ideas for visits around the economy and industry

Stations, factories, places of economic power … Ideas for visits for the 38th edition of European Heritage Days.

After a 2020 edition marked by the health crisis, the European Heritage Days 2021 promises to be busy. However, remember to take your health pass with you, you will be asked for it at the entrance to all cultural events. Practical side: a interactive map allows you to browse the 23,000 or so events organized.

For this 38th edition, the classics of industry and economy are still in the spotlight. Workshops, factories, and places of economic power can, for example, be visited in France. These sites focus on pedagogy to explain to the youngest and their elders industrial processes, economic policies or even emblematic know-how. You don’t know which ones to visit this weekend yet? Le Figaro has prepared a non-exhaustive selection for you.

In Paris, focus on places of economic power

In Paris, the emphasis is on the places where the country’s economic policy is decided. For example, you will be able to visit:

  • The Bank of France : on the program, visit of theToulouse hotel with its golden gallery and exhibition on the Napoleonic gold medals. The visit is without reservation.
  • The Monnaie de Paris: you will be able to discover the process of making coins and attend engraving demonstrations. The reservation on the Museum website is necessary.
  • The Ministry of the Economy: at Bercy, ministers’ workplaces will be open to the public and the France Relance plan will be highlighted during an exhibition. Registration is required and can be done here.
  • The Court of Audit : its missions and its activity are to be discovered at the Palais Cambon. The history of financial jurisdictions since Napoleon will be presented there and discussions with magistrates will be possible. Entrance is free without reservation.

Visits by the Paris Commercial Court were also canceled due to the increased security required by the opening of the trial for the attacks of November 13, 2015.

Industrial sites and places of expertise in the provinces and Île-de-France

Throughout France, you will also be able to visit emblematic sites of industry and French know-how. Le Figaro has listed some of them by region, in the list below.


  • The Menier chocolate factory offers, for example, guided tours to discover the architecture of the place as well as chocolate-making techniques, by reservation with the heritage department of the City of Noisiel (77).
  • The Sèvres museum (92) invites you to visit its production workshops and ceramic collections. An introduction to modeling is also possible in a dedicated workshop. The online booking is obligatory.


  • The House of Companions of Duty in Rodez (12) will allow visitors to discover the trades carpenter, joiner or stonemason with, for example, practical workshops. The opportunity, also, to rediscover the companionship and the transmission of skills that it allows.
  • It will also be possible to visit theboat workshop in Port-Vendres (66) to understand the process of boat restoration.


  • La manufacture de Thizy (69) will take you on a journey through time to discover the textile industry, dyers and steam engines.
  • The Manufacture District which now houses the city of design also opens its doors to Saint Etienne (42), without reservation, between historic buildings and innovation workshops.


  • The historic mining center de Lewarde (59) plunges you into the heart of the mines for visits and workshops. You will be able to visit spaces usually closed to the public and in which the Germinal series was filmed, for a complete immersion. Children will also be able to reconstruct elements of the mining infrastructure using wooden elements during a dedicated workshop.
  • The Francière sugar refinery (60) welcomes visitors to tell them about the history of the sugar industry in Picardy and for workshops on sugar extraction and the secrets of Cola.

Great East

  • The Union of Champagne Houses in Reims (51) offers a unique exhibition on champagne and cinema, these two French emblems. You will thus be able to discover a selection of film archives featuring champagne.
  • The Manufacture of Baccarat (54) honors one of the jewels of French craftsmanship: crystal. Imagined as the home of a collector, the museum makes it possible to rediscover the history of this artistic and economic heritage.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

  • The Rampal-Latour soap factory in Salon-de-Provence (13) organizes tours of its modern factory which produces Marseille soaps in particular. At the foot of the working cauldrons you will be able to discover the manufacturing secrets of this Provençal emblem. The reservation is however necessary.

New Aquitaine

  • The impressive Bort-Les-Orgues dam (19) opens its doors with the educational objective of introduce hydroelectric production to the general public. Stands and workshops on EDF trades and many events are planned for the 70th anniversary of the building.

Loire Valley Center

  • Focus on craftsmanship Archiepiscopal Palace de Bourges (18) with the Museum of the best workers in France. You will discover the temporary exhibition dedicated to the best women workers in France and their place in the world of craftsmanship.


  • A Etel (56), la Municipal icebox welcomes visitors, free entry, on September 18 and 19 to present the history of this emblematic place. It was initially used to produce the ice necessary for the conservation of fish. Bought by the municipality in 2017, it must become a place of research on renewable energies.

Rail at the heart of the weekend

This year, the railway heritage is particularly highlighted on the occasion of the “European Year of Rail”, and for the 40th anniversary of the TGV. Stations, maintenance workshops and driving simulators are thus made accessible to the public. For example, you can visit the following places:

  • In Caen (14), the SNCF opens the doors of driving simulator from the station. To introduce you to the profession of train driver, you will be able to take direct control, after having duly reserved your session.
  • In Nevers, the curious can visit the Regional technicenter to learn more about railway know-how and the various trades in the sector. Guided tours are possible on inscription. Other Technicentres are also open throughout France.
  • Many stations are also accessible and will allow you to explore behind the scenes. Like Hugo Cabret, for example, dive into the backdrop of Bordeaux-Saint-Jean or Nîmes stations. Orleans train station even offers a treasure hunt. The reservation is recommended.


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