Have you ever walked around Paris and imagined what decadent interiors lie behind the walls of the buildings? I had always wondered this about Paris’ town hall, Hôtel de Ville. Until the weekend came when I no longer had to imagine the grandeur behind the normally closed-to-public doors and got the opportunity to go inside, for free.
That same special weekend is upon us (September 20-21, 2014): Journées du Patrimoine.
For one weekend, many museums, historical buildings, and points of interest open their doors to the general public and often do so free of charge. This weekend is part of the European Heritage Days. The idea to make certain buildings and monuments accessible to the public originated in France, and now it is a weekend observed throughout Europe. This means if you are not in Paris but elsewhere in France or Europe, see if there are any happenings going on where you are. It's a wonderful weekend of getting to see places that are part of the fabric of European heritage and history, open to all.
If you are lucky enough to be in Paris, there are countless sights to choose from so consult the official website ahead of time and make a plan of attack!
Many sights and monuments that are already normally open to the public participate and offer free entry (such as Sainte-Chapelle or the towers of Notre-Dame). My personal preference would be to visit buildings only open to the public this one weekend out of the year. And I would start with the beautiful Hôtel de Ville: