Crazy Horse Paris.

Culinary and cultural activities at the GoodPlanet Foundation

Timetable depending on the activities. To be found on the foundation's agenda

For its first participation in the Heritage Days, the GoodPlanet foundation - located in the Bois de Boulogne - offers a complete and original programme spread over the whole weekend. You can meet in this green screen for the MIAM festival, a vegetable walk, a mini food market, cooking workshops, culinary demonstrations, a DJ set, a foodtruck, culinary challenges... People will gather in this green setting to take part in workshops, screenings, guided tours, exhibitions and a walk through the kitchen garden.

Discover the machinery of the Eiffel Tower lift

On registration on the Eiffel Tower website. Saturday and Sunday, every 30 minutes from 9.30am to 3.30pm

The famous monument offers an exceptional visit to the machinery of its historic lift. The visit is commented by the Tower's technicians themselves!

Escape game with a historical theme around the Grand Palais

Affiche l'incroyable Paris d'Alfred Picard 2023

On 16 and 17 September 2023, from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm, duration 2 hours, free of cost, to be booked on the website of the organizer Quaestyo from 21 August:

In partnership with eight institutions including the Champs-Elysées Committee, the Réunion des Musées nationaux-Grand Palais is organizing an outdoor escape game with a historical theme, ‘Alfred Picard’s incredible Paris’, in the vicinity of the Grand Palais. Using a digital medium, this set of riddles to be solved in a real-life environment transports you into Paris at the time of the 1900 World’s Fair to help the engineer Alfred Picard to stand up to his detractors and present his innovative project for Paris. You can begin the game at one of three starting points: the Champs-Elysées Clemenceau metro station near the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, the Théâtre Marigny or the Hôtel national des Invalides.

Visit of the Paris Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)

Registration required, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Paris City Hall offers two exhibitions on the history of Paris as well as tours of the reception rooms, the boardroom, the Mayor's office and the heritage library.

Visit of the Institut de France

Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm Self-guided tour.

The Institut de France, an institution as old as it is mysterious, invites you to step through its main door and discover the main courtyard, the Mazarine library, the various meeting rooms, the new auditorium, the Dome ... It is within these walls, some of which are 350 years old, that the five academies work: Académie Française, des Sciences, des Beaux-arts, des Sciences Morales et Politiques and des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres. Some academicians will be present to sign their work.

Visit of the Grand Rex

Guided tour Saturday from 9am to 6pm, Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Free admission upon reservation, 30 people, 30mn slot, departure every 15mn

The Grand Rex, an emblematic place for cinema and entertainment, is a listed historical monument and has the largest movie theatre in Europe! The history of its construction in the 1930s, anecdotes about the shows and a visit to its Big Auditorium are all worth discovering. A more in-depth tour takes you behind the scenes of a film studio, from the projection booth to the special effects room.

Visit of Galeries Lafayette

Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am and Sunday from 9.30am to 11am. Tours are free of charge but places must be reserved on the website. Maximum 12 people per group.

It will soon be 125 years since Galeries Lafayette Haussmann opened its doors, in the era of department stores and Art Nouveau. Discover the superb dome, dating back to 1912, the ironwork, various archives and an itinerary exclusive, through the store and up to the rooftop terrace with its view over Paris, providing a valuable insight into the development of this store – an emblem of Parisian fashion and commerce since 1894.

Visit of the Université de la Sorbonne

Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

The magnificent architecture and fascinating history of the iconic Sorbonne University can be discovered through talks and a tour of the salons, statues, amphitheatres, the Chapel, the Library, and the Salle des Autorités. The route includes explanatory panels and features a selection of works by students at the Paris region’s art schools and colleges. This year, a guide will lead you along a special visitor trail illustrating the connections between the Olympic Games and the Sorbonne (available from 11am to 3pm. Registration on site).

Saint-Sulpice church

Self-guided visit : Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 12.30pm to 7pm.

Classified as a historical monument for more than 100 years, the Church of Saint-Sulpice was declared a listed monument more than 100 years ago and has treasures for every taste. An exhibition presents the history of this parish during the Fronde (1648-53), the French Revolution (1789-99), and the Paris Commune (1870-71); the astronomical gnomon is visible between 1.15pm and 2.15 pm when daylight falls on the meridian of Saint-Sulpice; several works are on show such as paintings by Delacroix and liturgical ornaments.

A visit to the Simone and Cino del Duca foundation - Hôtel Pereire

Free admission: Saturday, 9am to 6pm
Built between 1879 and 1881 in the environs of Parc Monceau, the Hôtel Pereire was designed by the architect William Bouwens van der Boyen, who also designed the Hôtel Cernuschi. The mansion, which has been home to the Simone and Cino Del Duca foundation since 1975, has several salons decorated in classical style, a library and a lobby with a large, elegant skylight. The Hôtel Pereire is opening its doors to visitors for the first time. The visit includes a presentation of the hotel’s history, the story of the Del Ducas and the foundation’s activities.

First-time visit to fashion and decoration houses at 19M

Free admission on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023, from 11 am to 7 pm.
19M, a space that brings together a host of French craftspeople working in fashion and decoration, is taking part in the European Heritage Days for the first time. As part of the tour, visitors will learn about the architecture of the building and visit the Maison Lesage embroidery school, the workshop of the shoemaker Massaro, the garden and a new exhibition by Carla Fernandez at the 19M gallery.

