A music-themed weekend for European Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine) in Paris

The third weekend of September is hands down one of the best weekends to be in Paris. Throughout France, over 17,000 monuments open their doors for two days and propose more than 25,000 animations for the European Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine).

September 16 & 17, 2017

The third weekend of September is hands down one of the best weekends to be in Paris. Throughout France, over 17,000 monuments open their doors for two days and propose more than 25,000 animations for the European Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine). The weekend is an extraordinary occasion to visit historic monuments many of which are usually closed to the public.

Following are some suggestions for a music-themed week-end in Paris. There are also numerous churches and cathedrals organizing concerts (too many to list here) if you enjoy classical and/or sacred music. Check the JEP official website for the program.


Opening dates and hours are subject to change. Certain tours are by reservation only. Please verify beforehand.

Journées du Patrimoine France official

Twitter @jep
Instagram @jepofficiel
Facebook @journeeseuropeennesdupatrimoine

#jep2017 #jep #journéesdupatrimoine #EuropeanHeritageDays

Maison de la Radio

Guided tours, reservations required
September 16 & 17
116 Avenue du Président Kennedy, Paris 16

The Maison de la Radio is the home of France’s public service radio broadcaster, Radio France. It’s a massive circular building designed by the architect Henry Bernard. It was inaugurated by President Charles de Gaulle in December 1963.

In addition to housing Radio France’s central services and the studios of several of other radio stations, the building is home to the Musée de Radio France, a museum of radio and television broadcasting and recording techniques. There are also numerous concert halls and live TV shows.

More info

Pianos Balleron

Visit the restoration workshop of pianos dating from 1840 to 1940.
September 16 & 17: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
16 rue Jean Bologne, Paris 16

“The story begins in 1902, with Louis Balleron, first flute with the Opéra Comique, and Paul Balleron, baritone and composer, who opened a music shop selling orchestral instruments and sheet music. In 1917, their niece Marcelle Balleron took the reins aged 23, and managed the business until the age of 77. She introduced pianos into their range, and mixed with the high-society musical scene of Paris between the wars, becoming an important distributor for Bechstein pianos. In 1970, under new management, Maison Balleron developed a concert service covering the whole of France, new piano sales, maintenance and repairs. From 1992 onwards, Sylvie Fouanon specialised only in restoring antique and vintage pianos made between 1840 and 1940.” (Source Pianos Balleron)

More info

Salle Érard

Guided tour
September 16: 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
September 17: 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
13 rue du Mail, Paris 2

The salle Érard is part of the hôtel particulier which belonged, from the 18th century, to the Érard family of piano, harp and harpsichord manufacturers. Small in size, but well isolated from the noises of the city, enjoying good acoustics, it is more particularly adapted to chamber music.

During the 19th and the beginning of the 20th, it was the place of premières and debuts noted for both compositions and for interpreters, among which: Érik Satie (orchestrations of his Gymnopédies by Claude Debussy), Jacques Ibert, les histoires (ten pieces for piano) (1923), Nellie Melba, Ricardo Viñes, Maurice Ravel, Miroirs (1906) , Menuet antique (1892), Histoires naturelles with Jane Bathori (1907), Sonate pour violon et piano (1927), Trois poèmes de Mallarmé (Ravel) (1914), Camille Saint-Saens (1860).[2], Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1888), Claude Debussy, Triptyque Estampes (1904), Le Promenoir des deux amants (1911), Alexander Scriabin (1896), Joseph Jongen, André Caplet , Conte fantastique with Micheline Kahn as the harpist, (1923) Vladimir de Pachmann (1882), Charles Valentin Alkan (1837) and (1880), Francis Poulenc, Reynaldo Hahn, pianist Édouard Risler (1908), Ernest Chausson, Viviane (1883), César Franck, Le Chasseur maudit (1883), Arthur Honegger, Le Cahier romand (1924), Olivier Messiaen, Huit préludes (1930), Maurice Delage, Sept haï-kaïs (1925), Quatre poèmes hindous (1914), Francis Planté, Stéphan Elmas ou Youra Guller.

Before the construction of the Maison de la Radio (1963), the hall served as a recording studio for the Radiodiffusion française. (Source Wikipedia)

More info

Gaité Lyrique

Guided tour, reservations required
September 16 and 17: 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
3 bis rue Papin, Paris 3

In 1862 during Haussmann’s modernization of Paris, the Théâtre de la Gaîté of the boulevard du Temple was relocated to the rue Papin across from the Square des Arts et Métiers. The new theatre, built in an Italian style to designs of the architects Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and Alphonse Cusin, opened on September 3.

Within a decade the focus began to shift from melodrama to operetta and opera, so the theatre also came to be known as the Gaîté-Lyrique. In the early 1920s Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes danced here, and after World War II it was used for musical comedy. In the 1970s attendance decreased, and there were several attempts to find new uses for the building, culminating in 1989 in the construction of a short-lived amusement park, that resulted in the demolition of most of the theatre, except for the facade, entrance and foyer. The latter were restored during a 2004 reconstruction that converted the building into an arts centre, La Gaîté Lyrique, completed in November 2010. (Source Wikipedia)

More info

Museum of Music

Promenade Concert in the Museum, Free
September 16 & 17: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
221 avenue Jean-Jaurès, Paris 19

Since its opening in 1997, the Museum of Music has become world renowned for its collection and presentation of musical instruments. The historical heritage within its walls spans centuries, from the 16th century to today, and is a testament to the wealth of musical invention in every culture in the world. The relationship between music, instruments and art objects is further enhanced by dynamic temporary exhibitions, which weave in other arts and key historical themes.

Within the Philharmonie de Paris, the Museum of Music represents a collection of more than 7,000 instruments and art objects, with almost 1,000 on exhibit in the permanent exhibition space, including national treasures and legendary instruments such as a piano belonging to Chopin and a guitar belonging to Brassens. The museum presents a history of Western music from the 17th century to today and an overview of the main musical cultures of the world. (Source Musée de la musique)

More info

Hôtel de Beauvais

Guided tour, Free
September 16 & 17: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
68 rue François-Miron, Paris 4

The Hôtel de Beauvais is a chef-d’œuvre of 17th century architecture. Construction began in 1654 by the architect Antoine Le Pautre and was inaugurated by Louis XIV in 1660. In 1763 the hotel came into possession of the Bavarian ambassador, who received a visit that year from Mr. Leopold Mozart, his wife, and children, including Wolfgang, age seven.
Patrimoine-2017″>More info

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Open Thursday–Sunday: 2 p.m.–6 p.m., 10€
53 boulevard de Rochechouart, Paris 9

I couldn’t see any specific events for the Journées du Patrimoine on their website, but no matter. A visit to this lesser-known museum is a must for music lovers.

The Phonograph Museum hosts a collection of over 250 working music players covering 140 years of recorded sound that is unique in Europe. The collection also includes a large number of other objects and rare documents.

In addition the permanent collection, the museum also proposes temporary exhibitions and live events.

Located in the Pigalle district near the butte Montmartre, the museum also provides the history of this district and the 9th arrondissement of Paris in general.

More info


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