Friday 15 September 2023

Celebrate Europe’s rich railway heritage with SNCF’s special events

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Get ready for an extraordinary journey into France’s rich cultural heritage as we prepare to celebrate European Heritage Days from 15 to 17 September 2023. This year’s theme, “Living Heritage”, promises to be a unique experience, and SNCF is excited to play a significant role in this prestigious tradition. With a legacy spanning 40 years in France, the European Heritage Days are testament to the nation’s commitment to preserving its cultural treasures. Under the auspices of the French Ministry of Culture and the European Council, this annual event has captured the hearts of millions, attracting both locals and tourists alike.

In 2023, European Heritage Days in France will revolve around three primary themes:

  • Preserve and pass on know-how: This year, we delve into the depths of the knowledge, professions and innovations that have shaped SNCF’s history. Let’s celebrate the invaluable expertise that has been passed down through generations, enriching the railway industry.
  • Experience the SNCF heritage: Explore the living heritage of SNCF in its daily use. From bustling railways and stations to innovative third places and cultural hubs; experience the heart of SNCF’s legacy. These spaces, whether historical or reimagined, are essential threads in the tapestry of our shared heritage.
  • Commit to the environment: As stewards of the environment and biodiversity, SNCF is committed to sustainability. The role the railway industry plays in preserving the environment and fostering biodiversity is crucial.

Adding to the excitement, SNCF is hosting the Rugby World Cup from 7 September to 10 October, coinciding with the European Heritage Days, which also promote sport heritage.

Prepare for a remarkable line-up of 200 rail events across France, organised by SNCF and many railway heritage associations. These events will offer a diverse range of experiences, from immersive heritage tours to engaging exhibitions and interactive activities. The full programme is available at

While the European Heritage Days primarily celebrate France’s cultural heritage, it’s worth noting that some European countries, including Spain (Catalunya in particular), Hungary and Slovenia, also take part in this pan-European event. Although their railways are not currently organising special events, their participation underscores the importance of preserving and celebrating our shared heritage across borders.

European Heritage Days 2023 promises to be a remarkable experience, one that combines the past, present and future, with SNCF at the heart of it all.

But that’s not all! UIC is also actively participating in European Heritage Days. UIC is organising an exhibition and guided tours of its Paris headquarters. Through these activities, UIC will showcase 100 years of international cooperation and innovation within the railway industry. Their participation underscores the significance of cross-border collaboration and innovation in the world of railways.

Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family, and let UIC and SNCF guide you through a journey that weaves together history, innovation and a deep commitment to preserving our shared heritage.

For further information, please contact Yanran Xiao at

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