Journée du Patrimoine

Free cultural exploration for you and your family

September 17 & 18, 2016

Get ready for a fabulous opportunity to explore the wonderful cultural heritage of Paris for FREE or at a reduced rate! If you’re looking for things to do in Paris, Heritage Day couldn’t be more perfect! Hundreds of venues around the city are flinging open their doors, for you to discover and uncover the rich history of Paris. Some venues are normally closed to the public, so this is a great chance for you and your family to really take advantage of what Paris has to offer. The full program for Île de France can be downloaded from the Journée du Patrimoine  website. There is so much happening you will have to put aside some time to study your options – but these venues caught our eye.

Here are a few suggestions that might interest you!

Musee des Armee

Heritage Day

Indulge in a history lesson inside the confines of this beautiful building! Invalide is an iconic site in the heart of Paris – check out the chapel, the arsenal of weaponry and discover the hidden vaults. There will be guided tours and demonstrations.

Musee de L’Homme

Enjoy tours, animations and the chance to meet with researchers who will give you the inside track on the history of our ancestral world. Access is free – check out their special Heritage Day page.

The Natural History Museum

Animals galore, a botanical garden, a fabulous library!  Get closer to nature and take advantage of a freebie experience – this venue will always entertain the kids. All the details can be found on the Musée d!Nationale Histoire website.

Le Palais des la Porte Durée

The Palace of the Golden Gates is at the National Immigration History Museum in the 12th, and this year  the roof is open for a detailed exploration for the every first time. Apparently, the views are amazing, plus there is a guided tour, but you have to book in advance. In addition , there is a 20% discount to access the museum itself and our sources tell us that the Aquarium is free but check first just in case.

The Presidents Office

Not sure if the kids will love this option but if they are older they just might! Have you ever wanted to check out the President’s office? Each year, 2,000 people come to the Elysée Palace on Heritage Day to see what was previously described as ‘the most beautiful house in Paris’, back in the 18th century! There’s a tour which allows you to have a proper look around and ask plenty of questions. A once a year chance! Not be missed maybe!

Elysée Palace Hours: 8h-19h Admission for Heritage Days is located by the back garden: Avenue Gabriel Rooster Grill

The Farm

Oui,  in the courtyard of the Ministry of Agriculture this year, there will be a few extra guests. Kids will get to see pics and sheep on a mini farm plus there will be a special introduction to beekeeping! You will also find a huge market there, selling quality produce and celebrating all things French.

Location: 78 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris Hours: 14h-19h Saturday and Sunday 10h30-18h30, Free Entrance and animations


The Fun Fair Museum

heritage day

This venue is great for kids. We visited it over the summer and it’s super close to Bercy Village which is absolutely worth a visit. Lots of great places to eat! The museum itself is packed with vintage rides and games that have entertained so many, dating to the 19th century. All the mechanical detail and the delicate designs of this era have been collected and preserved by this museum. Shows are on every 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday 10am until 6pm.

Musée des Foraines – 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012, Paris

Seine Saint Denis

MLP loves this part of town so it’s no surprise it’s on the list. This area is so rich and full of history. For the kids, they have a special program which includes: treasure hunts, model trains, workshops and a menagerie at various venues. The kids Program is here. You can also check out the Shoah Memorial in Drancy where sits the Cité de la Muette, which was turned into an internment camp by the Nazis. There is an urban walk along the Ourcq Canal and visit the Citroēn Conservatoire too. So you can see some of those old beautiful cars. The whole program can be found on the Seine Saint Denis site. Seine Saint Denis, 75019, Paris

La Sorbonne

photo-sorbonneIf you haven’t had the chance to explore the most famous university in France and their otherwise closed library and other prestigious quarters, then this could be your opportunity. Generally not a public thoroughfare, you can take the opportunity provided by Heritage Day to visit this world-renowned venue of intellect. Apparently, it is beautiful inside and stacked from head to toe with history. A tour specially designed for this weekend will fill in all the gaps in your knowledge.

La Sorbonne, 75005, Paris 10am- 6pm

Museums and Churches

MLP has not come across a museum or church that doesn’t appear to be a part of this celebration of heritage. Don’t miss out Mamas! Especially if the weather is awful. Run for cover perhaps, into one of these beautiful museums or churches in the city and enjoy them for FREE!  They are all listed in this very detailed interactive map. From the Pantheon to the Palais Royal, from Notre Dame to the Église Saint-Laurent. On the document, a couple of places have a little red euro sign! That means you have to pay so avoid those, as there are so many free options.


Musée de Plan Relief

A guided tour through two centuries of military history can be found here. A family tour adds a more interactive dimension, with a special games booklet that needs to be filled in. There is also a surprise of sorts, thrown in. A special workshop for kids aged 8 and over is on from 10:30am on both days. It’s for one hour and by reservation only. Call: 01 45 51 92 45 or contact

For more info check out their website.

Musée de Plan Relief, Hotel National des Invalides, 75007, Paris


The Senate

Jardin du Luxembourg

Maybe you want to scrutinise the President’s quarters? Open exceptionally for the event, this could be your chance! Pourquoi pas! 9:30am-6pm both days.

Palais du Luxembourg et Hôtel de la Présidence – 15 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006, Paris

Mamas! Papas! All those places you have thought about visiting, like the Aquarium by Bois du Vincennes or taking the brood to the top of the Arc du Triomphe the time is now!

Enjoy Heritage Day. Have a fabulous weekend and keep it locked to Mama Loves Paris.

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Remember, the full program for Île de France can be downloaded from the Journée du Patrimoine  website and book in advance where you can.

Love MLP