Top 10 Things to Do in Paris for Free
Paris is considered one of the most famous cities in the world and is among the top European destinations. The French capital is renowned for many things – the iconic Eiffel Tower, the historic Arc de Triomphe, and the stunning art collection at The Louvre, to name a few.
But with this worldwide fame comes a hefty price tag. With millions of travelers entering the city every year, Paris has been ranked one of the most expensive cities in the world for tourists. From the entrance fees and accommodation to the food and entertainment, there’s no denying that you will spend some serious amount of money during a trip to the City of Lights.
However, while you cannot avoid splurging in some of the city’s highlights and VIP experiences, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied without having to pay a single cent. To stretch your budget, check out the following free things to do in Paris.
- Join a free walking tour of Paris.
Although there are many guided tours offered by tour companies, there are also a lot of free walking tours for those who are tight on budget. One of the most popular free tours is the Sandeman’s New Europe Paris walking tour, which has been operating since 2004. Their Paris tour lasts about 3 hours and covers most of the city’s highlights. For your convenience while you see the sights, store your items at a Paris luggage storage spot before the tour.
- Enjoy the green spaces all over the city.
Paris has no shortage of green spaces and one of the best spots in the city to enjoy the outdoors and engage in activities is the Le Jardin du Luxembourg. A favorite hangout spot among locals and tourists alike, this garden has plenty of amenities that can be used by all guests. Another green space worth visiting in the heart of the city is Jardin du Tuileries, where you can unwind by the lake or stroll around. Other noteworthy spots include the Jardin de Trocadero and the Parc du Champ de Mars, which are both excellent viewing points for the Eiffel Tower.
- Visit the stunning churches in the city.
Paris is filled with opulent and historic churches and the best part is that entrance to all of them is free of charge! One of the churches that you shouldn’t miss is the Notre Dame Cathedral, a long-standing symbol of Paris. Sadly, the 2019 fire has closed the church temporarily, but to see it now is still an unforgettable event. Aside from the Notre Dame, other prominent churches to visit include the Sacre Couer Basilica, Sainte-Chappelle, the Royal Necropolis, and St. Denis Basilica.
- Take advantage of the free museums.
The French capital is rich in culture and it is evident in the number of world-class museums found in the city. The French government believes that every person deserves to be exposed to the arts, humanities, and sciences, which is why a number of Paris museums are free of admission all year long, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Le Petit Palais and Musée Carnavalet. Entrance to museums such as the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are free every first Sunday of the month.
- Watch the famous light show at the Eiffel Tower.
Paris is dubbed La Ville Lumière (City of Lights) and you’ll understand when you explore the city at night. Starting at 10 PM, a light show is displayed on the Eiffel Tower every hour on the hour until 1 AM. Arrive just before the hour starts so you watch the full spectacle, which involves nearly 20,000 individual bulbs and lasts about 10 minutes.
- Explore the city’s trendy neighborhoods.
The capital city of France is highly regarded as one of the trendiest cities in the world. This can be largely attributed to the diverse and eclectic neighborhoods that make up the city. One of Paris’ most famous areas is Montmartre, which is perched on top of the hill. The charming district features art, dining, nature, and history, making it the perfect stop when in Paris. Other hip neighborhoods to visit include the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Le Marais.
- Attend a free fashion show.
Paris is known for being a fashion-forward city. It is home to some of the world’s most prominent fashion designers as well as the venue of major fashion events. While a ticket to Paris Fashion Week is unattainable for most, you can experience what it’s like to be front row in a fashion at Galeries Lafayette.
Every Friday at 3 PM, the historic department store hosts a free 30-minute fashion show held on the 7th floor of the building. These shows involve actual professional models who showcase some of the latest fashion items sold at the store. You can walk in or book a ticket in advance to ensure seats.
- Go window shopping
Shopping in Paris can cost an arm and leg, but window shopping is totally free! Known as lèche-vitrines (window licking in English), window shopping is an art form in Paris and serves as a pastime for both Parisians and tourists. One of the best areas to do some window shopping is at the Champs-Élysées, which is famous for its collection of luxury stores and designer brands. You can even have a unique window shopping experience at the Rue Mouffetard, where you will find bakeries, chocolate shops, and other food stalls that offer free samples.
- Wander around Paris’ cemeteries.
While it may seem weird to explore the resting place of dead people, Paris actually has a host of cemeteries worth visiting. Perhaps its most popular one is Père Lachaise, where the likes of Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Sandra Bernhardt are buried. Another well-known cemetery worth checking out is the Cimitière Di Montparnasse, where you can surprisingly have a quiet stroll while visiting the graves of figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett.
- Get entertained at the Place de la Concorde.
One of the most important public squares in Paris, the Place de la Concorde is an excellent choice for those who want to keep occupied without spending a dime. The square is a great place to sit back, people watch and enjoy various forms of free entertainment, such as musicians and street dancers.