Discover the Top 20 Free Activities to Enjoy in Paris

Bonjour, Paris lovers! Are you ready to experience the city of lights, love, and croissants without breaking the bank? That’s right, you don’t have to empty your wallet to have an unforgettable time in Paris. From stunning parks to world-famous landmarks, there are plenty of free activities to enjoy in the city of love. So, grab a baguette, put on your walking shoes, and let’s explore the top 20 free things to do in Paris!

Table of Contents

Watch the sparkly lights of the Eiffel Tower

Photo by Rosivan Morais via Pexels

The sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower are a sight to behold. I recently had the opportunity to witness this incredible light show and I have to say, it was nothing short of breath-taking.

Every evening, starting at dusk and continuing until 1 am, the Eiffel Tower comes to life with a stunning display of twinkling lights. The light show is a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you in awe. As the lights pulse and change in rhythm with the music, the Eiffel Tower seems to come to life, and you’ll be captivated from start to finish.

If you’re looking for the ultimate Eiffel Tower experience, I would absolutely recommend buying a bottle of wine and having a picnic on the Champs de Mars while enjoying the light show. It’s the perfect way to take in the beauty of this Parisian treasure.

And the best part? Watching the light show is completely free! Although, if you want to climb the Eiffel Tower, you will need to purchase a ticket.

Stroll through the gardens of Versailles

Photo by Jo Kassis via Pexels

Exploring the gardens of Versailles was a dream come true for me. As someone who loves nature and the outdoors, the opportunity to stroll through these magnificent gardens was truly a highlight of my time in Paris. The gardens are a true oasis of beauty and serenity, featuring pristinely manicured landscapes, tranquil waterways, and breath-taking floral displays.

Walking through the gardens, I felt as though I had stepped into a fairy tale. The perfectly trimmed hedges, flower-lined alleys, and ornate statues were like something straight out of a storybook. And the best part? This breath-taking display of beauty and history is completely free to enjoy. While visiting the Palace of Versailles does require an admission fee, the gardens are open to the public for free, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty and grandeur of this incredible place.

So, if you’re looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, or simply want to enjoy some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, I highly recommend a visit to the gardens of Versailles. It’s a truly magical experience that you won’t soon forget.

Discover the permanent collection at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Discovering the permanent collection at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris was a truly unforgettable experience. As someone who loves art, visiting this museum was like stepping into a world of colour, creativity, and inspiration. The collection is vast and diverse, featuring works from some of the most talented artists of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Joan Miró.

Walking through the galleries, I was struck by the beauty and emotion of each piece. From the vibrant, abstract masterpieces to the more intimate and introspective works, there was something for everyone at the museum. And the best part? This incredible collection is free to explore! So, whether you’re an art lover or just looking for a way to spend a quiet afternoon in Paris, I highly recommend visiting the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and discovering its incredible permanent collection.

Visit some famous graves at Cimitière du Père Lachaise

Geof Wilson via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Visiting the Cimitière du Père Lachaise is a unique and peaceful experience that I absolutely adore. This cemetery is home to some of the most famous graves in Paris, and it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reflect on life and history. The cemetery is often incredibly quiet, with only the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, and it’s not uncommon to see cats napping in the sunlight.

What makes Cimitière du Père Lachaise so special is the incredible array of famous people who are buried here. From the famous French playwright Molière to the legendary rock star Jim Morrison, this cemetery is a veritable who’s who of history and culture. I love exploring the cemetery, taking in the beauty of the headstones and monuments, and paying my respects to the many incredible people who have left a lasting impact on the world.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a peaceful escape, Cimitière du Père Lachaise is a must-visit destination in Paris. So, grab a cup of coffee and take a stroll through this incredible cemetery, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history of Paris and the world.

Take in the view from Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

Photo by Leonhard Niederwimmer on Unsplash

Visiting the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur is one of my favourite things to do in Paris. Perched on top of the Montmartre hill, this iconic church offers stunning panoramic views of the city. And the best part is that entering the basilica itself is completely free!

However, if you want to fully experience the beauty of Paris from above, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket to access the balcony. The view is simply breath-taking and is one of the most amazing panoramas you’ll ever witness. The beauty of Paris spreads out before you, with its winding streets, beautiful buildings, and the iconic Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Even if you don’t go up to the balcony, I would still recommend simply sitting on the steps of the basilica and taking in the view. It’s truly a magical and peaceful experience, surrounded by the stunning architecture of the church and the sound of the wind chimes ringing in the breeze. I love visiting the Sacré-Coeur and I’m always in awe of the stunning beauty that surrounds it.

Step back into Roman times at Arènes de Lutèce

Visiting the Arènes de Lutèce in Paris is a unique experience that transports you back in time to the ancient Roman era. I had the opportunity to visit the Arènes de Lutèce a couple of years ago and was immediately struck by its historical significance. As a history enthusiast, and especially one with a deep appreciation for the Roman history of Paris, I found it to be a fascinating place to explore.

The Arènes de Lutèce is a remnant of the ancient Roman city of Lutetia and was originally used as an amphitheatre for gladiatorial games and other public spectacles. Although there are certainly more popular and well-known free things to do in Paris, I personally find the Arènes de Lutèce to be a peaceful and serene spot, perfect for sitting down and reading a book.

Enjoy a peaceful stroll at Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Photo by Yannis Sommera on Unsplash

A peaceful stroll at Parc des Buttes Chaumont is a must for anyone visiting Paris. A couple of years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to stay in an Airbnb in the area, and I fell in love with this beautiful park. It is one of the most picturesque parks in Paris, with its rolling hills, tranquil lakes, and lush greenery. It is the perfect place to escape the bustling city and enjoy some peace and quiet.

As you wander through the park, you will come across beautiful gardens, charming bridges, and stunning waterfalls. And if you make your way to the top of the park, you will be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view over Paris. The view is simply breath-taking, and it is a perfect place to stop and take in the beauty of the city.

Visiting Parc des Buttes Chaumont is completely free, making it one of the best free things to do in Paris. Whether you are a local or a visitor, this park is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, reading a book or just enjoying the beauty of nature. So, if you’re in the mood for a peaceful escape from the city, head to Parc des Buttes Chaumont for a stroll you’ll never forget.

Head to Canal St-Martin for a romantic stroll

Steve via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Visiting Canal St-Martin has always been a dream of mine, ever since I first saw the movie La fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulin. The quaint, picturesque scenes from the film have always stayed with me, and I finally had the chance to visit in person a couple of months ago. And, let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

Canal St-Martin is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Paris, a perfect place for a romantic walk or a leisurely picnic. The charming bridges, the gentle flow of the water, and the greenery that lines the canal create a tranquil atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere in the city. Whether you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of Paris or simply want to spend a relaxing afternoon in the sun, Canal St-Martin is the perfect destination.

As if the peaceful atmosphere wasn’t enough, there are also plenty of cafes and bistros to choose from in the area. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick coffee or a more leisurely lunch, you’ll be spoiled for choice. And in the evening, some of these cafes are known for their jazz and manouche, adding to the already charming atmosphere of the canal. I can say with certainty that my visit to Canal St-Martin was one of the highlights of my trip to Paris, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a peaceful, romantic spot in the city.

Tour the vibrant Belleville neighbourhood

Céline Harrand via Flickr Public Domain Mark 1.0

Exploring the Belleville neighbourhood in Paris is a must-do for anyone looking for a unique and authentic experience. This edgy and creative district is known for its street art, and it’s easy to see why. On my last trip to Paris, my husband and I made a point to explore Belleville and were blown away by the vibrant and colourful murals and street art that adorned the buildings and streets.

Not only is Belleville a visual feast for the eyes, but it’s also a foodie’s paradise. The area is famous for its Asian cuisine, and we were able to sample some of the most delicious dishes from all over the continent. The restaurants and street stalls we visited felt like hidden gems, and it was clear that the locals in the area were proud of their neighbourhood.

What I loved most about Belleville was that it felt like a true local neighbourhood. We didn’t feel like we were surrounded by tourists, and that made the experience of exploring this area even more special. We were able to experience a slice of Parisian life as it really is, and that was a truly amazing feeling.

Experience a true Parisian market at Marché d’Aligre

Visiting Marché d’Aligre in Paris is a unique and memorable experience. This bustling market is a hub of local life and a must-see for anyone visiting the city, especially if you’re not used to European markets. The atmosphere is lively and vibrant, with vendors shouting out their wares and the sound of fresh produce being weighed and sold filling the air.

For those who are staying in an Airbnb and cooking their own food, Marché d’Aligre is a great place to pick up some groceries. The market is full of fresh produce, meats, and seafood, all of which are sold at reasonable prices. You’ll also find all sorts of other ingredients, from cheeses and baked goods to spices and condiments, making it a one-stop shop for all your culinary needs.

But one of the highlights of our visit to Marché d’Aligre was the rotisserie chicken wings. My husband and I were blown away by how delicious they were. The juicy, tender meat was seasoned to perfection and the crispy skin was so crispy to bite into. We would highly recommend picking up a dozen of these chicken wings, as they were some of the best we’ve ever had.

Explore the charming streets of Montmartre

Photo by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash

Exploring Montmartre is always a magical experience for me. The historic district perched on a hill in the heart of Paris has so much to offer. From its stunning views of the city to its charming streets filled with colourful homes and hidden gardens, Montmartre is a true gem.

One of the highlights of a visit to Montmartre is La Maison Rose, the iconic pink house that has become synonymous with the neighbourhood. This historic building has a rich history and is a must-see for any traveller.

Another must-see in Montmartre is Place du Tertre, the charming square filled with artists and street performers. This is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon people-watching and taking in the sights and sounds of Paris.

Last time I visited Paris with my husband, we had just flown in from Nepal and were suffering from jetlag. Because we woke up way too early, we were able to explore Montmartre at 6 am when the city was just waking up. It was an unforgettable experience as the streets were virtually empty and the only sounds were the soft footsteps of a few early risers. The peacefulness of the area combined with the beautiful morning light made for a truly magical experience.

Take a picture by the Arc de Triomphe

Photo by Antonio Conte via Pexels

Visiting the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is an experience like no other. Standing in the heart of the city, this stunning monument is a symbol of victory and a tribute to the brave soldiers who have fought for France. The best part is that visiting the Arc de Triomphe from the outside is completely free and you can admire its grandeur from a distance. However, if you are looking for a more immersive experience, buying a ticket to climb the monument is a must. The view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is breath-taking and offers panoramic views of the city.

As a frequent visitor to Paris, I can attest to the fact that you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to visit the Arc de Triomphe if you have limited time. Taking a hop-on-hop-off bus is another great way to see this monument and many other landmarks in the city.

Visit the outdoor statue museum in Jardin de Tuileries

Visiting the outdoor statue museum in Jardin de Tuileries is a must for anyone looking for a peaceful and tranquil escape in the heart of Paris. This activity is completely free, making it a great option for anyone on a budget. Jardin de Tuileries is a beautifully manicured garden that is surrounded by famous museums such as the Louvre and is a popular destination for Parisians and tourists alike.

Walking through the garden, you will come across the outdoor statue museum, which is home to a collection of stunning sculptures that are displayed amongst the lush greenery. This is a great place to visit if you are interested in art and history, as you can admire the intricate details of each statue and imagine what life was like in Paris during their creation.

For me, one of the best things about visiting Jardin de Tuileries is simply taking some time to relax in the sunshine. The garden is equipped with a number of its famous green seats, which are the perfect spot to sit and read a book or enjoy a picnic. Whether you are exploring the city on your own or with loved ones, Jardin de Tuileries is a great place to unwind and recharge in the heart of Paris.

Admire the view from Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace

Photo by Ricardo Antoniassi via pexels

Taking in the breath-taking view from the rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette is an experience you don’t want to miss. Galeries Lafayette is one of Paris’s most famous department stores and its stunning Art Deco dome is an iconic landmark of the city. The rooftop terrace offers an unrivalled panoramic view over the city and is a must-visit for anyone looking to get a unique perspective of Paris.

For those who love window-shopping like I do, Galeries Lafayette is an absolute delight. The store is a shopping paradise, with an array of designer labels, beauty products, and gourmet food. Whether you’re a seasoned shopper or just browsing, Galeries Lafayette is a wonderful place to soak up the atmosphere and admire the beautifully curated products on display.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to step out onto the rooftop terrace and snap a few pictures. The view is truly breath-taking and the perfect backdrop for capturing memories of your time in Paris.

Go to the museum for free on the first Sunday of the month

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Exploring museums in Paris can be a magical experience, especially when they are free! On the first Sunday of every month, some of the best museums in Paris, including the Musee D’orsay, the Musee de l’Orangerie, and the Louvre, offer free admission to visitors. This is a great opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of the city without breaking the bank.

I personally love visiting the Musee D’orsay and the Musee de l’Orangerie, as both are home to some of the most stunning works of art and masterpieces from famous artists like Monet and Degas. The museums themselves are works of art, with breath-taking architecture and beautiful interiors that transport visitors to another world.

If you haven’t visited the Louvre yet, I highly recommend doing so. Do keep in mind that the Louvre, because it is free on that first Sunday of the month, will be incredibly busy. If you don’t mind paying to visit the museum at a more peaceful time, I would recommend doing so. This iconic museum is home to thousands of works of art and artifacts, including the famous statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, and the stunning paintings in the Sully Wing.

Explore the vibrant Port Saint Ouen Flea Market

Visiting the Port Saint Ouen Flea Market is an exciting experience for those who love exploring vibrant markets for unique and one-of-a-kind items. The market is a hub for those looking for interesting artefacts and trinkets to take back home as a souvenir from their Parisian adventure. Although the prices may be on the higher side compared to other flea markets, it is worth a visit for those searching for that special item to remember their trip by. Whether you’re a seasoned flea market shopper or a newcomer, the Port Saint Ouen Flea Market is definitely worth checking out.

Explore the Historic Hôtel Dieu, the Oldest Hospital in Paris

If you love history and architecture, you might want to check out the historic Hôtel Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris. Exploring this historic site is a must for those interested in learning about the city’s rich history. I myself have only visited this historical building once before but I remember how much I loved walking through the courtyard gardens of Hôtel Dieu. Especially since there were no other tourists around, which is always a plus in Paris!

The architectural beauty of this historic building is awe-inspiring and will leave you in wonder. Additionally, if you’re a fan of taking Instagram-worthy snaps, this is a great place to capture some memories. From the intricate details of the architecture to the tranquil gardens, Hôtel Dieu truly breathes history and is a must-visit for those interested in exploring Paris’ cultural heritage.

Get a tan on one of the many Paris Plages in summer

If you’re a fan of summertime fun, Paris Plages should be on your list of must-visit destinations in Paris. This summer event transforms the city into a beach-lover’s paradise, with several temporary beaches popping up along the Seine river. This is one of the reasons why I love visiting Paris during the summer months.

Paris Plages is the perfect way to beat the heat in the city. You can relax on a lounge chair and soak up the sun, or take a refreshing dip in the river. The beaches are also equipped with various activities, such as beach volleyball, pétanque, and even dancing lessons. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of food stalls and refreshments to keep you fuelled.

Not only is Paris Plages a great way to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, but it also offers a unique and refreshing perspective of the city. You can admire the stunning views of Paris’ iconic landmarks while lounging on the beach. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Soak in the Christmas cheer on one of the many Paris Christmas markets in winter

Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash

Visiting Paris during the winter is a magical experience, especially when it comes to the festive season. I was lucky enough to experience the city during Christmas only once, but it left a lasting impression. The streets were filled with the aroma of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and tartiflette, which are all things I absolutely LOVE. The Christmas markets in Paris are a must-visit, where you can enjoy the warm drinks, savour the delicious food, and browse through unique gifts.

Apart from the Christmas markets, there are many other activities to enjoy during the winter in Paris. Ice skating at one of the many rinks around the city is a fun and festive way to spend an afternoon. The Christmas lights in Paris are also a sight to behold, and taking a stroll around the city to admire them is a perfect way to end a day of holiday activities.

Take a picture with the Statue of Liberty… in Paris

Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash

Visiting the city of lights is always a magical experience, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a Statue of Liberty in Paris! Yes, you heard it right, a statue of the famous symbol of freedom can be found right in the heart of the city. The Statue of Liberty in Paris can be found on the Île des Cygnes, a small island on the Seine River that is home to several monuments and parks.

This statue was given to France by the United States to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution, and it stands proud and tall, just like its counterpart in New York. Seeing the statue in person is a unique and special experience, and it’s amazing to think about the strong ties between the two nations and how the statue symbolizes the friendship and unity between France and the United States.

What are some budget-friendly accommodation options in Paris?

Hostels, budget hotels, and Airbnb rentals can offer affordable accommodation options in Paris. You can check out some of the best deals here.

How can I save money on food in Paris?

Eating at local cafes and boulangeries, or cooking your own meals with groceries from markets, can save you money on food in Paris.

Are there any free museums or attractions in Paris?

Yes, there are several free museums and attractions in Paris, such as the Sainte-Chapelle, the Place des Vosges, and the Jardin des Plantes.

Is it cheaper to buy tickets for attractions in advance or on the spot?

It’s generally cheaper to buy tickets in advance online, rather than on the spot. Buying tickets beforehand is not only cheaper, it can also save you time as lines can be very long during spring and summer.

How can I save money on transportation in Paris?

Using public transportation and walking, rather than taking taxis, can save you money on transportation in Paris. When taking the metro it is a good idea to buy a carnet of 10 tickets to save some money.

Is it worth getting a Paris Museum Pass?

It depends on your individual travel itinerary and interests. The Paris Museum Pass can provide a discount on admissions to several popular museums, but only if you plan on visiting multiple museums.

Can I save money by eating street food in Paris?

Yes, eating street food, such as crepes and falafel, can be a budget-friendly way to experience the culinary culture of Paris.

Is it expensive to go shopping in Paris?

Yes, shopping in Paris can be expensive, but there are budget-friendly options, such as street markets and discount stores.

How can I save money on entertainment in Paris?

There are many free outdoor events and performances in Paris, such as concerts, movies, and festivals.

Are there any budget-friendly tours or excursions in Paris?

Yes, there are several budget-friendly tours and excursions in Paris, such as walking tours, bike tours, and river cruises.

1 thought on “Discover the Top 20 Free Activities to Enjoy in Paris”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *