30 Free Things to Do in Paris
We know that the City of Light is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so we created a list of 30 free things to do in Paris to make the most of your trip.
There is something for everyone: museums, walks, galleries, street art, viewpoints and much more.
Free Museums in Paris
Let’s start with the free museums in Paris. There are many that are free every day, and others offer free admission or discounts on certain days and times.
Some Museums are Free Every Day:
- Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
- Musée de la Vie Romantique
- Musée Carnavalet
- Maison de Victor Hugo in Haute Ville
- Ennery Museum (Saturdays by reservation)
- National Museum of the Legion of Honor and Orders of Chivalry
- National Air and Space Museum
- Le Plateau – Contemporary Art Center
In addition, there are museums that are free on the first Sunday of each month. Some offer this possibility every month and others only some months of the year.
Among those that offer it monthly is the Pompidou Center, the Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts.
The Louvre allows free entry on the first Sunday of the month from October to March
- Recommended: Museums in the 16th arrondissement of Paris
Some of the most famous cemeteries in Paris are the Père Lachaise cemetery Père Lachaise cemetery, Montmartre cemetery, and Montparnasse cemetery.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris and is known for being the final home of many famous personalities, such as Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, and Jim Morrison.
Montmartre Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Paris and is known for its panoramic views of the city.
The Montparnasse cemetery is the final home of many famous personalities, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
Tour of the Ile de la Cité
The Ile de la Cité is one of the most emblematic islands of Paris and is the site of the Notre Dame Cathedral. In addition to the cathedral, the island also houses the Palais de Justice and the Louvre Museum.
If you like history and architecture, the Ile de la Cité is the place for you.
Picnic on the Champs de Mars or on the banks of the Seine
The picnic is very French; as soon as a ray of sunshine comes out, you will see the French picnicking; they say they invented it; in French, it is spelled pique-nique.
Parisians picnic in many places; among them are the canals of St. Martin, any park, and the edge of the Seine. But if you want to do it at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars is your best option.
The Champ de Mars, or Fields of Mars, is a huge garden at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, making it one of the best places to relax and have a picnic with one of the most iconic views of the city.
So it is one of the things to see for free in Paris that we highly recommend.
A picnic is not just sitting on the lawn with something to drink. You are going to see them with the blanket, the basket, and sometimes with champagne glasses. It is quite an experience.
Taking Pictures from Trocadero
Speaking of places from where you will have good views of the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero is one of the points from which you can take the best pictures of the Tower and the Seine River.
The Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre is a large square connected to the Champs de Mars by a bridge and from there, you will look at the Tower from the front, so it has a great perspective for taking pictures.
In addition, in the square, you will find some beautiful monuments, such as the statue of Marshal Foch and the Trocadero Gardens with the Warsaw Fountain in the center.
Just the buildings that will be behind you are two fascinating museums you can visit.
Look for the Statues of Liberty in the Parks of Paris
This is a good exercise that you can use as an excuse to walk around and get to know different areas of Paris.
There are 5 replicas of the Statue of Liberty in different parks:
- Swan Island
- Luxembourg Garden
- Musée d’Orsay
- Place d’Alma
- Museum of Arts and Crafts
Climb Up to the Free Observation Decks in Paris
Paris is a beautiful city to see from different points of view. That is why we recommend you take advantage of the panoramic views you will have from the city’s best viewpoints. And this is another one of the free things to do in Paris.
One of the most elegant galleries in Paris is also considered a Historic Monument thanks to its neo-Byzantine style dome.
On its top floor, it has a terrace from which you can see from the Eiffel Tower to the Montmartre district, passing by the Opéra Garnier and the Sacré Cœur Basilica.
They also have a restaurant, so you can enjoy the view while you eat and drink.
Right next to the Galeries Lafayette, you will find Printemps, which is another shopping mall. From its 9th floor, it also offers great panoramic views. There you will also find a café and places to eat very well.
Sacre Coeur viewpoint in Montmartre
You will have breathtaking views from the gardens and steps of the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
In the evening, there is usually live music and a relaxed atmosphere.
Take a Free Walking Tour with a Guide
All tour companies offer a free tour of Paris. These are some of our recommendations
Free Tour of Paris, the must-see
It lasts about 2 hours and 45 minutes. It begins on the square of the Hôtel de Ville, the City Hall of the City of Light. Then they cross the Seine to go to the île de la Cité.
There you will see the Sainte-Chapelle, La Conciergerie, the Palais de Justice, and the Pont Neuf.
They then stroll along the Pont des Arts and stop at the Louvre pyramid to hear some interesting stories of Paris.
The tour ends with a tour of the Tuileries gardens and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
Guided Free Tour of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur
It is a tour of the bohemian quarter of Paris. Known as the Painters’ Neighborhood, for having inspired many great masters of painting and for the large number of street artists that can be found.
You will see the Moulin Rouge, the Café de Deux Moulin, Van Gogh’s House, the Moulin de la Galette, the Place Saint-Pierre and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
Free tour of the mysteries and legends of Paris
A night tour to discover the darkest corners and the most incredible stories of the French capital. Stories of murder, plagues, executions, and corruption.
We recommend that you plan and book your tour in advance of your trip.
Visiting the Luxembourg Gardens
One of our favorite free things to do in Paris.
The Luxembourg Gardens are one of the best places in Paris to relax and enjoy nature.
In addition to trees and flowers, it includes ponds with ducks, a greenhouse, a labyrinth, a children’s play area and a relaxation area with sun loungers and umbrellas.
The Luxembourg Gardens were built in the 17th century as private gardens for Queen Marie de Medici, and are now owned by the French Senate.
Touring the Champs Elysées
We are talking about one of the most famous avenues in the world. As you walk through it, you will find many luxury stores and restaurants where you can try traditional French food.
Another reason why we love walking along the Avenue des Champs Elysées is that it offers a beautiful view. It is flanked by trees and has an impressive view of the Eiffel Tower at the end of the avenue.
Taking Pictures of the Louvre Pyramid
When it comes to Parisian landmarks, the Louvre pyramid is at the top of the list. It is located in the center of the Cour Napoléon of the Louvre.
Made of steel and glass, it weighs more than 200 tons and is about 21 meters high. It is composed of 603 diamonds and 70 triangles.
Taking photos in front of the pyramid gives you a great perspective of the entire facade of the museum, so it’s a great place to take photos that you’ll want to keep forever.
Going in Search of the Street Art of Paris
You may not associate Paris with street art, but many corners of the city are filled with street art.
These are some of the places where you will find it:
- The Belleville neighborhood
- The wall on rue de Lappe
- Republic Square
- The Menilmontant district
- The district of Montmartre: Montmartre
- Boulevard Vincent Auriol
- In Vitry-sur-Seine
- The Oberkampf Wall
Visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The tomb of the unknown soldier is located between the two columns of the Arc de Triomphe.
To enter the museum of the Arc and its terrace you have to pay an entrance fee. To see the tomb is free, in the same way that you can see for free the sculptures on the facade of one of the most important monuments for the French.
The tomb of the unknown soldier was made in 1921 to commemorate the soldiers killed during World War I, who is remembered with an eternal flame.
Taking pictures of the Arc de Triomphe
Take advantage of your visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier to take pictures of the Arc de Triomphe.
Without having to pay, you will be able to see the 4 facades at the foot of the arch. They are engravings representing the most important victories of the Napoleonic army.
The arch is about 50 meters high, so to get it all in one picture you will have to aim from quite far away.
Visit the Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries Garden is one of the most famous gardens in Paris. It is located between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe..
Here you can enjoy beautiful gardens and see various sculptures and monuments, such as the Luxor Obelisk, an Egyptian obelisk of pink granite that was brought to Paris in the 19th century.
You will also find the Fountain of Rivers, representing the four major rivers of France: the Loire, the Garonne, the Rhône, and the Seine.
Other attractions you can visit are the Musée d’Orsay and the Carrousel du Louvre.
In the Jardin des Tuileries, you can also enjoy strolling through the gardens and relaxing on the many chairs and benches. There is also a children’s play area and a picnic area where you can eat outdoors.
Walk along the banks of the Seine on foot
Another of the walks you can do to discover some of the best places in Paris is to walk along the banks of the Seine.
You will pass by the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde, and the Tuileries garden and if you continue you will reach the Latin Quarter.
Of course, along the route, you will find many bars and cafes, where you can sit down for a drink and enjoy the views.
We recommend you total a walk around the Latin Quarter of Paris.
Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
It is one of the most important churches in the French capital; when you see it you will understand why it is one of the most visited.
It is located at the top of Montmartre hill, so from there you will have great views of the whole city.
But it’s not just the view that makes it special. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a neo-Gothic church that stands out for its impressive facade and its interior with soaring ceilings decorated with frescoes and mosaics.
You can also visit the crypt, where you can find the remains of some of the most important saints of the Catholic Church, and the terrace, from where you can enjoy spectacular views of the city.
Stroll Through the Streets of Montmartre
We already told you what you could see in the neighborhood if you take the free tour, and we also recommend the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. But there are more things you might be interested in, such as:
- The Montmartre Museum: a museum housed in the former home of artist Auguste Renoir that tells the story of the neighborhood and some of its most famous inhabitants, such as Vincent van Gogh and Amélie Poulain.
- Place des Abbesses: a small square with a bohemian charm and a blue mosaic fountain that is very popular with tourists.
- The Moulin Rouge: a world-famous cabaret known for its can-can shows.
It is one of those neighborhoods where you have to walk without looking at the map and enjoy everything you see in its streets, letting yourself be surprised.
Check Out the Artists at Work
While you are in the bohemian district, go to the Place du Tertre, a square full of street artists and typical restaurants, known to be the heart of the Montmartre district.
You can also see them at La Place des Abbesses, another square in the same neighborhood.
And if you want to see more street performers, you could go to La Place de la Concorde, near the Louvre, where you can see many artists playing music and juggling.
One last recommendation is La Place des Vosges. It is in the Marais and besides having artists, it is known for its picturesque houses.
Travel along the St Martin Canal
Within a few kilometers, you will see many places that you will love. And that’s why we included it in our list of free things to do in Paris..
From the iron bridges, you will be able to see how the lock system that allows the ships to circulate throughout the canal works.
You can start your tour at the Parc de la Villette, where you will see the Cité de la Science et de l’Industrie. Many concerts are organized in the park and you will see many people having a picnic.
Then you can head towards the Villemin garden, and from there to the Place de la Bastille.
Along the canal, you will find many restaurants and stores and enjoy beautiful views. You will also come across many Parisians riding bicycles and rollerblades, as it is one of the places most enjoyed by the locals.
Visit the Musée de la Sculpture in the Open Air in Paris
The Open Air Sculpture Museum of Paris (Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou) is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in the center of Paris, more precisely on the banks of the Seine in the 5th arrondissement.
It was created in 1980 and has a collection of more than 200 outdoor sculptures by artists such as Calder, Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Niki de Saint Phalle.
In addition, at the museum, you will see modern and contemporary art by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon and Cindy Sherman.
And as if this were not enough, the museum offers a panoramic view of the city from its terrace.
Visit the Flower Market near Notre Dame
Le marché aux fleurs is located at place Louis Lépine. This special market is the place where botany enthusiasts have gathered since 1830 and have pavilions dating back to 1900.
There are covered and uncovered areas and you will find all kinds of flowers: seasonal flowers, exotic flowers, rare orchids, all kinds of plants, shrubs and more.
It is the ideal place for flower lovers in the French capital. That’s why it’s on our list of 30 free things to see in Paris.
Visit the Forney Library
When you see its facade, you think it is a castle, not a library. This building is an example of medieval Parisian dwellings. It was the residence of the archbishops of Sens during the 16th century.
If you want to visit it, it will be a good excuse to tour the Marais district in Paris.
In addition to the building, you might also be interested in its large collection of old books and manuscripts including works by authors such as Voltaire, Montesquieu and Victor Hugo.
It also usually has temporary exhibitions on topics related to art, literature and history.
Discover the only vineyard in Paris
Yes, in one of the most incredible cities in the world, there is a vineyard. It is close to the Sacre-Coeur basilica.
