Paris monuments shuttered as protests collide with heritage day fun
The Arc de Triomphe, Petit Palais and Grand Palais are among several Paris sites remaining closed to visitors during this weekend’s European Heritage Days – amid disruptive protests.
Known in French as the Journées du Patrimoine, heritage days are when public and private buildings normally off-limits to the public are open for all.
However this year, some 20 government-run sites in the capital – ministries, town halls, courts, etc – cancelled their participation in European Heritage Days for Saturday, while several pulled out for the entire weekend.
The Elysée Palace will be accessible only by reservation, while the Arc de Triomphe, damaged during protests last December, will be completely off limits.
The French Ministry of Culture published a list of monuments and other sites to be closed, including the education and agriculture ministries, amid marches by Yellow Vests, climate campaigners and those angry at pension reforms.
There’s also a heavy security presence in Paris, with as many as 8,000 police mobilised.
Demonstrations have been banned in areas including the Champs-Elysees, Avenue de la Grande Armée, the National Assembly, Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, the Senate and Notre Dame – as well as in the Boulogne and Vincennes woods.
La journée est sous haute surveillance cet #Acte45, les marches pour le climat, les Journées du patrimoine & les manifs contre la réforme des retraites. "Nous sommes traités comme des criminels", s'énerve Brigitte, militante écolo. A 11h35, il y avait eu 65 interpellations #AFP pic.twitter.com/40JRYPIdseAgence France-Presse (@afpfr) September 21, 2019
Elsewhere in France heritage day events are also being affected, with closures announced in Montpellier to prevent possible damage.
Toulouse’s mayor said the town hall would be closed in the afternoon because of demonstrations, while the city’s Capitol Theater has modified its programming, cancelling all shows from 6pm on Saturday.