The 34th edition of the European Heritage Days will take place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2017 with the theme «Youth and Heritage». In the Hauts-de-France region, more than 1,300 events spread over nearly 900 sites allow the public to discover the regional heritage. During a weekend, these remarkable public or private sites and monuments open their doors and offer free or guided tours, exhibitions and conferences, historical re-enactments, demonstrations of know-how, or even concerts, shows and activities for young audiences.

Raising awareness of heritage among younger generations

The theme “Youth and Heritage” provides an opportunity to highlight initiatives dedicated to young people. It also makes it possible to enhance heritage professions through demonstrations and experiments in order to transmit know-how to future generations.

The young public can thus learn about archaeological works by participating in a workshop of reconstructed excavations at the Heritage Conservation Centre in Laon in the Aisne. In Soissons, he was introduced to stained glass work at the Arquebuse Pavilion. In the North, the site of the Fort des Dunes in Leffrinckoucke pays tribute by various animations to young volunteers from the 4 corners of the world to participate in restoration sites for nearly a decade. The Abbey Tower Museum in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, for its part, takes part in activities that combine youth and heritage. In the Oise region, the Royal Abbey of Moncel in Pontpoint offers the exhibition «Youth and Heritage». The association Le Club du Vieux Manoir has been working there for nearly 65 years with young volunteers involved in the restoration of historic monuments. At Malixoff, in Saint-Omer, in the Pas-de-Calais region, various trades are presented at the heritage trade show. The prefecture of Pas-de-Calais in Arras focuses on stonemasons and offers a demonstration with the students of the Lycée Jacques le Caron. In addition, the commercial court of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme organizes a conference and an exhibition on the theme of youth and heritage and the Maison de l'architecture et du patrimoine d'Amiens exhibits the work of students of the Ecoles nationales d'architecture de Paris and Lille.

Discovering iconic places

As every year, many emblematic places, castles, places of worship, museums, places of power, mansions, etc... open their doors. Visitors can discover the Abbey of Saint-Nicolas-des-Prés in Ribemont and the Guise family in the Aisne through guided tours. In the North, the ancient leforum deBavay, the largest Roman forum in France, offers the public to go back in time to the Gallo-Roman era. In Croix, the public can visit Villa Cavrois, a true contemporary castle combining classic and modernist design. The visitor is in the Oise to walk in the footsteps of Louis XV and Napoleon III at the Imperial Palace of Compiègne, or to go in search of the secrets of the cathedral of Beauvais. The Abbey of Valloires in Argoules in the Sommepropose, for its part, free and guided tours of the cloister, the salons, the chapter room and the gardens while the collegiate church of Saint-Vulfran d'Abbeville unveils a remarkable façade in its sculptures, its flowering and ornamentation. The public is also invited to organ concerts given at Notre-Dame de Saint-Omer Cathedral in Pas-de-Calais. It houses the famous painting of Rubens representing the descent of the cross. It can also walk through the largest crypt in France at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Boulogne-sur-mer.

Diving into the heart of heritage

After discovering the must-see places, the public can explore other places such as the castle of Condé or the mill of Lucy in Ribemont in the Aisne that propose respectively to admire decorations of the century of Lights during free visits and to discover the multiple functions of the mill from its construction in 1830. In the North, the neo-Byzantine style of the Saint-Chrysole church in Comines surprises and recalls the first Christian churches while the Public Condition in Roubaix plunges the visitor into the heart of a building of the textile industry that has become a cultural manufacture. In Senlis, in the Oise region, the former Royal Abbey of Saint Vincent, founded in 1065, is now home to a private high school open for the European Heritage Days. Moreover, the public can discover the castle of Hénonville and its dovecote of the thirteenth century located in the courtyard of the old castle farm. In the Somme, visitors are invited to visit the Jules Verne circus in Amiens, one of the last circuses in France or the Carmel of Abbeville, which offers an exhibition and guided tours. There is also the Church of Our Lady of Rocquigny, in the Pas-de-Calais, recently restored after 10 years of work, which offers the view of a remarkable bell tower unique in the region or the library of Saint-Omer and its many manuscripts, including a 42-line copy of the Bible by Gutenberg.

Presentation of the European Heritage Days

The European Heritage Days are organised by the Ministry of Culture. Placed under the patronage of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, they receive assistance from public and private owners of historic monuments. They benefit from the involvement of the National Monuments Centre, the network of Cities and Countries of Art and History, the Heritage Foundation and heritage conservation associations present since the very first edition: the Old French Houses and the Historic House.

The press kit for the Journées européennes du patrimoine en Hauts-de-France is available on the DRAC Hauts-de-France website: