Free Things to do in Paris
Today I am going to share with you the best free things to do in Paris this year!
Traveling Paris on a budget is definitely possible, and there is so many cheap things to do in Paris as well as super fun free things to do in Paris this year!
In this blog post, I am going to share with you my favorite free things to do in Paris!
Let’s get started!
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Paris Street Art Tour
If you’re looking to have fun and save money at the same time then one of the best free things to do in Paris is marvel at amazing street art.
After all, Paris has many amazing street art murals for you to visit – amazing pieces done by international artists like Banksy, Invader, Kashink, Seth, and more.
So, feel free to do a self-guided tour of local street art hot spots like Canal Saint-Denis, the Centre Pompidou, Montmarte, and Vitry-sur-Seine, Belleville.
However, the Oberkampf Wall at 107 rue Oberkampf is a spot that you cannot miss if you are a true street art enthusiast.
And if you have a little extra money to spare, you can also try booking a guided tour with an fantastic tour groups like Street Art Tours Paris.
After all, wonderful, expert-led, 2-hour street art tours with this company start at just €22.00 per person and will introduce you to many secret spots and some of the most amazing hidden gems in Paris.
Recommended by Kelly, Girl with the Passport
Once you have seen the major sites in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe and now feel like exploring Paris more like a local, then get in touch with Paris Greeters.
Paris Greeters are local guides keen to show you their part of the city – it’s a great way to discover Paris without the hoards of tourists, and it’s completely free.
To book your guide, you simply feel a form online where you can specify your interests – a walk in nature, a little history, new neighbourhoods – the choice is yours.
Plus the language that you would prefer your walk to be conducted in.
With my appointed local guide Christoph, I discovered new districts in Paris, the gorgeous Buttes-Chaumont Park, canals, city beaches, gothic churches, fabulous street art, and even the house where Edith Piaf was born.
A fun, informative day that I would recommend for all visitors to Paris.
Recommended by Sarah, lifepart2andbeyond.com
Watching the Sunset over the River Seine
One of the best free things to do in Paris is to stroll along the famous River Seine, and there’s no better time than in the early evening, as the sun starts to set.
There are many great places to watch the sunset in Paris, including the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, but the atmosphere by the River Seine is the best.
All along the riverfront, you’ll see groups of Parisians meetup after work to relax by the water.
Do as the locals do and bring a bottle of wine and a baguette or snacks and enjoy a picnic with your feet dangling over the edge as you watch the sun go down.
The best place to watch the sunset over the River Seine is on the North side, between La Louvre and the Jardins du Trocadéro.
Along this section you will have views of the Eiffel Tower. Sitting in front of The Louvre and the Jardins du Tuileries, you will also see the impressive Musee d’Orsay, a former railway which is now an art gallery, on the other side of the river.
As you get closer to the Jardins du Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower will come into full view.
Make sure that you stick around here until it gets dark. When night falls, the Eiffel Tower is illuminated with twinkling lights.
It is quite special to see the sparkling tower reflecting in the river and an absolute must-see when visiting Paris.
Recommended by Helen, Curious Goose
Tip for Free Museum and Monument Visits
Visiting tourist attractions in Paris can get expensive!
However, if you are under 26-years-old from one of the 27 European Union countries and/ or teachers working in public primary and secondary schools in France, you will have access to all national museums and monuments in France for free.
This includes people who have the right-to-live in France, including temporary visas.
For example, when I was an English language assistant under the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) program, I had a long-stay visa and was able to visit a number of museums and monuments for free, as long as I showed valid ID.
Many of Paris’ famous museums are eligible including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou.
Please note that in most cases, it is only the permanent collection that it is free and you may have to pay to visit the temporary exhibitions.
In addition, some monuments are also included in this list such as the Arc de Triomphe.
In fact, I visited a few times for free, as I took my friends and family there when they visited me in Paris. You can see the full list here.
Recommended by Charmaine, The Canadian Wanderer
Some of the best things in life are free – and this is true in Paris as well! One of the best things to do in Paris is to visit the gorgeous Luxembourg Gardens.
The Luxembourg Gardens are centrally located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
The gardens are easily reachable via several metro stations, the closest of which is the Odéon station.
The gardens are the grounds of the Luxembourg Palace, current home to the French Senate.
The Luxembourg Gardens date from the 17th century and feature expansive lush lawns, colorful blooming plants, arbors, classical statuary, and lovely water features.
You’ll often find families with small children sailing miniature boats on the Grand Bassin.
The Luxembourg Gardens are the neighborhood park for Parisians of all ages. Children will enjoy the nature playground, carrousel, and marionette performances.
