Heritage Days: celebrating history and culture

Publish the 22 September 2023 in Latest News

A cultural event not to be missed this autumn, the heritage days offer a unique opportunity to discover and appreciate the rich cultural and historical heritage that shapes our communities. On September 16 and 17, 2023, all over France, various historic monuments and cultural sites opened their doors to visitors for two exceptional days. An event dear to the hearts of our experts, who open the doors of exceptional properties all year round.

The origins of Heritage Days:

Also known as the “European Heritage Days”, they were first held in France in 1984 on the initiative of the Minister of Culture, Jack Lang.

The initial aim was to open the doors of historic monuments generally inaccessible to the public, such as castles, churches, museums and archaeological sites, to raise awareness of the importance of preserving and promoting cultural heritage. Following the dazzling success of this first edition, many European countries decided to follow France’s example. Since then, the event has been celebrated all over the world, with local adaptations to highlight the specific heritage of each country and region.

Heritage Days: an invitation to celebrate France’s rich heritage :


The Heritage Days offer visitors the chance to discover, free of charge or at a reduced rate, places that are often closed to the public the rest of the year: botanical gardens, historic monuments, government, civil or religious buildings, parks, national archives…

During these days, citizens can explore hidden treasures, celebrate the diversity of their cultural heritage and immerse themselves in the architectural and cultural history of their region through a program rich in entertainment and discovery. In addition, there are numerous special activities and interactive experiences to enrich your knowledge: guided tours, temporary exhibitions, original events, concerts, craft workshops, unusual walks…

These days also celebrate the cultural diversity of our societies, highlighting customs, traditions and artistic expressions. In this way, the Heritage Days promote intercultural dialogue and reinforce the sense of belonging to a community.

In addition to celebrating historical and cultural heritage, these days play an essential role in raising awareness of the importance of preserving this heritage for future generations, and reminding everyone of the importance of preserving their history, traditions and heritage for generations to come.

Themes for Heritage Days 2023

Bringing together the curious and history buffs alike, the themes of this year’s 40ème Heritage Days were “Living Heritage” and “Sports Heritage“.

Living heritage generally evokes the concept of intangible cultural heritage.  It brings together expressions, practices, knowledge and know-how handed down from one generation to the next. These may include dances, songs, festivals, rituals, traditional craft skills or knowledge associated with the universe and nature.

At this 40ème edition, the heritage of sport is part of a double topicality, namely the Cultural Olympiad accompanying the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the twentieth anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A partnership to promote Toulouse’s heritage: the Palais Niel

In 2021, the Fondation du Patrimoine has been commissioned to restore and enhance the Palais Niel through a sponsorship campaign. The Mercure Forbes Global Properties group, headquartered in the heart of the “ville rose”, has responded by becoming a patron of the Palais Niel on June 1er 2023, in support of the preservation of its historic and architectural heritage. This historic building, formerly the Maréchal Niel command hotel, is the most prestigious residence built in Toulouse during thepalais-niel-toulouse 19th century. A landmark of Toulouse’s historical heritage, the Palais Niel opens its doors to the public only on the occasion of the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days). Considered to be the focal point of the French Army in the Occitanie region, it is now home to the headquarters of the commanding general of the 11ème Parachute Brigade of the French Army.

The aim of the event was to raise funds for the renovation of the Palais Niel, by hosting an exceptional dinner in the company of the famous chef Thierry Marx, the best army cooks in Occitanie and young people from Toulouse’s hotel schools. With the support of partners committed to a common cause and passionate about architectural heritage, the evening aimed to restore the Palais to the grandeur of the Napoleon III era.

Mercure Forbes Global Properties, a fervent supporter of heritage since 1936

Beyond real estate transactions, our group remains committed to safeguarding France’s heritage. To support this strong commitment, the group has also created the Mercure VMF Prize, which contributes each year to the restoration of a characterful residence. This prize enables everyone to benefit from our support in their renovation and enhancement projects.

Driven by a passion for prestigious historic heritage and architecture, Mercure Forbes Global Properties makes it a point of honor to follow its customers’ hearts and expectations. In order to support each buyer in conservation, enhancement and renovation work, the group has drawn up a “Heritage Preservation Guide”.

It has been developed in collaboration with one of its professional partners, La Demeure Historique, of which it has been a patron since January 1er 2023. The group also supports young innovations and is a partner of the start-up Dartagnans and the Nuit des châteaux.


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