Millions flock to French heritage sites

19th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 18 (AFP) - More than 12 million people took advantage of free entry to 15,000 French historical sites at the weekend, the French culture ministry said on Sunday.

PARIS, Sept 18 (AFP) - More than 12 million people took advantage of free entry to 15,000 French historical sites at the weekend, the French culture ministry said on Sunday.

The star attraction of the 22nd annual Journées du Patrimoine, Heritage Days, an event celebrated in 47 European countries in September, was the steel and glass Grand Palais exhibition hall, reopened to the public after 12 years of restoration.

About 100,000 people visited the domed edifice built for the World Fair in 1900, the ministry said.

Some of the 12,000 visitors to the Elysée presidential palace were surprised to be greeted on the front steps by President Jacques Chirac in his first public outing since he left hospital on September 9 after suffering a vision problem.

The nation's first couple spent ten minutes shaking hands, kissing children and posing for photos with tourists, some of whom had been waiting since 5am.

In the morning, tourists from all over the world poured into the presidential palace from the main entrance on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

By 11am they faced a three-hour wait for a one hour tour but their patience was rewarded with a tour through the ground-floor rooms, including the Murat room where the cabinet meets each week, and the ballroom where receptions and ceremonies are held.

Another popular site, the Versailles château, received 28,000 visitors.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article