20 Free Things To Do In Paris

Paris is one of the cities that sits firmly at the top of many a bucket list. Sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Sacre Couer made it famous, and the bohemian romanticism as told in the movies made it into an icon.  Visitors accept that an visit to Paris is usually on the expensive side – but I’m here to show you that it doesn’t have to be! Keep reading for my guide to the Top 20 FREE Things to do in Paris – because, well, who doesn’t want a little FREE in one of the most expensive cities in the world?!

Free Things To Do in Paris

20 Free Things To Do in Paris

Paris may be one of the most expensive cities in the world – and if you only want to do the highlights like going up the Eiffel Tower, Cruise the Seine or taking in a show at the Moulin Rouge ( to name a few!), activities can easily add up. Why not add a few of these 20 Free Things To Do in Paris into your itinerary and give your wallet a break on your next visit to the City of Light!

RELATED: Traveling with only Hand Luggage? Check out our Carry On Packing Guide to make sure you have everything you need for your trip!

Cathedral de Notre Dame

Free Things To Do in Paris - Paris sightseeing

The Cathedral de Notre Dame is one of Paris’ most iconic sights, and one of the most famous gothic churches in Europe. A simply beautiful building, both inside and out, it’s sculptures and stained glass are a sight to behold. The main areas of the church are free to enter between 7.30am-7.30pm in winter, and 7am-9pm in summer, although there is a small fee if you would like to climb the belfry towers or enter the crypt.

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Trocadéro Square

Paris attractions - Trocadero Square

Head to Trocadéro Square for one of the most photographed views of the Eiffel Tower. Located on the on the opposite side of the Seine to the Tower in Paris’ 16th Arrondissement, the raised platform at the end of the gardens makes for the perfect foreground to you Eiffel Tower shot.

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Parc du Champ de Mar

What to do in Paris - Parc du Champ de Mar

Still looking for the perfect Eiffel Tower shot? Head to the other side of the tower into the Parc du Champ de Mar. Providing a different angle, you’ll find scores of people lined up at ‘the perfect spot’ to capture the ultimate Eiffel Tower Selfie. This is also a great place to base yourself for a picnic, with sunrise or sunset adding a little something extra. However, don’t plan on a pouring a glass of wine here. Public drinking is not permitted, and the police will ask you to put it away (or worse, pour it out!) But still one of the great Free Things To Do in Paris!

RELATED: WANT TO EXPLORE MORE OF EUROPE? READ ABOUT MY 25 DAY TOUR OF EUROPE BY TRAIN FOR INSPIRATION!

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Basilica du Sacré-Coeur

Places to visit in Paris & Free things to do Paris - Basilica du Sacré-Coeur

The Basilica is another of Paris’ top sights, located at the top of the 180m high hill in Monmarte. Entry to the ground floor is free from 6am to 10pm every day, however a small fee will need to be paid if you want to climb the 300 steps to the top of the dome. The views from outside the church spreads across Paris, and as dusk descends, the street performers entertain the crowds who are waiting to watch the sun set over the Paris.  This is my favorite spot in Paris and the very first place I saw the lights of the Eiffel Tower Sparkle ↓

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Watch the lights of the Eiffel Tower Sparkle

Free Things To Do in Paris France - Eiffel Tower Sparkle

My camera back in 2010 wasn’t all that great.. but you get the general idea, right?!

One of the prettiest things – and one of my favorite free things to do in Paris – was watching the lights of the Eiffel Tower Sparkle. This is one thing that is totally free – and happens every night, on the hour, every hour. As the Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris – you’re not likely to miss this event, but I’d recommend grabbing a seat on the steps at the Sacré-Coeur, or in the Parc du Champ de Mar for the best views!

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Wander Montmartre

Paris Things To Do & Paris sightseeing - Wander Montmartre

Before or after a visit to the Sacré-Coeur, wander the bohemian streets of Montmartre. Once the home of the creatives and artists, this area of Paris has retained it’s unique village feel – although this can sometimes get lost under the ‘touristy’ side of overpriced creperies and gift shops. Although bargains are to be had – keep an eye out for the Plat du Jour menus that most restaurants offer which offers a set meal at a discount price, one of the most expensive attractions can be found at the base of the hill: The Moulin Rouge. A truly Parisian experience – if your budget isn’t too strict, watching the show here is extremely enjoyable and will be something you never forget!

RELATED: Find out 14 Paris Do’s and Don’ts to make sure your trip goes smoothly!