It is a small winery with only 1,500 square meters and produces only 1,000 bottles annually. These are auctioned off and the proceeds from these auctions go to charity for the neighborhood.
The vineyard is called Vigne du Clos Montmartre. It is located at the crossroads of rue des Saules and rue Saint-Vincent.
When you visit, you can taste their pinot noir, gamay and other varieties that are traditional from France and Switzerland.
Take a Stroll in the Marais District
We have already mentioned the Marais neighborhood, and now we will tell you about its main attractions:
- The Picasso Museum: a museum that houses a large collection of works by the famous Spanish artist.
- Place des Vosges: a beautiful square surrounded by red brick houses and a central garden where you can relax and enjoy the sun.
- Place de la Republique: a large square with a statue of Marianne, a symbol of the French Republic, which is a popular place for demonstrations and events.
- The Jewish Quarter: Le Marais is also known for being one of the most important Jewish neighborhoods in Paris and in its streets, you will find many kosher stores and restaurants.
And don’t forget the Forney Library, which we already told you about.
Look for Cherry Blossoms in Parc des Buttes Chaumont
The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is in the 19th arrondissement, in a less touristic area, so it is a good place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris.
Its beautiful paths are ideal for strolling and you will find a beautiful waterfall and gardens that will leave you open-mouthed.
For all these reasons, it is an ideal place to rest or have a picnic. And one of the best plans during the Parisian spring is to reach the temple on the top of a cliff, from where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms in the surroundings.
Enjoy the Eiffel Tower at Night
If you liked the Eiffel Tower by day, you’ll like it even more at night.
The Tower is illuminated by hundreds of spotlights that emit a golden light and are integrated into its structure, highlighting its figure.
But in addition to these lights, the Tower has more than 20,000 6W bulbs that flash every hour on the hour for 5 minutes, creating a fantastic spectacle.
At 11:00 p.m., the last flicker is given and at 11:45 p.m., closing time, all lights are turned off.
In addition, at the top of the tower, there is a lighthouse that today is a symbol but also serves to illuminate the main monuments of the city.
Visit the Most Beautiful Galleries
If you get bad weather and have a few rainy days, Paris also has alternatives for those days, for example, visiting some of the most beautiful shopping arcades in the city.
These are our recommended ones:
- Les Galeries Lafayette: a luxury department store with an impressive glass dome and a wide selection of designer products and top brands worldwide.
- Le Bon Marché: a department store with a wide selection of designer products and luxury brands.
- Le Printemps also stands out for its designer products and luxury brands. And don’t forget its terrace.
- Merci: a design and fashion store with a cafeteria and a roof garden.
Search for the Scenery of Your Favorite Series or Movies
There are so many series and movies that were filmed in Paris that we could do a whole post telling you all the places where they were filmed.
Some of the most famous examples are Amelie, Da Vinci Code, Gossip Girl and the latest Emily in Paris.
One of the directors who love Paris is Woody Allen and he showed that love when he made Midnight in Paris.
In it, you can see the stores of the Rue Galande, the Avenue des Camoens, the restaurant Le Grande Véfour and there are also some shots of the Versailles Gardens.
The Mission Impossible saga passed through here when they made Fallout. There they showed Le Grand Palais, the Church of Saint Gervais and the Austerlitz Viaduct, among many other places.
In addition, the Hôtel de Soubise, which can also be seen in the film Marie Antoinette, appeared.
One of the scenarios that appeared more than once is the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, which appeared in Inception and The Last Tango in Paris.
Another one that appears in 2 films is the Bridge of the Arts, which is famous for the thousands of padlocks. He appears in the final scene of Sex and the City and in The Bourne Identity.
Well, we’ll leave the list there for now, that’s enough excuse to walk around Paris trying to recognize the most famous sceneries.
These were our 30 things to do for free in Paris. The list could be much longer; Paris is a city that you never finish touring and always has something to surprise you. If you have more places to recommend, leave them in the comments.
Plan Your Trip to Paris
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- What to Bring on Your trip to Paris
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- The museums of District 16 that you have to know
- Romantic Plans in Paris in winter
- How to get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris
- Giverny Day-Trip from Paris
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