European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
European Heritage Days Ranked as the Top Cultural Event in the Paris Region

The cultural life of the Paris Region (fr. Île-de-France) is internationally known for its vibrancy and richness. With 4000 historical monuments, 140 museums, 355 theatres, 4 UNESCO sites, and many other notable landmarks, the region abounds in cultural attractions and events. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with 45.9 million tourists who visited it in 2015, as revealed in the 2016 edition of “Paris Region Key Figures.”

Providing an insight into the region’s economy, social life and culture, this yearly report outlines key figures that illustrate its potential to attract tourists, researchers and businesspeople. Within its Tourism and Quality of Life section, the report lists the most popular cultural events taking place in the city of Paris and its surrounding departments. Among these, the European Heritage Days festival occupies the first position as the largest one.

With over 12 million visitors recorded in 2014 and a 32 years long tradition, the event remains widely celebrated by local people, tourists and numerous cultural institutions. During European Heritage Days, most of the historic, cultural and architectural gems of the region are open for free, which is a unique opportunity to not only explore publicly available sites but also get access to the region’s hidden histories. In addition to popular events such as themed exhibitions in the world’s most renowned museums, the Paris region regularly organises guided tours through some of the offbeat heritage sites not normally available for exploration outside the European Heritage Days festival.

Some of these include a tour through The President’s Palace, The Palais de l’Elysée, which is a wonderful 18th century building open for public only during European Heritage Days. Visitors can also explore literary treasures of the oldest public library in Paris set in Hôtel Lamoignon and opened in 1763, or explore the inside of the Banque de France, a captivating historic building located near the Louvre Museum. Other events include themed workshops and exhibitions that highlight some specific aspects of the heritage of the region and the entire France.  

Last year, the country celebrated the heritage created over the last 15 years to point to all the different ways we contribute to heritage creation in our daily lives. This year, the official theme of the events is heritage and citizenship, which will highlight how heritage defines us as citizens and how the latter contributes to creating shared heritage and culture. This theme will help in representing the cultural life of the Paris Region in a new light and offer some new resources for exploration. This way, European Heritage Days will continue to encourage visitors to keep rediscovering the treasures of the region. 

The Paris Region Key Figures Report is produced by Paris Region Entreprises, the Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Paris Region Planning and Development Agency (IAU Île-de-France).

Photo credits:

Paris La Défense business district © Paris Tourist Office / Jocelyne Genri

nicolasnova via / CC BY-NC