An Invitation to the President of the French Republic’s Office
Journees des Patrimoine – 2008
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Once a year, you get a chance to look at where the president of the French Republic gets to start his work day. Thanks to the Journees du Patrimoine, those of us who don’t have the privilege of being within the inner circles of power get to sneak a peak at rooms that we only see occasionally on television. Each year, during the second to last weekend of September, you can brave the lines visiting the Elysee Palace where current president Nicolas Sarkozy resides – or you can choose from a vast list of governmental buildings that would be normally off limits for tourists.
Given that the European Cultural Heritage Day is supposed to celebrate European culture, I doubt that the word ‘Weekend’ will appear anywhere else but Parislogue, but the fact remains that this year (2008), Cultural Heritage Day or Journees du Patrimoine will be celebrated for the entire weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22nd.
It’s almost worth planning a trip to Paris to coincide with cultural heritage dates because not only are normally closed-to-the-public buildings open for discovery, but many of the museums will offer free admission.
Obviously two popular venues are the Elysee Palace and the Senate Building (which presides over the Luxembourg Gardens). (And throw in the Cardinel Richelieu’s Palais Royal for good measure
L’ELYSÉE-PRÉSIDENCE DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE
Avenue Gabriel Hôtel d’Evreux,Grille du Coq, 75008 PARIS 08
(The main address is 55 Rue Faubourg-Saint Honore)
Metro: Champs Elysees
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 9am to 8 pm (open to modification depending on the president’s schedule)
15 Rue Vaugirard
Metro: Luxembourg/Notre Dame-des-Champs/St. Placide
Originally the palace built for Marie de Medici, reminiscent of the Pitti Palace in Florence, this is the workplace for France’s senators. You won’t want to miss the library ceiling fresco painted by Eugene Delacroix. Also of interest is one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s chairs where politicians are said to gravitate for ‘inspiration’.
Although these are two of the big pulls for Heritage Day, keep in mind the myriad of hotel particuliersor elegant aristocratic townhouses that often serve as governmental offices or foreign embassies.
The list of ‘hotels particuliers‘ open for the weekend include the Irish Embassy, the Serbian Embassy and the French prime minister’s office and the minister of defense:
– HÔTEL CHANAC DE POMPADOUR-AMBASSADE DE SUISSE
– HÔTEL D’AVARAY-RÉSIDENCE DE L’AMBASSADEUR DES PAYS-BAS
– HÔTEL D’ESTRÉES-RÉSIDENCE DE L’AMBASSADEUR DE RUSSIE
– HÔTEL DE BÉHAGUE-RÉSIDENCE DE L’AMBASSADEUR DE ROUMANIE
– HÔTEL DE BRIENNE-RÉSIDENCE DU MINISTRE DE LA DÉFENSE
– HÔTEL DE CLERMONT
– HÔTEL DE MATIGNON-RÉSIDENCE DU PREMIER MINISTRE
– HÔTEL DE MONACO-RÉSIDENCE DES AMBASSADEURS DE POLOGNE
– HÔTEL DE NOIRMOUTIER-RÉSIDENCE DU PRÉFET D’ILE-DE-FRANCE PRÉFET DE PARIS
Aside from beautiful examples of 18th to 20th century architecture, other aspects of Paris’s heritage might pique your interest – for example a tour of the city’s medieval aqueduct system.
Le Regard de la Lantern (Sources du Nord) is located in Paris’s 19th arrondissement at the angle of Rue Compans and Rue de Belleville. This is the most important vestige of the aqueduct system which supplied Parisian fountains in the 1500s. A guided visit to the interior of this stone carved dome reveals two staircases that lead down to the water run-off basin.
You’ll also be able to see some remains of the Grand Aqueduct de Belleville built between the 13th and 14th centuries.
Tel. 01 43 49 36 91
Téléphone : 01 43 49 36 9
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 9: am -11h30am et 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
For the complete listing of Journee du Patrimoine monuments and buildings open for free visits, be sure to visit the Journee du Patrimoine site.