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Printemps Rooftop Cafe

Free Things To Do in Paris - Printemps Rooftop Cafe (Paris Attractions)

Known as one of Paris’ best kept secrets (ssh, don’t tell anyone!), the Printemps Rooftop Cafe and Terrace provides you with incredible 360 degree views of Paris. Take the elevator  – and then the escalator – to the top floor of the Printemps Department Store the Deli-Cieux serves cafe food and stunning views. Be prepared to feel like you a right in the heart of the city.

RELATED: After you have admired the architecture from above, check out these incredible covered passages scattered throughout Paris. p.s. they’re FREE too!

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Luxembourg Gardens

What to do in Paris - Places to visit in Paris France - Luxembourg Gardens

Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and located on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the gardens were created upon the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612 and are a combination of French and English styles. Within the grounds there is also an orchard with a variety of old and forgotten apples, an apiary for you to learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses with a collection of breathtaking orchids and a rose garden. Entrance is free and the gardens are open between 7.30am and 8.15am and close between 4.30pm and 9.30pm dependent on the season.

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Window Shopping along the Champs-Élysées

Free Paris Things To Do - Paris tourist attracations - The Champs-Élysées

1.9km long and 70m wide, the Champs-Élysées stretches between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Popular with tourists and locals alike, it is lined with restaurants and luxury boutiques and is where the celebrities shop and dine on their visits. It is also the setting each year for major events such as the Bastille Day military parade, the arrival of the Tour de France and the Christmas lights. Taking a walk here is definitely one of the top free things to do in Paris.

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Arc de Triomphe

What to do in Paris - Arc de Triomphe

Located in the center of a roundabout at the top of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Below the structure lies the tomb of the unknown soldier from WW1.
To look at the outside is free, but if you would like to enter, the cost is a nominal €12, and it is free for those who are under 26 and from the EEC (European Economic Community)

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Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Paris Guide - What to do in Paris - Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

On the outskirts of Paris in the 19th arrondissement, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a 24.7 hectare park – which is the 5th largest green space in Paris. Its most facours feature is the Temple de la Sibylle, inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, and is perched at the top of a cliff fifty meters above the waters of the artificial lake. If you’re looking for a leafy escape from the hustle and bustle, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is well worth a visit.

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Street Art around Canal St Martin

Free Things To Do in Paris - Paris Guide - Street Art around Canal St Martin

Originally built as a water supply, Canal St Martin in Paris’ 11th arrondissement is now the where all the cool kids hang out. Literally. Following the gentrification of the area, the hipsters moved in – it’s where the creatives went when Montmartre became too expensive. You’ll find walls adored with street art, a perfect accompaniment to the funky restaurants and bars that are now scattered all over the area.

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Gallery Lafayette + Observation Deck

Paris Tourist Attrcations - Free Things To Do in Paris - Fashion show at Gallery Lafayette + Observation Deck

The Galleries Lafayette are one of the most impressive building in Paris – and even if you are on a budget with no intention of doing any shopping, the architecture alone is worth a visit. The Gallery also offer FREE 30 minute fashion show every Friday (by reservation) and they also boast a rooftop terrace – La Terrace – accessible from 9.30am -7.30pm every day. Another great spot for panoramic views over Paris.

RELATED: If you feel like you have thoroughly explored the city, why not check out all the day trips that you can take from Paris?

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Walk the Banks of the Seine

Paris points of interest - Free Things To Do in Paris - Walk the Banks of the Seine

Designated a UNESCO heritage site – and for good reason – the banks of the Seine are popular with tourists and locals alike. Perfect for long romantic walks, or a place to sit to watch the world go by. This free attraction remains a crowd favorite and a Parisian staple. And if you take a wander along the banks at night, you also get to see 33 of the 37  bridges that cross the Seine, illuminated. The lights highlight and emphasis their beauty against the night sky – and are the perfect subject for budding low light and night time photographers.

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Free Walking Tours

Free Things To Do in Paris France - Free Walking Tours

Like most capital cities in Europe, Paris has a variety of Free Walking Tours available. The guides are often volunteers with a passion for their city and only ask for donations/tips at the end of tour instead of you paying a fee. You can chose to focus on one area, take a highlights tour or even a night time tour, depending on your interests. Whatever tour you are looking for, please check if you need to book in advance or if it possible to arrive at a meeting point and join in – these free walks can get super busy in peak tourist times!

