Les journées du patrimoine

A couple of weekends ago, Paris (and other parts of France?) celebrated les journées du patrimoine, otherwise known as the Heritage Days. I’d like to think of it as the French equivalent of a fall festival, except instead of candy apples and hot cider you get to go in government buildings that are normally closed to the public. Cool, right?

It usually takes place around September 18th and lasts the whole weekend (only limited hours, of course). Most museums are also free, if you want to brave the masses. James and I opted for a tour of the Hotel de Ville and only had to wait about 10 minutes to get in. And boy was it worth it!

Here are a few highlights of Paris’s fancy City Hall:

One of my favorite parts (I mean, besides the fancy party room) was that everyone involved in keeping the Hotel de Ville in tip-top shape had a table describing what they do. Everyone. There were the cleaners (complete with fancy vacuums and floor polishers), the heating guys, chandelier repairmen, the people who re-upholster the chairs, the people in charge of the doornobs (no touching the display!), and the horologist. But the most popular person by far was the light bulb man. He had a display of every kind/shape of light bulb they use in the Hotel de Ville AND you could turn them on and off. So cool.

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