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Explore Gallic heritage for free

If you can't wait until half-term for a break, museums and monuments all over France open their doors for no charge on the weekend of September 20-21 to celebrate the country's artistic and architectural heritage.

The 14,000 Gallic sites taking part in the annual open-house event, called Journees du Patrimoine, include buildings that are normally closed to the public.

French speakers can find details at, the ministry of culture's fairly simple website, which gives details of events and opening hours across the country.

A good centre would be Bordeaux, which was for Stendhal "France's most beautiful city". As well as opening its museums and some private homes, such as the Hotel Frug s, an Art Deco and oriental-style town house, Bordeaux will also host free concerts across the city. Contact the town hall (; tel, 00 33 (0) 5 56 10 44 21) or see

Cresta Holidays, which features short breaks to most of the main French towns, has a two-night weekend break in Bordeaux departing September 19 for pound;364 per person (twin share) inclusive of return British Airways flights from Gatwick (club class outbound) and accommodation with breakfast at the two-star Hotel Ste-Catherine.

For more information, tel 0870 33 33 303 or see

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