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Climitiere du Montparnasse

Paris Places to visit - Climitiere du Montparnasse

The 2nd largest cemetery in Paris is a very peaceful spot adorned with over 750 trees and hosts more than 40,000 graves. Many Parisian scholars and intellectuals are buried here alongside  a wealth of funeral art objects and adornments. The largest cemetery in Paris – Pere Lachaise Cemetery – is a slightly darker and less whimsical place of rest, with many more full sized crypts which block some of the light. Also free to enter, it counts Edith Pilaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde amongst it’s famous residents.

RELATED: Thinking of a Day Trip from London to Paris? Click to find out all about taking the Eurostar!

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Rue Mouffetard

Free Things To Do in Paris - Where to go in Paris - Rue Mouffetard

Rue Mouffetard is THE Parisian ‘shopping street’. A combination of produce, fish, cheese, pastries, wine and meat shops alongside trendy boutiques making it a street where you can buy just about anything! Add in street artists and performers (particularly on the weekends) and the lively locals dancing in the street and you become part of a Paris institution. And if you’re lucky, the vendors will be feeling generous during your visit and have been known to offer free samples of the incredible goods. What could be better that having some freshly melted raclette on rustic bread handed to you as you peruse the stalls and shops?!

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Jardindes Tuileries

Best places to visit in Paris - Jardindes Tuileries

Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, it was originally the palace garden before being opened to the public in 1667. Stretching over 22.4 hectares and boasting over 200 sculptures, it is a place where Parisians meet, walk and relax.

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Le Marais

Paris places to go and Paris places to visit - Le Marais

The Marais  is now one of Paris’ main localities for art galleries and has become a fashionable district, home to many trendy restaurants, fashion houses, and hip galleries. It’s diversity testament to aristocracy who originally claimed the area and the different communities (Jewish, Chinese and most recently, the LGBTQ community) it has embraced since the French Revolution.

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Free Museums

There are around 130 museums in Paris – and you’ll be pleased to know that quite a few of them are free to enter! The Paris Museum of Modern Art is one of those – open from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday (although they do charge entry to some visiting collections – but the main body of the museum is still free). Another museum in Paris that is free is the Galerie Lumière des Roses – and as the opposite of a traditional museum – the photos lining its walls are credited to nobody: nobody knows who took them, when, or where and the big name artists are completely ignored there.

Related: Click to find out about more Free Museums in Paris

*Extra* Museums That Are Sometimes Free

Louvre

Free Things To Do in Paris France - Paris Things To Do - Louvre Museum

That’s right, you can visit one of the most famous museums in the world completely for free – IF you are in the city on the first Sunday of the month between October and March. You can also get in free (year round) if you are under 18 years of age, or are a resident of the European Economic Community (EEC) aged between the ages of 19-25. And Every Friday from 6 p.m. admission to the museum is free for under-26s of all nationalities on presentation of valid ID.

Musee d’Orsay

Paris tourist attractions and Paris points of interest - Musee d'Orsay

Anyone who uses Instagram will have seen one of the most photographed clocks in Europe located at the Musee D’Orsay (above, if you haven’t guessed) – and if you haven’t seen it, which rock have you been hiding under?! Similar to the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay is FREE to enter on the first Sunday of each month (year round); It is also free to enter for Under 18s and those aged 19-25 who are members of the EEC.

If these 20 Free things to do in Paris are not enough for you – check out these other Fun Things To Do in Paris – I can guarantee you’ll never have thought of some of them! And if you’re headed South  check out these Things To Do in Nice in summer – or the best ski resorts in France in winter!

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And there you have it – 20 Free Things To Do in Paris! I hope this guide can help you plan a budget friendly trip to the City of Light – and if you find another other FREE things to see or do in Paris that you think should be included – just let me know and I can add them to this list!

Oh, and if you liked this article, please share, tweet or pin! Share the love – I’d really appreciate it, and if you like pretty pins, click the P in the share bar for a few extra designs that are hidden within this post!

Free Things To Do in Paris   Free Things To Do In Paris

Free Things To Do in Paris

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36 thoughts on “20 Free Things To Do In Paris

  1. LaiAriel R. Samangka says:

    These are just a perfect list of things to do in Paris! Paris, has long been sleeping on my bucket list and I can’t wait to visit it. You have just given me a chance to take a look of what Paris truly is. Thank you so much for sharing all these informative and great list of things to do in Paris. I truly, appreciate it.

