City of love, literary paradise, fashion capital, language of love… Paris is the city that sits firmly at the top of many people’s bucket lists. But this city can be expensive. That’s why I’m here to show that you can have fun without draining all the money in your bank account.
Add these 10 incredible free things to do in your Paris itinerary and give your wallet a break!
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
First, we have one of the city’s ever famous and instantly recognizable monuments – the Sacre-Coeur. This is a sight you simply must-see. Nestled on top of a high hill in the beautiful Monmarte district, it has over 10 million visitors each year, making it one of the most visited churches in France.
At 213m above the sea level, Du Sacre-Coeur is also the city’s highest point, second to the famous Eiffel tower. Both the exterior and interior of this iconic structure follow a romano-byzantine architectural style.
Du Sacre-Coeur is free if you wish to explore the ground area but to explore the dome or the crypt, you’ll have to pay a nominal fee. Whether it’s the beautiful architectural designs of this church, the serene view of Paris, or the street performers entertaining the crowd as dusk sets in, Sacre-Coeur is a place you’ll never forget.
One of the best things about Paris is its museums. With 130 museums throughout the city, you’d be pleased to know that there is a handful of them that are free. And the Musee D’art Moderne is a perfect example. Visiting hours are between 10 am-6 pm and they are open from Tuesday till Sunday.
While the permanent collections and main sections of the museum are still free, you’ll have to pay a fee to see their visiting collections. You can also head to the Lumiere Des Roses Museum, which, unlike other traditional museums, has photo linings on its walls that aren’t credited to anybody. Nobody knows who took those pictures, when, or where. Even the big names are completely ignored in this Musee.
Another notable and must-visit museum is the Musee Carnavalet. It highlights the history of Paris and features over 2600 paintings along with some remarkable decorative rooms and furniture. If you want to know more about this city, Musee Carnavalet should definitely be in your itinerary. Best of all, it is entirely free and won’t cost you a dime.
Le Marias is one of the Capital’s central localities for museums and is also the trendiest district. It houses several stylish fashion houses, restaurants, and hip galleries. Here you will find a mix of different communities, including the Chinese, Jews, and LGBT.
While walking the streets of Le Marais, you will also notice that the architectural designs are quite different from what you usually see in Paris. That’s precisely why you should visit this place. This place is like a secret Parisian gem.
You can make your way to this district via the Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Republic or Art et Metiers metro stations.
One of the prettiest places to see in Paris has got to be the Tuileries garden and it is open to everybody! You will see a number of people lounging around, enjoying the views. You can actually see the Eiffel tower as well as Lourve from this garden. This means you can literally go in between, check out the glass pyramid of the Lourve and the back of the Eiffel tower.
The garden was open to the public in 1667, and it has become a popular place for a stroll or a picnic. The best thing about the Tuileries Garden is that it’s like a picturesque pathway from the Lourve to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a really easy, relaxing walk to get from one attraction spot to another.
It covers an area of 22.4 hectares and houses over 200 artifacts and vases. If you’re exhausted and need to take a break from sightseeing, this should be your go-to place.
Today, almost 14 million people visit the Tuileries Gardens every year. You’d also be pleased to know that it is one of the Capital’s hot spot for glamorous events like the Paris fashion week. So if you’re lucky, you might get a quick peek of some big names in the industry.
Another must-see is the largest art museum in the world and wildly popular Louvre museum. It is housed in the Louvre palace that surrounds the pyramid.
Visiting the Louvre museum is an ambitious feat. It is divided into five different floors in an area that is 14 acres and houses over 380,000 artworks. Make sure you get a glimpse of the famous Mona Lisa and other notable paintings.
This world-famous museum is free to visit on the first Sunday of every month (October-March). Also, if you are under 18 or a member of the Europian Economic Community, they will let you in for free.
Rue Mouffetard is a famous shopping street in Paris 5th arrondissement, and more commonly referred to as “la Mouffe.” Walking through this street market, you will notice a combination of fresh produce, cheese, pastries, wine, meat, and fish shops alongside chic boutiques. With so many things to explore, it’s really easy to spend hours in Rue Mouffetard.
The talented street performers and artists, and of course, the cheerful locals that bring the whole place to life will most certainly offer you an authentic Parisian experience. Also, if you’re lucky, the shop vendors are known to provide free samples of their incredible goods. Either way, visiting Rue Mouffetard is one of the best things you can do in Paris for free.
Located in Paris’s 6th arrondissement, the Luxembourg Gardens, also known as Jardin du Luxembourg, is another beautiful location. It houses an orchard, apiary, and greenhouses with a rose garden and several breathtaking orchids.
This is a great place to soak in the Parisian sun and enjoy the peaceful scenery. Head to Jardin du Luxembourg and engulf yourself with the incredible beauty of these magical gardens. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can also enjoy a boat ride.
While the admission is free, you can visit the gardens from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, or 8:15 am to 9:30 pm, depending on the season.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The most visited monuments in Paris, this magnificent gothic cathedral was built in the 12th century. It has been made famous across the globe through literature, music, art, and even Disney cartoons.
While France is the world’s most visited country, you’d be surprised to know that the Eiffel Tower isn’t the most visited monument. If Disneyland is France’s number one destination for tourists, then the Notre Dame Cathedral is certainly the most visited landmark within the Capital’s city limits.
Entrance to this majestic edifice is free, but following the recent tragic fire that took place in April, admission to the interiors has been closed for reconstruction. Either way, you can still marvel at the beautiful exteriors of the building, though charred and damaged.
Parc Des Buttes Chaumont
In the Capital’s 19th arrondissement lies a massive park which is known as Park des Buttes-Chaumont. It is also the fifth-largest green space in Paris and measures 24.7 hectares.
It is home to numerous birds and exotic, indigenous trees, caves, and waterfalls.
One of the best highlights of this park is the famous Temple Of Sibyl. If you need a peaceful getaway from the hustle & bustle, visiting the Buttes-Chaumont is the perfect solution.
If you’re traveling with your kids, this is a great place to be. They will love running around the grass and enjoy several fun things to do like puppet shows, pony rides, playgrounds, and sandboxes.
You can visit the park from 7 am to 9 pm, and if you happen to visit the Capital during the summer, you’d be happy to know that it’s open 24/7.
Arc de Triomphe
Finally, we have the famous monument Arc de Triomphe. This monumental structure was built to honor the lives of the soldiers who died fighting for France during the Napoleonic wars and the French Revolution.
Standing134ft tall and 148ft wide, it is also the second-largest triumphal arch in the world. And while this monument is meant to commemorate France’s victories, it has also seen a few dreadful defeats.
The inner and outer walls of the structure have the names of the country’s generals and victories inscribed on it. Also, under the structure, there is a tomb of an unknown soldier from WW1.
While it’s free to explore the exteriors of the monument, if you wish to go inside, you need to pay a nominal fee of 12 euros. That said if you are from the EEC and under 26, you will get a free pass.
The best thing about Paris is that you can just wander along the streets and enjoy spectacular architecture wherever you look. Though an expensive destination, Paris still offers numerous budget-friendly and fantastic activities for everyone to indulge in. Whether it’s learning about the history of the French Capital or enjoying a peaceful stroll at the Luxembourg Gardens, there’s something amazing for everyone without a price tag.
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