A truly worthwhile freebie for lovers of history, renovation and architecture all over France, every September— and a similar thing to note in UK’s Oxford

Sophie Duncan
11 min readSep 4, 2022

All over France — Every September

Journées du Patrimoine

Don’t miss it!

When Renovating a dilapidated French castle, not everybody is kind. Mostly folk are benevolently amused, some bitterly believe that castles ought to belong to the state. In general a more dim view is taken of flashing money around in France than in the US and even the UK.

Perhaps the most sympathetic to our chateau fixing aspirations are other French people we met locally also having a go.

Some of them we met by chance but mostly we met them through an event very similar to Oxford Open Doors (in 2022 on the 10th and 11th September). In Oxford the doors of collections, libraries and hallowed places, usually closed to the public, are flung open, and other sites are made free to enter.

The same exists in France but on an epic scale across the whole country every September It’s called Journées du Patrimoine.

The website is a modest homespun looking thing but don’t be deceived. The listings and opportunities are phenomenal. A very special authentic opportunity to meet real life renovators, curators and experts.



Sophie Duncan

I write about France, Oxford, dogs, love and more. Sign up for my newsletter today, find Beyond Paris - a Short Guide to Rural France on Amazon