  2. Claire says:

    Even the most expensive places still have free stuff to do! It’s a shame that all the cheese and wine isn’t free though, although probably saved me from drinking and eating myself into oblivion! Just to gaze at the Eiffel Tower is enough for anyone I think 🙂

  3. Megan Jerrard says:

    So many incredible things to do in Paris! We really enjoyed ice skating inside the Eiffel Tower – which while you have to pay for admission to the tower itself, the iceskating was free once we got in there 🙂

  4. Shane Prather says:

    Paris is such a beautiful city but easy to spend a pretty penny in. Thank you for the comprehensive run down on budget friendly options!

  5. Vibeke Johannessen says:

    I love this post. So handy to know this in such an expensive city. Paris is the best. Went there some years ago, and didn’t even got to do all these things :/ have to go back. Gonna save this and remember it till I go back 😀

  6. Sally E says:

    This is such a handy post! I certainly wish I had it when I went to Paris – I was a student and I felt like it was not a budget friendly city. Apparently I was just going to the wrong places! Definitely saving this for when I go back.

  7. Aparna says:

    Love this list, lots of great diverse suggestions here! The only time I was in Paris it was cold and rainy …and miserable! Would love to go back and do a few more of these things!

  8. Reshma Narasing says:

    This is such a comprehensive post about the free things that can be done in Paris. Didn’t know that some of the museums can be accessible for free and just loved your perfects shots!

  9. Stella says:

    It’s great to have a list of so many free things to do in Paris. It can be a very expensive city. The Jardin du Luxembourg is my favorite free thing always. I like the sound of the Galerie Lumière des Roses though!

    • Vicki says:

      It is wonderful – but you’re right, give it a couple years and the Brits won’t qualify for the EEC discounts – but they can still get in free on the first Sunday of the month 🙂

  10. LaTessa says:

    This is a most excellent list! I did most of these when I visited Paris last year and I couldn’t agree with you more on the Montmartre area! I can’t wait to get back for a second visit.

  11. danik says:

    Great post, I used to live here and would totally agree with all this. Louvre must be done early in the day before the queues build up. No mention of a Roman Arena? Thats free 😛

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Tamara – and the Parc du Champ de Mar (the grassy bits around the Eiffel Tower) is a great place to hang out and watch the world go by!

  12. Rachael says:

    Some of the best things in life are free, even if you are visiting a city that can be expensive. Sometime it pays to do a little research ahead of time. I have done some of the things on your list and had a great time!

  13. Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld says:

    Yep, the city of love doesn’t need to cost a fortune! Actually, when I was there, I spent so little that some people didn’t believe that it is possible. However, I would also want to add something to the list. If you are a European citizen under the age of 26 you can see and do plenty of things in Paris without spending anything. You just need to show your ID or passport as a proof.

  14. Barb says:

    This is such a great list for Paris. My favorite place in Paris is the Sacré-Coeur. I always go there every time I am in PAris. the street art looks cool too. I will have to check it out.

  15. Katie says:

    Firstly, I love the layout of this post! so helpful! 🙂

    We love Paris and finding the free things to do is amazing because it can be such a pricey city! We loved Notre Dam and the museums but will check out Jardindes Tuileries next time! thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Sarah Kim says:

    I really enjoyed going to Trocadéro Square and people watching. It’s a great spot to have a picnic too. I wish I had known about Rue Mouffetard when I went! I would’ve loved to shop there. Will keep an eye out for it next time.

  17. Debra Schroeder says:

    You had me at free. This is an awesome list! I missed out on so many of these things when I was there in June. I feel like I really didn’t see anything despite being there for two days. I’ll just have to go back.

  18. Ali May says:

    Ah Paris. My favourite city to visit ever! All of those free attractions are amazing experiences – I think I have done them all, some many times. Great selection. it’s so easy to feel like you’re walking through a post card when enjoying those free activities in this city.

  19. Swati & Sam says:

    So many free things to do in such a costly city. This is a great listicle. I wish the at-least the museums were free always. Thats one good thing about London, majority of the museums are free.

  20. Miranda says:

    Thanks for sharing this, there’s so much to visit in Paris I have no idea about, but it all sounds amazing. Luxembourg Gardens looks so pretty, I’d love to visit!

  21. noel says:

    Great list Vicki, I have done a few of these, but you included some cool things for me to do when I go back to visiting Paris and for free!

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