When a friend of mine told me about the European Heritage Days, I couldn’t help but to want to kick myself in the shins for not knowing about this! Thankfully, I still had that one last day to check something out and since it was almost the end of the day, I grabbed my bag and ran to meet her at the Luxembourg Palace. Luckily, I ran up to the entrance just as they were closing the gates for the last arrivals.
European Heritage Days is an amazing program that allows the general public to enter sites and buildings that are usually not accessible. This is of course a chance for people to really see what happens behind those closed doors. Even though this event was started in France in 1984, it is now organized by the Council of Europe and involves 50 states of the European Cultural Convention. Now, Sweden, Belgium and Scotland are a few among many countries that participate.
This year the event took place September 17th and 18th. So, on a rainy day of the 18th, I ran through the Gardens of Luxembourg and into the House of French Senate. Even though I must shamefully admit that I have not visited the Capitol in Washington D.C., I somehow doubt that the architecture and the art inside is as impressive. The interiors of this building, the ones the French senators call their office on daily basis, simply take your breath away. It could be that unbelievable history that each wall carries (it was finished in 1631), or perhaps it’s the fact that it was build for the Great Queen Marie de Medicis after she commissioned it in 1615.
As I walked around, following my map and having my friend translate the booklet we received at the door, I couldn’t help but to imagine myself living in the 15th century. I would have been fond of the dresses, I thought to myself. Then again, those corsets seem to have been so tight…