France’s 2018 heritage days attract over 12m people

In Paris, the Elysée Palace welcomed 20,000 visitors alone

Over 12 million people visited almost 16,000 monuments across France this weekend as part of this year’s Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days).

In the 35th year of the tradition, millions of people turned out on Saturday 15 and Sunday September 16 to visit the 24,000 events that had been created to welcome them, according to figures from the Minister of Culture.

Around 1,900 events and open days were created for the first time this year, and many monuments also opened their doors for the very first time.

The events offered many monuments and locations that are meaningful in French history and culture - old and new - to open their doors.

This year, this included the Hôtel des États-Majors in Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme), from where the General de Lattre de Tassigny commanded his troops.

The Pavillon des Girondins in Prissé (Saône-et-Loire), the former home of French writer and politician Alphonse de Lamartine, was also open; as was the Citadelle de Bitche (Moselle), built by esteemed 18th century military engineers Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and Louis de Cormontaigne.

The headquarters of the communist party the PCF in Paris - designed and built by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (below) - were also open, as was the building site for Line 11 of the Métro, in Rosny-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis).

(Photo: Fred Romero / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

In Paris, the Elysée Palace welcomed 20,000 visitors across two days alone, and sold 347,000-worth of its newly-launched range of Elysée-branded merchandise and products.

Created to coincide with this weekend, the range includes watches - the most popular product - followed by four-colour Bic biro pens; mugs, and pencils.

Altogether over 7,320 products were sold in the palace grounds and online (the figure announced was for total sales between launching on Friday and the end of the heritage days). Part of the profits will go towards restoration work at the palace.

The 2019 Journées Européennes du Patrimoine weekend is scheduled to take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday September 22.

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