People visiting the Élysée Palace
18 September 2018

European Heritage Days: 12 million visitors over the weekend

12 million people celebrated the 35th European Heritage Days, the Ministry of Culture announced on Sunday 16 September 2018.

12 million of you took part in last weekend's European Heritage Days across the length and breadth of France.

Nearly 16,000 sites in Paris and the other regions opened to visitors over the weekend. These figures follow the trends of the past five years.

Children visiting a castle

"The art of sharing" was the theme for this 35th year

With "The art of sharing" as its theme, the weekend saw 24,000 events organised across the 16,000 sites which opened to the public. This was very much the ethos of the first national roll-out of the hitherto Paris-based Children of Heritage event, with visits and activities specially dedicated to schoolchildren from infant school right up to sixth-form college.

On Saturday 15 September, the Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen welcomed the first visitors to the Palais-Royal, to which 10,000 visitors flocked in all throughout the weekend. She opened up her office, before accompanying the President of the Republic to Villa Viardot in Bougival, which is one of the 18 emblematic sites on the "heritage in peril" list declared by the Mission Bern.

Mirroring 2017, the Élysée Palace was one of the top draws: 20,000 visitors wandered through the corridors of the President's official residence. And on this occasion, they did so together with … Emmanuel Macron himself – for the President of the Republic could be heard speaking on the audioguides handed out to the public.

Youngsters visiting the Elysée Palace with President Macron

The Senate, Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux and Citadel of Besançon were also among the most popular sites, with 26,000, 10,000 and 9,000 visitors respectively.

And the "Super Loto du Patrimoine" special heritage lottery draw had a winner!

The lucky winner from the Haute-Garonne département takes home a €13 million jackpot. Ahead of the event, 2.5 million people played this special heritage lottery.

With proceeds of €14 million, the profits will go towards restoring monuments that are considered to be "in peril".

A castle in France

In 2019, the 36th European Heritage Days are scheduled to take place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.

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