10 Free Things To Do In Paris
Paris, one of the major European cities, isn’t the ideal destination for the budget traveller. With accommodation costs reaching a massive high, it is hard to stretch your money. This is why I have gathered these top ten things to do in Paris for free. With my help, hopefully your money will go a little further without threatening your enjoyment of this beautiful city.
No 1. Free things to do in Paris: Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
Everyone has heard of the hunchback of Notre Dame. Well did you know you can visit the inspiration for the book and film for free? There is no charge to enter the Cathedral, which is why I have added this as one of the top ten things to do in Paris for free. But if you want to climb its towers then you have to pay.
Covered in gargoyles, this Gothic landmark is wonderful to view even from the outside. There are a few nice viewing points such as the square in front of the cathedral, and from the Seine river.
No 2. Free things to do in Paris: Take in the city at Basilique du Sacré Coeur.
This white marble church gives you incredible views over the city. I highly recommend going there just before sunset so you can see it both in the daylight and at night. It stands on top of a hill in the lively Montmartre district meaning after you have watched the sun set, there are plenty of things to do. You can enter the church for free; however you have to pay to climb the dome and enter the crypt.
My recommendation if travelling on a budget is to watch the sunset at Basilique du Sacré Coeur with a bottle of wine and a pizza. Sit and watch the street performers and chat to other people in the area. It is also a great place to people watch.
No 3. Free things to do in Paris: Feel the love at the Love Wall
Not far from Basilique du Sacré Coeur lies this mushy wall. Paris is known as a romantic city and one of the most expressive places of this is the Love Wall. This mural has “I Love You” written in hundreds of languages.
Designed by Fédéric Baron, who started collecting them in 1992 before artist Claire Kito drew the mural. It’s not far from the gleaming white Sacré-Coeur Basilica, an iconic Parisian attraction that can also be visited for free.
No 4. Free things to do in Paris: View the Eiffel tower at Parc du Champ de Mars
This is the park area around the Eiffel Tower. It is one of the recommended romantic things to do in Paris. Taking the lift to the top of the Eiffel tower is expensive but you can visit the area for free.
The park is kept in amazing condition and it is lovely to sit there with a picnic whilst waiting for the Eiffel tower to be lit up at night.
No 5. Free things to do in Paris: Visit the dead at Cimitière du Père Lachaise
Visiting cemeteries is becoming more and more popular especially seeing as modern day places to lay the dead are just not as beautiful as they once were. Check out Cimitière du Père Lachaise where you will find legendary icons such as Proust and Balzac as well as more modern ones such as Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf.
The highlight has to be Jim Morrison who was laid to rest here. However, his grave is barricaded off to protect him from his more extreme fans who visit him here in their thousands each year.
No 6. Free things to do in Paris: walk the La Promenade Plantée
This walkway is on an old elevated railway line which is lined with trees. It was opened in 1993, prior to New York’s similar High Line project. Hiking the 4.5km trail is a great way to explore Paris as it takes you up and down staircases and along viaducts and crossing streets giving you a bird’s eye view of the area.
It will also lead you across a bridge called Le Viaduc des Arts whose arches are now occupied by galleries.
No 7. Free things to do in Paris: wander around Le Marais
Looking for a nice stroll? – then head over to the Marais district. The Louis XIV trail passes through the Jewish quarter. There is also a wide selection of vintage shops in this area.
No 8. Free things to do in Paris: Relax in Jardin du Luxembourg
Take a stroll through the second largest park in Paris. Built in the 17th century, it contains hundreds of fountains, statues and monuments.
Close to many of the other Paris sights you can walk here and spend a day here, wandering around, people watching and relaxing.
No 9. Free things to do in Paris: Go back in time at Arènes de Lutèce
Overshadowed by buildings, it is surprising to find this semi-circular amphitheatre reminding you of Paris’s Roman past. It could hold 15,000 people to watch the gladiator combats and dates back to the 1st century AD. It is now used as a local park but still has the stone seats and areas where the wild animals were kept.
No 10. Free things to do in Paris: Stroll along Canal St-Martin
Wander along the water’s edge of the St-Martin Canal, where all the cool people hang out. This is a great place to people watch and see the locals at the waterside bars.
Take a picnic and enjoy the tranquility at various points along the canal.
Bonus 11. Make the most of free first Sundays
And here is a bonus free thing to do in Paris. If you get your timing right you can make the most of the free entry to a lot of the museums and monuments in Paris due to the free first Sundays programme. This includes the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.
So there you have it, my top 10 free things to do in the beautiful French city of Paris. Have you got any other recommendations to do? Are you heading to any other cities around the world? Check out my other 1o free things to do guides. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog (It’s Free) to get many other travel tips or inspiring ideas for trips.