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Explore France’s unusual sites

European Heritage Weekend sees 16,000 monuments and attractions open – some for the first time

GO exploring this weekend and discover buildings, places and sites that are rarely open to the public.

This weekend is the Journées Europeéene du Patrimoine with the theme of 21st century heritage – a history of the future.

It will see around 16,000 monuments and attractions will open their doors to the public all over France.

Here, Connexion looks at some of the more unusual sites you can visit. Take some photos when you head out as we would love to see them – email news[at]

France Télévisions – Paris

The studios in Paris are opening for the 11th year in a row, and this weekend 15,000 viewers will discover what happens behind the scenes of their favourite TV shows – and meet some of the presenters.

The programme will include explanations of how shows are produced and the roles of the different jobs in the production process.

The studios are located at 18 rue du Professeur Florian-Delbarre, and will be open tomorrow and Sunday from 9:00 – 19:00. Due to high volumes of visitors they have to close the queue at 12:00.

Ancient amphitheatre – Rhône-Alpes

Archaeologists will be on hand in Lyon when you visit the remains of the Amphithéatre des Trois Gaules, which dates to 19AD.

It has been classed as a historical monument since 1961 and specialists will be explaining the methods used in archaeological digs and potential methods of the future. While much of their work is underground, one of their new tools can fly high over the site as they will be demonstrating how flying drones give a different view.

There is also an exhibition on the Federal Sanctuary and the amphitheatre.

The site on Rue Lucien Sportisse is open tomorrow free of charge from 10:00 – 18:00 and Sunday from 11:00 – 18:00.

Gold panning demonstration – Aquitaine

Photo: Arnaud Loth
Take a chance to hunt for gold in the village of Jumilhac-le-Grand, Dordogne. ‘’Orpaillage’’ is the process of searching for gold in the riverbed.

For its first appearance in the Journées du Patrimoine programme, the event will consist of a demonstration of the techniques and expertise, with a chance to also try it for yourself.

While you are in the village, why not visit La Galerie de l’Or et sa boutique, and their permanent exhibition ‘’l’Or : origines, mythes et industries’’ to find out more about the precious metal. The gallery is open every day from 10:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 18:00.

The Journées du Patrimoine event is taking place tomorrow between 9:00 – 12:30 and Sunday between 14:00 and 17:00 at the address Orpaillage, Bord de L’isle, Jumilhac-le-Grand.

See our previous article on some other sites to visit - Heritage Days: go exploring France or, for a full list of all the events across France this weekend, visit

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