As a part of the European Heritage Days yesterday I decided to visit the Assemblée Nationale. In France the European Heritage Days are called the Journées du Patrimoine. Every September there’s one weekend where places normally not open to the public are open and free. From the rose garden to the stunning interior spaces, I thought the Assemblée Nationale was perfect.
I’ve heard about people waiting in lines for hours to visit places like the Palais de l’Élysée, which I’d love to do once, but 2020 didn’t seem like the year for me. A silver-lining with the pandemic is the number of visitors were limited, and a few places even had online reservation systems. Romain and I decided we wanted to visit the Assemblée Nationale so we booked our time slot for Sunday.
Assemblée Nationale Check-In Tips
Luckily Romain likes to arrive early, which is not the case for me (our family motto is literally late, but in earnest). We arrived 10 minutes before our visit which was perfect. We were at the front of the check-in line which got quite long.
There’s more of a security check at the Assemblée Nationale versus some other places, which isn’t surprising. It was the closest thing I’ve experienced to security at the airport since January. They checked our IDs against a printout of who was visiting (so you can’t exchange or let someone else use your time slot if you can’t make it). Then we went through a metal detector and they scanned our bags. They had a few prohibited items, but unlike being at the airport you could get them back at the end of the visit.
The Assemblée Nationale Garden
I really had no idea what to expect when the visit began, but not surprisingly I was blown away. When you walk in it’s like being in a perfect private Parisian village. Romain even said the main “road” was like a mini Champs-Élysées. The view with the trees just starting to change colors was breathtaking.
When we got to the end and turned right and saw the rose garden I kind of lost it because it was so unexpected. I love a garden, but especially a rose garden. They’re the kind of roses that are almost too pretty to be true and you can tell right away that they smell amazing, which they did. I would’ve been content if that was the end of the visit.
The Assemblée Nationale Interior
I’m going to let the interior of the Assemblée Nationale speak for itself. Basically I want to live there and can’t imagine how incredible it would be to work there. It reminded me of a Parisian Palace hotel – typically French with the floors and ceilings (some by Delacroix) and panelings and mantles and chandeliers – and it’s immaculate. No squeaky floors, everything was super clean, the furniture was plush and fabric in perfect condition.
My favorite rooms were the library, the Galerie des Fêtes, and of course the hémicycle. The visit finished in the garden along the Quai d’Orsay. I can’t recommend a Heritage Days visit to Assemblée Nationale enough if you get the chance!