Paris is often thought of as one of the most expensive cities in the world for tourists. While it is very easy to part with a lot of money in the City of Lights, it’s also not necessary. There are endless ways to save money in Paris, and one of them is by filling your days with sights and activities that are free. Paris has a lot of free things to do if you know where to look.
Adding free activities to your itinerary won’t mean you’re missing out on what Paris has to offer. In fact, some of the best things that the French capital has to offer won’t cost you a thing. Check them out below.
10 Learn Something At Collège De France
Spending an afternoon at a university lecture might not sound like your idea of a fun way to spend a vacation. But if you’re looking for something to do in Paris that’s free, the free lectures that are held at the Collège de France are quite interesting.
Trip Savvy explains that they hold free lectures throughout the year on a variety of topics, ranging from mathematics to sociology. The best part about it is you don’t have to speak French to enjoy the lectures. Many of them are held in English!
9 Attend A Fashion Show
Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so it’s a good idea to honor this in some way during your trip. The only downside is attending a show during fashion week just isn’t a reality for the everyday person. But you can attend a free fashion show in the department store known as Galeries Lafayette.
The free fashion shows at the store take place on Fridays at 3 p.m. Just make sure that you reserve your place online well in advance, as these do tend to fill up quite quickly.
8 Pay Your Respects At Cimetière Du Montparnasse
Strolling through a cemetery doesn’t sound like a very exciting way to spend an afternoon in Paris. It may even sound a bit morbid to you! But the Cimitière Di Montparnasse is no ordinary cemetery. Walking here is peaceful and a great way to slow things down when you’re in the middle of an overwhelming Paris vacation.
Not only is the cemetery scenic and free to enter, but it also serves as the final resting place of some notable figures. According to Lonely Planet, you will find the graves of Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, and Jean-Paul Sartre inside the cemetery.
7 Stroll Along The Champs-Élysées
The Champs-Élysées is the most iconic street in Paris. Luckily, it’s totally free to enjoy. Though the street has changed quite a bit over the years, now sporting retail chains like H&M and Nike that have diminished its quintessential French look, it is still a must for any first-time visitor to Paris. It’s just one of those Parisian rites of passage!
You could end up spending quite a lot of money on the Champs-Élysées since there are shops and eateries everywhere you look. But it costs nothing to simply walk down and enjoy the atmosphere.
6 Get Some Snaps Of The Arc De Triomphe
Another Parisian rite of passage for any tourist? The Arc De Triomphe, located at the top of the Champs-Élysées. As famous and iconic as this landmark is, it won’t cost you a thing to see from afar. You’ll find it in the middle of a roundabout that will give you major anxiety to even attempt crossing as a pedestrian.
If you want to get closer to the archway, which pays tribute to the generals from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of France, it’s much easier to use the underground passage.
5 Spend The Afternoon In A Museum
Paris is full of museums that showcase everything from historical artifacts to art. While some of these will cost a pretty penny to enter, others are completely free. A great way to spend the afternoon in Paris is to check out a free museum and soak up a little culture.
The free museums in the city include the Museum of Paris History, the Paris Fine Arts Museum, and the Paris Modern Art Museum. More famous museums are sometimes free on particular days, so it pays to do your research. The Louvre, for example, is free the first Sunday of the month.
4 Check Out The Steepest Park In Paris
For something truly unique and different that isn’t overrun by tourists in Paris, you should pay a visit to Parc des Buttes Chaumont. This is the steepest park in the city and is like an oasis from a fairytale. Strikingly different from the busy roads of Paris, the park is home to lots of birds and a waterfall that will fill you with calmness.
A word of warning: if you’re going to visit Parc des Buttes Chaumont, you should definitely warm up your muscles first. It won’t cost you any money, but it will cost you some pain in your legs, given that the terrain so steep!
3 Experience Rue Mouffetard
Shopping in Paris can cost you a fortune. But window shopping in Paris is entirely free. If you’re interested in window shopping in an area that does feel like classic Paris, check out Rue Mouffetard. It is everything you imagine Paris to be: cobblestoned streets, chocolate shops, bakeries selling baguettes, and art galleries.
On Saturdays, you’ll find a food market here. While it does cost money to buy fresh produce, many of the vendors are willing to give out free samples. You can get quite full having a free sample here and there as you stroll down the street.
2 Visit Basilique Du Sacré-Coeur
The Notre Dame Cathedral was on the top of the list of free things to do in Paris for many years. But now that parts of the cathedral are closed off to the public following the devastating fire of April 2019, visitors will have to find other churches to visit in Paris. Luckily, there is an abundance of them.
Be sure to check out the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, which is a white-marble church in the Montmartre district. It is free to enter the basilica, though you will have to pay a small fee to climb up the dome of the church or visit the crypt.
1 Look At The Eiffel Tower
As clichéd as it is, you can’t visit Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. Luckily, this iconic landmark doesn’t cost a thing to view. There are various points nearby where you’ll be able to get a good view and most of them are totally free. Try looking from the nearby Pont de la Concorde bridge or even the base of the tower.
It will cost you money and time to climb to the top of the tower, but that’s not necessary unless you really want to do it. The magic comes from seeing the view of the tower, not the view from the tower.