Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Heritage Day
In French, it’s called Les Journées Européennes du patrimoine.
If you live in Europe, perhaps you know about Heritage Day. It’s on the third weekend in September. On this day you can visit historic buildings and other public properties that are often closed to the public. This event also lets you visit museums, or in French musées, at a reduced price or even for free. Did you know that this was originally a French initiative? We’re going to talk about it in this lesson.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Which French monuments are visited the most on Heritage Day?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Heritage covers the entire past legacy of a given civilization, whether it is physical or immaterial. The first Heritage Day was launched in 1984 by the French Ministry of Culture. The initiative came from Minister Jack Lang and the date was set as the third Sunday in September.
After the success of the Heritage Day organized in France, several European countries decided to adopt the idea starting in 1985 to let the public discover the historical and cultural heritage of their country.
Since 1995, a national theme, or thème général, has been chosen every year to highlight a particular aspect of French heritage and generate public interest. For example, in 2012, the theme was “Hidden Heritage,” or in French, Les Patrimoines Cachés. These themes promote unusual openings and special events. Indeed, establishments open to the public offer original and very diverse events such as guided tours, or visites guidées, musical concerts, or theatrical plays.
France is lucky to be a country that knows how to preserve its heritage. It has more than 400,000 protected monuments, public properties, and sites, a third of which are listed as historical. In fact, thirty-three cultural sites are listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO. There are also more than 8,000 museums in France. Heritage Day promotes public interest in protecting these monuments.
Originally this event was called “Journée portes ouvertes dans les monuments historiques” which can be translated as “the Open-Door Days to Historic Monuments.” In 1992, this weekend also came to be called “Journées nationales du Patrimoine” or National Heritage Days, and since 2000 “Journées Européennes du Patrimoine,” or European Heritage Days, because this initiative has been taken up all over Europe.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know which French monuments are visited the most on Heritage Day?
During Heritage Day, official palaces are the most visited places. Popular palaces include the palais de l'Élysée, or Élysée Palace, palais Bourbon, or Bourbon Palace, and even palais du Luxembourg, or Luxembourg Palace. Some of these places are off-limits to visits during the rest of the year so you can visit them only on Heritage Day.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
If you visit France on Heritage Day, which place do you want to visit the most?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!