Are you planning a trip to Paris? There’s a good chance your list of expenses is adding up fast. Between admission to must-see attractions and experiences, indulging in Parisian cuisine, travel between destinations, and your accommodations, you probably aren’t looking at a budget vacation. However, there are absolutely ways to keep your trip to Paris more manageable when money is concerned.
By taking advantage of the numerous free things there are to see and do in the city. While you can take advantage of the occasional free day at many of the city’s big-name museums and attractions, there are plenty of things you can see and do in Paris at any given time for absolutely no cost whatsoever. Not sure what those things are? I’m here to help! Keep reading to learn about some of my favorite ways to have fun in Paris for free:
TOUR THE SACRE COEUR
The Notre Dame is closed indefinitely for repairs from the recent fire, but there are plenty of other stunning and iconic churches and cathedrals to explore within Paris’ city limits. The Sacre Coeur is one of the most well-known and well worth a visit. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the city, it costs absolutely nothing to explore the area, admiring the views below from a seat on the church steps. While you’ll have to pay to enter certain portions of the church, it costs nothing to simply step inside to admire the sculptures and stained glass windows.
CHECK OUT THE ICONIC EIFFEL TOWER
You can’t take a trip to Paris without soaking up the sight of the Eiffel Tower, but you don’t necessarily have to pay for it. Save your money and time – don’t queue up and pay to travel to the observation decks. Instead, admire the tower from the beautiful grassy park below, or take a seat on the steps of the nearby Trocadero at night to watch the tower’s dazzling light show.
Of course, there are plenty of other places you can see the Eiffel Tower from, too. A quick search on Google or Instagram will reveal photos from dozens of great locations and interesting angles. Get creative, explore the city, and see if you can capture the perfect shot for a free way to have a little fun.
EXPLORE THE PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY
For a slightly morbid bit of sightseeing, spend an hour or two strolling through the Pere Lachaise cemetery. It’s served as the resting place for many well-off Parisians for years, and the cemetery has even become the final resting place for famous names like Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Edith Piaf. Visitors can find a free map at the entrance to help navigate the crypts and tombs and find ones that belong to famous celebrities and politicians.
STROLL THROUGH CHARMING MONTPARNASSE
Located near the Sacre Coeur, Montparnasse is one of Paris’ most charming, picturesque neighborhoods. While it’s the perfect place to grab dinner with friends or enjoy a coffee on the terrace at an outdoor cafe, you can have plenty of fun without spending any money at all. Window-shop at the various trinket stores and souvenir vendors, watch sidewalk artists create beautiful paintings in front of your eyes, and appreciate the beauty of the old architecture and cobblestone streets.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE MUSEUMS
While most of Paris’ most famous museums do charge a fee to explore, there are a handful of lesser-ones that do not. These include the Petit Palais, a fine arts museum featuring works by well-known artists like Rembrandt, as well as the Museum of Modern Art, which showcases pieces from names like Picasso and Braque.
If you happen to be in town on the first Sunday of any given month, you can also take advantage of waived entrance fees to more popular spots like the Louvre, Musee Picasso, Musee d’Orsay, and the Musee National du Moyen Ages (Middle Ages Museum). You’ll find longer lines than usual, so figure out which museum you want to explore the most and get there early.
ADMIRE THE BEAUTY OF PARC DES BUTTES-CHAUMONT
An easy way to have fun in Paris for free? Take advantage of the gorgeous parks that the city maintains. One of the most impressive is the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which can be found in the northeastern corner of Paris. This stunning green space features some dramatic elevation gain, and if you’re willing to climb the hill, you can find some of the best views of Paris at your feet. If you’re traveling with kids, you’re in luck – the park is home to a puppet theater, a carousel, and plenty of nature to explore.
EXPERIENCE THE FLOWER MARKET
You can find Paris’ famous flower market on the Ile de la Cite, not too far from the Notre Dame. While you will, of course, need to pay if you’d like to take home any flowers or other souvenirs, it costs absolutely nothing to stroll through the streets, admiring the vibrant displays at this century-old market. The market is quite small, but if you’re in the area, it’s well worth a quick detour.
WINDOW SHOP ALONG THE CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES
One of the most famous streets in the world, the Champs-Élysées is home to flagship stores and upscale shops owned by some of the most well-known name brands in the world. You’ll find bags, clothes, and jewelry from brands ranging from Louis Vuitton and Gucci to Nike and Abercrombie and Fitch – and that’s not all. You can even find stores selling the newest tech gadgets (like the Apple store) and cars (like Mercedes).
Even if you have no intention of shopping there, it’s definitely worth the experience of strolling down the avenue. And who knows – keep your eyes peeled, and you may just spot a celebrity enjoying some of Paris’ most prime shopping.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy all that Paris has to offer without spending a ton of cash. Add a few of these budget-friendly activities to your itinerary and take advantage of some of the best attractions and experiences you can find in the City of Lights while you’re at it!