September 22, 2011

How do you spell "European Heritage Days" in French?

The French are passionate about culture and literature. This weekend we discovered the "Journées Européenes du patrimoine"

Every year in September, the 50 signatory States to the European Cultural Convention take part in the European Heritage Days – a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, putting new cultural assets on view and opening up historical buildings normally closed to the public. The cultural events highlight local skills and traditions, architecture and works of art, but the broader aim is to bring citizens together in harmony even though there are differences in cultures and languages.

In short it peaks your curiosity to explore places that usually are unaccessible.  My plan was to visit the British Embassadors' residence and take a Sunday stroll through an English garden in Paris. Unfortuantely, the doors to the Embassy were only opened on Saturday.

Quick change of plan and we were heading to the Iena Palace built between 1937 and 1946 by the architect Auguste Perret. The Iena Palace houses the Economic and Social Council of France, this is a consultative assembly. It does not play a role in the adoption of statutes and regulations, but advises the National Assembly and the Senate on questions of social and economic policies.

I wonder if these chairs come in pink???

The "Journées Européennes de partimoine" gave us the opportunity to view the fantastic interiors. This monumental staircase was built without supports for the intermediate levels.

Impressive chandelier designed by Serge Macel.

The auditorium originally designed in the form of an amphitheater for conferences contains 233 councillor seats and 100 public seats in the tribune.

The kids received an improvised history lesson when we came across the portraits of all French presidents - present and past! Expat boy actually recognized Nicholas Sarkosy's picture!!! François Mitterand will forever be my favourite though.

All in all, it was an efficient and fun way to raise my children's awareness of France's politics and put an image to things they have heard of these past days.


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