Join the locals in a game of petanque or just stroll along the many walking paths enjoying the fresh air.
Tip: Pick up a baguette and some cheese at a local market and enjoy a pique-nique in the gardens! You may get lucky enough to hear a musical performance to entertain you whilst you dine.
Recommended by Lisa, Waves and Cobblestones
Paris Covered Passages
One of my favorite free things to do in Paris is to explore the covered passages. Streets of Paris in the 1800s were muddy, dark, and even unsafe.
But the wealthy (and aspiring) still needed to shop, and to see and be seen. What to do? Passages couverts, Paris covered passages, were built in unobtrusive pathways between buildings.
These arcades were covered iron and glass to allow plenty of natural light for shops, restaurants, and even working artisan.
By the 1850s there were over 150 passages throughout the city! The arrival of the department store largely ended the age of the covered passage, but a small number still exist.
Now beautifully restored and declared historic landmarks, you can explore. Each has its own flavor, but most contain beautiful architecture, shops, and restaurants again.
The Grand Boulevards passages make it very easy to explore three restored passages in one stroll.
Grand Boulevards Metro station is only 50 meters east of the intersection Passages des Panoramas and Passage Jouffroy on Boulevard Montmartre.
Once you explore these, cross rue de la Grange-Batelière at the north end of Jouffroy and enter the quieter Passage Verdeau.
As a bonus, just to the west of Panoramas is Passage des Princes. Learn more about these and other passages in Megan’s guide to the Paris covered passages.
Recommended by Megan, wandertoes.com
Visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery
One of the best free things to do in Paris is visiting the Père Lachaise cemetery. The Père Lachaise cemetery is located in Ménilmontant, the 20th arrondissement of Paris.
It is easily reached by taking metro line two and you can get off at metro stop Philippe Auguste to enter through the main entrance or stop at the metro stop Pére Lachaise to enter through an entrance at the side of the cemetery.
The first reason why you should visit Pére Lachaise is that it’s beautiful, with carefully ornamented tombs, monuments, and chapels and large green trees dotting the pathways through the cemetery.
The second reason is, that many famous artists, writers, and musicians are buried here.
The most famous ones are Jim Morrison from the Doors who died at age 27, Edith Piaff, Oscar Wilde, and Frédéric Chopin.
You can easily walk to their graves following the directions in Google Maps.
Recommended by Annelies, Travelers & Dreamers
The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular attractions to visit during a trip to Paris.
Although it once housed royals, the palace is now a museum that holds centuries of French art and history.
Located about 30 minutes by train from the city, the palace and its vast gardens can’t be missed.
Tickets to enter the palace are normally €18; however, there are a couple of ways to visit the palace for free.
People under 18 and EU residents under 26, are eligible for free admission.
To redeem this offer, you need to book a free admission ticket online, and present it when you arrive.
If you don’t meet the qualifications above, there are still plenty of ways to visit the Palace of Versailles for free.
For example, from December to March, the first Sunday of every month the palace is free to enter for everyone.
Again, you will need to book a free admission ticket online before visiting.
As for the gardens, they are free year round except days that there is a musical fountain show or musical gardens in session.
Recommended by Timpani, Like the Drum
Not just of Paris but one of the most culturally vibrant destination in France, the bustling neighborhood of Montmartre should be on every traveller’s itinerary.
Found in the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre’s charm lies in its artist foundations.
It was once a rural area outside the Paris metropolitan, attracting artists seeking cheap accommodation and lots of inspiration.
It is a strange feeling to walk in the steps of the modern masters such as Renoir, Picasso and Van Gogh strolled these very streets and painted in this neighborhood.
There’s not a fixed itinerary to follow here, roam around in the narrow cobblestone streets and you will encounter one interesting spot after another.
Some quick points worth stopping by include Le Clos Montmartre – a working winery within Paris, Montmartre Cemetery – resting place of numerous French painters, and the few surviving windmills.
The historic Place du Tertre is the perfect place to get a quick portait done or maybe even an amusing caricature.
Or pick one of those beautiful watercolors paintings depicting the neighborhood.
Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, a majestic church, sits on the highest point in the neighborhood.
The sloping grounds are a popular place to hang out in the evening. From there, take the steps down to Boulevard de Clichy an infamous nightspot filled with bars, and adult entertainment.
Stop by the Moulin Rouge which makes for a great photo background with its glittering neon lights.
Getting here is easy, thanks to the Paris metro, take either line 2 (Anvers station) or 12 (Abbesses).
Recommended by Vidyut, triplyzer.com
And that’s it for today! These were the best free things to do in Paris!