AN ENTIRE WEEKEND CELBRATING A NATION’S HERITAGE

Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine 2020 poster. Photo, normandie-tourisme.fr

Every year in September, most European countries devote an entire weekend to the celebration and exploration of their cultural heritage through the European Heritage Days program.  This year in France it was held on 19th – 20th of the month celebrating the theme “Heritage and Education:  Learning for Life”.

Public and private owners of historic properties, members of associations for the protection and enhancement of heritage, curators, restorers, guardians and chief architects of historic monuments and objects, all mobilised to welcome visitors to hundreds of sites, free of charge.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to celebrate the beauty and history of their own heritage.

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CELEBRATING CULTURE AT AN ALL NIGHT FESTIVAL

Poster for the 2020 European Nuit des Musees. Photo, moreeuw

The idea of celebrating culture with an annual all-night event that brings together all ages and tastes, started back in 1982 and has since become a world-wide phenomenon.  In France, the Fête de la Musique is held on 21 June every year, and La Nuit des Musées falls around the middle of May.  Events are free, hugely popular, with a festive atmosphere and above all, great fun.

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TRAVELS WITH YOUR NAVIGO – THE CHÂTEAU DE MALMAISON

Le Chateau de Malmaison. Photo, wikipedia

Famous as the last residence of the Empress Joséphine, it’s also synonymous with her cultivation of rare and exotic plant species hitherto unknown in France, but especially the importation and propagation of roses.  This small château, with its fascinating memorabilia of its most famous residents and its beautiful garden, is barely 15kms west of central Paris, making it a perfect day trip from Paris using your Navigo transport pass.

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TRAVELS WITH YOUR NAVIGO – THE CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU

Aerial view of the Chateau de Fontainebleau. Photo, i.pinimp

On a list of ‘must sees’ for most visitors to Paris, along with the obvious sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre etc., is likely to be the Château de Versailles.  Far less familiar though is the Château de Fontainebleau, arguably the centre of the history of French monarchy.  No site in France can compare as a royal residence.  It predates the Louvre itself by 50 years, and Versailles by 5 centuries.

Fontainebleau is the only château that was lived in by every French monarch for almost 8 centuries.

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MORE GREAT DESTINATIONS IN PROVENCE!

‘A Wheat Field with Cypresses’ by Van Gogh. Photo, vincentvangogh.org

The very name ‘Provence’ conjures up images of brilliant blue skies, ancient golden stone villages with terracotta tiled roofs, and dazzling colours thrown into sharp relief as depicted in a Van Gogh painting.  It’s a land of languid, hot sunny days, leisurely outdoor dining on wonderful food that tastes of sunshine, with the air fragrant from fields of lavender.  It’s also a region whose architectural riches of its ancient past are evident at every turn.

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