2019 European Heritage Days

Kering opened its doors at 40 rue de Sèvres during European Heritage Days. Visitors discovered the hidden gardens of the former Hôpital Laennec and took time to enjoy two unprecedented exhibitions: artworks from the Pinault Collection and creations from the Balenciaga archives.

Le Tan Laennec hospital poster
A unique encounter with history, art and creativity


Ever since the company moved to the former Hôpital Laennec in 2015, Kering planned for the landmark to remain open to the public. Since 2016, 40 rue de Sèvres has been listed in the European Heritage Days program. The site offers a singular perspective on art and fashion, and raises awareness, among young and old alike, about the importance of preserving and valuing heritage. European Heritage Days will be held on September 21st and 22nd, under the theme “Art and Entertainment” offering a new occasion to learn about the architectural jewel’s history and secrets. 




Follow the itinerary


The tour begins in the main courtyard with a virtual reality experience in which visitors can see what the building looked like in the 17th century. It continues in the historic chapel where the Tears of Joy exhibition presents a selection of artworks from the Pinault Collection. Afterwards, visitors could stroll through the hidden gardens where the toiles, or “three-dimensional sketches”, from the Balenciaga House archives were exhibited for the first time. The tour ended as visitors gathered round the French Cup. Won last year by the Stade Rennais FC football team, it embodies both art and heritage, and made a rare appearance at Kering’s HQ during European Heritage Days.

Toiles from Balenciaga

Toiles from Balenciaga by night

A journey through time - Timescope

The exhibitions


Reflecting the “Art and Entertainment” theme of the 36th European Heritage Days, the selection is inspired by entertainment in the form of shows: the circus with Sigmar Polke, the carnival with Claire Tabouret, popular celebrations with Martial Raysse, and finally cartoons with Damien Hirst and his Mickey.


Any piece of clothing starts with an idea and a sketch. Next comes volume: the toile or “sculpted” drawing. A fundamental step, draping fabric onto a dress form, requires high standards, precision, technique and meticulous thought. Cristóbal Balenciaga endlessly manipulated and adjusted to create perfectly interpreted volumes. During European Heritage Days, the House  presented 18 demi-toiles from its archives – rare pieces that are usually kept secretly protected in the workshop...

Balenciaga archive

Download the 2019 edition guides: