A fabulous French tradition, the annual Weekend du Patrimoine (Heritage Weekend) is an opportunity to see inside normally-closed sites, go behind the scenes, and take a multitude of tours (in French)… all for free.
It’s huge in Paris, with lines down the block for everything, but here on the Cote it is very manageable and you can see so much… I love this annual weekend and always learn so much!
Here are some of my personal favorites:
All museums are free this day, with special tours and activities offered
- See the enormous prehistoric dig going on at the Lazaret Grotto above the Port
- Free concerts at St Reparate Cathedral in Old Nice
- Discover the magnificent Palais Sardes behind Cours Saleya Market, exceptionally open this weekend only
- Open House at the Mairie where you can even go into the Mayor’s Office
- Stroll through the Roman bath ruins on Cimiez at the Archaeological Museum
- All churches (even ones that are usually not open) offer guided tours
- Walking tours of all types are offered all over town
- Discover the Crypt Garibaldi, free this weekend
- Tour the ruins of the Chateau and learn it’s fascinating history
- Tour the cemetary on the Chateau, and learn the stories behind the tombs
- Explore the Nice Observatory and peer through the giant telescope
There are also one-time only tours proposed, and these exceptional visits usually require a reservation which can be make at the Bureau du Patrimoine, off of Cours Saleya, where you can also pick up the full program and schedule.
…And, to get you in the mood, here’s a quick and snappy history of Nice, that will whet your appetite for this amazing Weekend du Patrimoine!
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Photo by Best of Nice