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Free visits to historic sites in France for European Heritage days

PUBLISHED: 13:53 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:54 31 August 2018

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte copyright jaife iStock Editorial Getty Images Plus

Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte copyright jaife iStock Editorial Getty Images Plus

jaife iStock Editorial Getty Images Plus

During the Journées du Patrimoine on 15-16 September, hundreds of historic buildings in France, including châteaux and civic sites, offer free entry to visitors. Here is our pick of places to visit

Vaux-le-Vicomte, Seine-et-Marne

Described as a more tranquil alternative to the palace of Versailles, this

17th-century château lies 55 kilometres south-east of Paris. The theme of 2018’s heritage days is “the Art of Sharing” and visitors are invited to share in all aspects of the château’s history. Children are well catered to, with specific workshops to make them feel more involved vaux-le-vicomte.com

Hotel Matignon  image chatsam CC BY SA 3.0Hotel Matignon image chatsam CC BY SA 3.0

Hôtel de Matignon, Paris

This 18th-century mansion on Rue de Varenne has been the official residence of the French prime minister since 1935. It is normally off limits to the public, but will be open on 15- 16 September for visitors to admire the famously lavish interiors. Visitors are also encouraged to find out more about the skills of artisanal craftsmen who will be giving demonstrations in the grounds gouvernement.fr

Chateau de L'Engarran and its formal gardens copyright Chateau de L'EngarranChateau de L'Engarran and its formal gardens copyright Chateau de L'Engarran

Château de l’Engarran, Hérault

This mansion is one of several folies that were built in and around Montpellier as a way of showing off the 18th-century bourgeoisie’s new wealth and status. The house itself is usually closed to the public, but will open on 15-16 September for theatrical guided visits of the interior and gardens, followed by a tasting of wines from the domaine montpellier-france.com

Centre National du Costume de Scène, Allier

Situated in Moulins, the first museum dedicated to theatre costumes and sets includes a collection of 10,000 outfits from the stage, ballet and opera. Visitors to the former cavalry barracks will get a free tour on the heritage days cncs.fr

For more information, visit journeesdupatrimoine.culture.gouv.fr

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