France has literally thousands of historical sites to visit. From chateaus to cathedrals, battlefields and museums, there is something for everyone to explore. Given that borders are still closed around the world, I’ve decided that this is the year to explore more of my adopted country. The problem is knowing where to start. How do I choose between over 45,000 chateaus? Or 100,000 churches? How do I know which of the over 1,200 museums are worth my time? Instead of trying to figure it out on my own, I decided to turn to the experts. Specifically, the organization responsible for many of France’s most famous sites. I’m very pleased to say that I am now the proud owner of the Passion Monuments card from the Centre of National Monuments.
The Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) is a government body in France that maintains historic sites that are owned by the state. There are approximately 100 sites located all over the country, and it is CMN’s mandate to make them accessible to the largest number of people as possible. Famous monuments in Paris include the Arc de Triomphe, Sainte Chapelle, and the Pantheon. Other famous monuments include the Abbey of Mont St. Michel, the Basilica of Saint Denis, and the towers of the cathedrals in Reims, Chartres, and Amiens. In other words, it’s heaven for history and architecture lovers like me.
It only took a quick glance at the list of monuments to know that I had found the perfect way to explore France. The Passion Monuments card offers a full year’s access to all the sites, and I’m determined to visit as many of them as I can. Nearly 100 monuments in a year? Challenge accepted. I’m also very aware that I’m extraordinarily lucky to live in a country like France at a time when travelling across borders is not possible or very risky for most people. I never want to take that for granted, and supporting the Centre for National Monuments is one way I can show my appreciation.
To see the full list of monuments and sites, please click HERE. I will be writing about the ones I visit throughout the year, but if there’s a site in particular you would like to know more about, please let me know. In the meantime, I’m heading out with my card in hand, ready to explore this beautiful country. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.