Guided tour of the Boucheron jewellery store - Hôtel de Nocé

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023 from 11am to 7pm, by reservation only.

The Maison Boucheron was founded in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron; his first store was in the Palais Royal. Opened in 1893, the establishment at 26 place Vendôme was his second and the first jeweller’s to open in Place Vendôme, with its elegant architecture dating from the reign of Louis XIV. The maison Boucheron invites visitors on a guided tour of the Hôtel de Nocé, an architectural gem.

Tour of the Palais-Royal - Centre des monuments nationaux

  • Guided tour An encounter with the Dukes of Orléans at the Palais-Royal: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023, from 11.30am to 13pm
  • Guided tour A stroll through the Palais Royal during the Revolution: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023, from 3.30pm to 17pm
  • Drawing workshop (for children aged 5 to 12): Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023 from 11.30am to 12.30pm and from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.**
  • Firing the meridian cannon: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023, from 12pm to 12.15pm

Built for Cardinal Richelieu by Jacques Lemercier, architect of the Sorbonne - the Domaine du Palais-Royal is favoured by Parisians and tourists alike as a place for a stroll. Themed tours with commentary and firing of the meridian cannon are on the programme.

Palais du Luxembourg - Tour of the Senate

Self-guided visit Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Each year during the European Heritage Days, the French Senate open its doors to the public, offering a unique opportunity to visit the Palais du Luxembourg. Discover the Senate chamber, the library, painted by Delacroix, the Salle des Conférences, the Petit Luxembourg (where the President of the Senate works), the Queen’s Chapel, built by Marie de Médicis en 1625, and the eighteenth-century Boffran salons. Senate officials are on hand to offer further information and answer visitors’ questions. The greenhouses of the Jardin du Luxembourg will be open to the public on an exceptional basis.

Historic illustrations by Jean Delpech at the Musée de l’Armée

musée de l'Armée dôme des Invalides

16 and 17 September 2023, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jean Delpech, who worked as an artist, engraver and illustrator during World War II, vividly depicted the years 1939-40. He initially served in the Chasseurs Alpins, the French Army’s elite mountain infantry unit, and then in Paris during the Occupation. Visitors will have an opportunity to see 50 or so of his works at the Musée de l’Armée during the European Heritage Days.

Guided tours at the Musée des Arts Forains

*16 and 17 September 2023 - Reservations on ***

The Musée des Arts forains, located in the Bercy Village district, is organising exciting 1.5-hour guided tours at reduced rates (€12 for all, instead of €18) during the Heritage Days weekend. During these tours, you will discover the history and collections of this atypical museum in the 12th arrondissement. Other thematic visits are organised. See the museum's agenda.

Heritage Days at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis

Saturday 16 from 10am to 5.45pm and Sunday 17 September 2023 from 12pm to 5.45pm

A masterpiece of Gothic art, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis impresses by its size, its architecture and its history. The burial place of the kings and queens of France, it now houses more than 70 sculpted funerary tombs. The programme for the European Heritage Days is full of free events: 30-minute guided tours (registration on site), concerts, forge and stone-cutting demonstrations, etc. The programme of the European Heritage Days also features an organ recital by Diego Innocenzi.

Le Monde festival

From 15 to 17 September 2023 - Reservations at**

The newspaper Le Monde organises its annual festival, which includes the Heritage Days. Since 2020, the headquarters of Le Monde has been located in the 13th arrondissement, in a building that impresses with its elegance and modernity, designed by Snohetta and SRA-Architectes. The Le Monde festival and the Heritage Days are an opportunity to discover this architectural feat thanks to guided tours, to enjoy activities on the forecourt, to participate in conversations and debates...

Presentation of the 2D2 5525 locomotive at Paris-Austerlitz station

Guided tour of the historic electric locomotive 2D2 5525, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 6pm.

Members of the COPEF association (Cercle Ouest Parisien d'Études Ferroviaires) take visitors on an exciting tour of the historic 2D2 5525 locomotives, which was put into service in 1934 and classified as a historical monument in 1990!

Sail around the Ile Saint-Germain and Ile Seguin with Les Canards de Paris

bus amphibie Les Canards de Paris

Sunday 17 September 2023, 2pm and 4pm, free, registration at
In co-operation with the Hauts de Seine département, the amphibious bus company Les Canards de Paris takes visitors on a one-off tour on the Seine aboard a vehicle that can drive on land and sail on water. Set off on a journey through the Hauts de Seine with a circuit specially designed for the European Heritage Days, taking in a beautiful park, the Parc départemental de l’Ile Saint-Germain; the Manufacture de Sèvres porcelain factory, the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud and the Albert Kahn museum. The bus is then set afloat with a “splash” and offers views of La Seine Musicale, the Ile Saint-Germain and the Ile Seguin.

Open Days at La Seine Musicale

La Seine Musicale vue Seine

On 17 September 2023, from 11am to 6pm, free admission.
The Seine Musicale, a huge building devoted to music and cultural exchange at the tip of the Ile Seguin, is holding an Open Days event with a packed programme. All day long, the general public can watch rehearsals for big shows, take a guided tour of the building and attend workshops for young people, concerts, a contemporary art exhibition, a screening of photographs and a piano recital. All in all, an uptempo experience of the European Heritage Days!

The complete programme of the European Heritage Days

More ideas