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European Heritage Days: 18 & 19 September in France

Across France, there will be free or reduced entry to museums, galleries, monuments, castles, and more this weekend!

Villa Domergue in Cannes will be free this weekend.

The 38th "European Heritage Days" are coming up this weekend in France, which are intended to revive the public's interest in national cultural assets and their preservation. Almost every town, including those on the Côte d'Azur and in Provence, will be opening otherwise closed doors or inviting visitors to visit museums free of charge on 18 and 19 September.

The theme this year: "Cultural heritage for all".

In the context of diversity and inclusivity, this year's Heritage Days place particular emphasis on appealing to all. In this framework, the campaign "Lever les yeux" ("Open your eyes") has already been launched in 2019, which will take place on the original Monument Day, 17 September. Offers will be especially encouraged for the younger generation.

On 18 and 19 September, visitors can then visit cultural sites such as national monuments, museums, castles and palaces, historic gardens, religious buildings and much more all over France for free or at a discount.

Here in the south of France, with its incredible cultural diversity, visitors can get to know numerous well-known and lesser-known places.

The idea for the European Heritage Days was originally in France - similar to that of the Fête de la Musique, for example. In 1985, France celebrated the then one-day " Monuments Day" for the first time. In 1999, the festival was adopted throughout Europe during the month of September.

Offers in the PACA region - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Here is a small selection of local events. You will find many more on the France Minister of Culture website. Of course, they are all under strict hygiene rules due to the Corona pandemic. The number of groups on guided tours/round trips etc. is often limited.

If there is a tour you are really interested in, make sure to arrive early to guarantee your spot! In most cases, it is also possible to register for one of the guided tours on the website of the relevant cultural site.


  • Sunday free entry to the "Donato Ferrero" exhibition, 2-6 p.m.

  • Sunday virtual exhibition of the artist Patrick Moya from 14.30 hrs

  • Free entry to the Musée des Baux Arts. They have several programmes worth seeing:

  • Reopening of the National Museum of Sport: after being closed since November 2020, the museum reopens to celebrate the European Heritage Days. The common thread of the museum remains. Each museum space presents different challenges: the challenge against itself, from person to person, across national borders.


Port of Vauban, Saturday 10am-5pm

  • Exhibition by Pascal Papalia: With his art made of materials that were actually destined for the rubbish, Papalia creates a special exhibition that spans the entire port.

  • Other offers for groups of max. 10 people:

  • Insight into the activities of the port: docking, entry and exit, ...

  • Visits to historic boats such as the Aventure Pluriel or the speedboat "Notre Dâme de la Garoupe II".

  • Registration on the spot. Other workshops will be held throughout the city and other buildings will open.


Opening of the organ festival on Sunday at 7 pm in the Eglise Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur. The group "Ars'Ys Bretagne" will play pieces on the theme of wind - "Venti".

Ubaye Valley

  • Three-hour guided tour of the reserves of the now disappeared village of "Ubaye" below the imposing southern slope of the Grand Morgon; discovery of the history of the Ubaye valley and the protected animal and plant species that live there.


  • free entry to the Citadelle d'Entrevaux

  • plus: demonstration of old ovens and traditional bread baking in the village.


  • Guided tour of the "Saint-Charles" station on 19 September (9.30-10.15 and 11-11.45).

Rail offers

  • To make it easier to reach the many activities on offer, the railways are also offering discounts on their TER regional trains as part of the European Heritage Days: On 18 and 19 September, the "pass journée européenne de patrimoine" allows all-day use of all means of transport in the PACA region for 5 euros (except TGV). (Info here)

  • How about a ride on the Train des Merveilles from Nice through the mountainous hinterland to Tende?


Saturday, 18 September

Monaco also hosts an interesting event on the French Heritage Days - even though the Journées du Patrimoine actually take place there a week later, as usual.

In cooperation with the Office Nationale de Forêts (ONF), the Principality is celebrating the forest on Saturday, 18 September. On offer are four one-and-a-half-hour hikes, each guided by local foresters, to Mont Gros above Nice. The mountain offers a breathtaking view over the bay of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Free registration here.

Monaco's national heritage day will be celebrated on Sunday, 26 September, this time under the motto "Women and Heritage". Among other things on the programme: reduced admission to the Oceanographic Museum with guided tours of two emblematic women and their works (Jeanne Henriette Caroline Le Roux and Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen).


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