Traveling to the French capital and want to keep your expenses at bay? Here are the most fun free things to do in Paris you’ll love.
Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world! From world-class museums and luxury fashion stores to scrumptious restaurants, and coffee shops, literally, everything in Paris is an invitation to spend money!
And while it can be fun going on a shopping spree and visiting all the Parisian monuments, the amount you spend on everything can quickly add up!
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But even with those facts, it doesn’t mean that budget travelers can’t enjoy the city of love! On the contrary! There are so many things to do in Paris for free to truly have a great time without digging deep into your pocket.
Whether you’re all about enjoying the views of Paris from various viewpoints, scouting for the prettiest Parisian streets, to visiting its free museums to fully appreciate the city’s art scene, in this post, I’ll be sharing with you some of the best free things to do in Paris!
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Fun Free Things to do in Paris, France
From museums, churches, and parks, to cemeteries, here is a list of the best places to go in Paris for free.
1. Take photos of the Eiffel tower from various points
The Eiffel tower is the most photographed landmark in Paris and it would be a shame not to photograph it from different angles!
Whether you prefer rooftop shots or close-ups, there is something for you!
Some of my favorite places to take photos of the Eiffel tower include the Trocadero square and the gardens, Arc de Triomphe for a stunning view photo, Pont Alexandre III for a bridge photo, Champs de Mars for an up-close photo, Square Rapp on Avenue Rapp for a street view of the Tower, and of course from the Seine!
2. Appreciate Art By Visiting Paris’s Free Museums
Being a city of art, it comes as no surprise that it has a number of museums (including the famous Louvre museum), but if you choose to visit several of them, the price can add up super fast! Instead, opt for these free museums in Paris!
And just because they’re free doesn’t mean that they’re not worth visiting! Some will give you a glimpse of French art like Petit Palais, some will teach you about the history of Paris like Musée Carnavalet, while others like Maison De Victor Hugo focus on individual art pieces of a painter!
Regardless of the kind of museum you prefer, you’ll find a free museum that suits your taste making this one of the free activities in Paris.
3. Take in the Views of Paris From various Vantage Points
Another one of the fun free things to do in Paris is to enjoy the city’s views from various vantage points!
Places like Arc de Triomphe offer spectacular views but since the idea is not to pay, I recommend heading to free spots like the Galeries Lafayette rooftop for some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, Parc Butte Chaumont, Printemps Haussman terrace, Parc de Belleville, Pont Alexandre III to be able to enjoy stunning views of Paris without paying.
I also have a dedicated article that will show you all the places to go for the best views of Paris here!
4. Watch the Eiffel tower shimmer at night
One of the magical free things to do in Paris at night is to take in the shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower!
Every night at the top of the hour, the Eiffel tower sparkles for 5 minutes creating an awe-inspiring and romantic moment that cannot be found anywhere else!
And if you go at the last hour of the “shimmering” (12 am or 1 am depending on the season), the shimmering will last for 10 minutes!
You can watch it up close from Champs de Mars or go to the banks of the seine to enjoy the glittering as it bounces on the water!
This is not only one of the things to do for free in Paris but also one of the most romantic things to do in Paris with your loved one.
5. Stroll Through Paris’s biggest cemetery
I know strolling in a cemetery may sound weird as it’s considered “sacred” in most parts of the world, but in Paris, it is a tourist attraction!
This cemetery known as Père Lachaise Cemetery is not only famous for being large in size but for also being the final resting place for prominent figures Edith Piaf, Eugène Delacroix, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Marceau, Jacques-Louis David, and so many others.
The cemetery is also a place to showcase Paris’s beloved art scene with sculptures and statues sprinkled through the place and various gravestones that look like they deserve to be in a museum.
Receiving over 3 million visitors every year, this is the most visited necropolis in the world which makes it worthy of being added to your list of unusual places to visit in Paris.
6. Admire the Chic Neighborhood of Montmartre
Montmartre is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris! It has a chic and artistic vibe that brings out positive vibes by just strolling through it!
Besides this, it has a lot of pretty streets and places to admire! On your stroll, be sure to stop at the famous La Maison rose (the pink house) on Rue de l’Abreuvoir, Le Consulat Restaurant, a popular Instagram photo spot in Paris, Moulin Rouge known for its cabaret shows, the famous I love you wall and the famous painter’s square Place du Tertre!
Every turn in Montmartre presents something new to admire! And the best part? All these are free to enjoy!
7. Vist the Sacre Coeur Basilica
While still in Montmatre, stop at the Sacre Coeur which is one of the most famous churches in Paris! Set atop a hill in Montmartre, this basilica is as impressive when seen from the outside as is inside!
The white stones and the domes that soar in the sky make the exterior impressive but a step inside will introduce you to the largest mosaic in France on top of colorful glass stained windows!
The Sacre Coeur complex is quite big so be sure to take your time to admire every part of it from the interior exterior to the gardens.
Psst… Visiting the basilica is free but if you want to climb it for the views, you’ll need to buy a ticket for around 6 Euros.
8. Take the Most misleading Photo in Paris
Just right next to Sacre Coeur is a colorful flat nicknamed “the sinking house“!
While it’s not sinking in reality, one camera trick can make it look like that hence creating a great illusion!
I will not give you a spoiler alert on why it is this way but when you visit, stay on the side of the Sacre Coeur, look down at the house and you’ll make it happen!
9. Vist the famous Churches in Paris
Besides Sacre Coeur, Paris has a number of churches that are usually overlooked yet they’re worth your time.
Start by visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral (even a stroll outside is enough since it’s currently closed for renovation), Eglise Saint-Sulpice, Eglise Saint-Eustache, Madeleine Church, Saint-Etienne Du Mont Church, and many others!
Even though unknown to some, they’re actually worth visiting, and their grandeur architecture, beautiful stained windows, history, and art will impress you!
You can check out my complete list of the famous churches in Paris that you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for places to visit in Paris for free.
10. Take a leisurely stroll along the seine
One of the top free things to do in Paris is to stroll its famous river, the Seine!
Depending on the area you are in, strolling the banks of the Seine not only offers a calming and relaxing experience but you can also be able to catch a glimpse of some of the famous attractions like the Eiffel Tower or some famous bridges.
A stroll is enjoyable any time of the day but it even gets magical at sunset or at night when the landmarks’ lights light up its surface.
11. Catch a Magical Sunset Over Paris
Speaking of sunsets, another thing you can’t miss out on while in Paris is to watch a sunrise. Agreed, some people prefer sunsets on the beach but a sunset over the city of love is equally mesmerizing.
There are a number of places you can go to enjoy the sunset for free and these include the Trocadero, Pont Alexandre III, Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace, Printemps Hausman Rooftop, and many others.
12. Watch a sunrise at the Trocadero
If you’re a morning person, one of the free things to see in Paris is a sunrise at the Trocadero.
There are many places to watch a sunrise in Paris but the Trocadero is the most spectacular one as you get to see the sun rising with the backdrop of the most iconic landmark in the city.
In my opinion, there is no better way to start the day than experiencing the most magical sunrise in Paris.
13. Picnic In front of the Eiffel Tower at Champs De Mars
Paris never ceases to amaze me when it comes to presenting memorable experiences and one of them is picnicking right in front of the iron lady.
While you’ll need a few things like food, snacks, and drinks (which you’ll obviously spend a bit of money on), taking your picnic blanket and laying it on the Champs de Mars for a picnic is free.
If you’re not sure how to go about the planning part, you can check out my post on how to plan a Parisian picnic.
14. Explore the beautiful parks of Paris
Paris is blessed with a number of green spaces on every corner you turn. From the famous ones like the Tuileries garden to the lesser-known ones like Parc Andre Citroen, there are so many beautiful parks in Paris to explore.
All these parks offer something unique from the usual green grass, sculptures that make them look like open-air museums, ponds, lakes, caves, to waterfalls.
And if you visit Paris in spring, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of the cherry blossoms and other blooming flowers but if you visit Paris in the fall, you’ll be mesmerized by the orangey-hued falls colors.
Regardless of the time of the year you visit, these Park are some of the free attractions in Paris worth visiting.
15. Go window shopping at the champs Elysees
Paris is the capital of fashion, at least that’s one of the Parisian nicknames known worldwide and it would be a shame to visit and not go shopping on its major shopping street, the champs Elysees.
But, we both know what shopping in one of the most expensive cities in the world, on one of the most expensive shopping streets in Paris can do to your wallet!
So, how should you enjoy the shopping culture in Paris without falling prey to all the expensive fashion shops and ruining your wallet? The answer is window shopping, my friend!
Luckily for you, window shopping in Paris is ok, so just wear your comfortable shoes, dress nicely, and walk the Champs Elysees, pop in various shops, admire the various items and you never know, maybe one day you’ll actually come back to buy them.
16. Sign up for a free walking tour of Paris
Another way to enjoy Paris for free is by signing up for free walking tours. Like any big city in Europe, Paris has a number of walking tours organized by locals who want to show their city to tourists.
Depending on what you’re interested in, you can either opt for this free Paris walking tour to take you through the major monuments of Paris, this free Emily in Paris walking tour to see the filming locations of the Netflix hit show, this free Montmatre walking tour to get a glimpse of the artistic district, or this Le Marais free walking tour to get a glimpse of Paris’ liveliest neighborhood.
Psst… These free walking tours are free in the sense that they don’t ask for any money to join one (you just have to book ahead), but at the end of the tour, you can tip your tour guide depending on how enjoyable you found the tour to be. Think of it as a tip-based tour and you decide how much to tip.
17. Explore the Covered Passages of Paris
Rainy day in Paris? Don’t waste it by cozying up in your hotel room. Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing especially if you need to unwind or you just want to stay in and watch some cool French TV shows but I have a great alternative for you! Explore the covered passages.
This will not only help you take cover when it rains but these covered passages offer much more than just shelters.
Some have antique shops to pick up an antique souvenir, stores to do some shopping, restaurants, and the design of their roofs and tile work on the floor is worth noting.
Paris has around 21 covered passages but some that are worth visiting include Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement, Passage Colbert still in the 2nd, Passage Jouffroy in the 9th arrondissement, Passage des Panoramas in the 2nd, and many others.
18. See the most beautiful Bridge in Paris
Paris is no doubt a home to a number of bridges but some are more beautiful than others and if you’re going to see just one, let that be Pont Alexandre III.
Located in the 8th Arrondissement, this is the most beautiful bridge in Paris. The bridge has various sculptures, 4 bronze flames “protecting” it, and various lamps all working together to bring out its extravagant style.
The bridge is also in close proximity to other landmarks which you can get a sneak peek on from the bridge including the Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and the Seine.
Final Thoughts on the Best Free Things to do in Paris
Paris is sure one of the most expensive cities to visit but it can be done on a friendly budget if you spend well and opt for free activities instead of paying for every little thing.
My hope is that this post has shown you a number of places to visit in Paris for free to fully enjoy the city like a local without ruining your bank account. After all, the best things in life are free and some do exist in Paris.
NEVER TRAVEL TO PARIS WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when planning a trip to Paris is to forego Travel Insurance!
You might think that it’s expensive, but when you think of how much it will save you when you lose your valuables or even get sick, then you’ll know that it’s NOT that expensive!
Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for
more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more. If you’re considering travel insurance for your trip, check out World Nomads.
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