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Paris is among the top tourist destination in the world, and it is usually on top of the bucket list of every traveller. It was on mine too, and you can read about my first impressions here. The city is filled with varieties of sights that you can visit, like the magnificent Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. It is trendy for its romantic vibes, although I didn’t feel them at first(but Hey I went even a second time there). It is quite an expensive place to go to if we have to be honest. But despite it being so expensive, there are numerous free things that you can do. In this article, I will list some of my favourite ones.
Explore Basilica Du Sacre-Coeur
This is among the top sights in Paris, and it can be found at the top of the hill in Montmartre. It was love from first sight for me. Especially in a beautiful spring day. If you are on a budget, it is best to come here between 6 am and 10 pm. You will gain free entry to the ground floor, but you will have to pay a fee if you want to climb the 300 steps to the top of the dome. I didn’t do the climbing since my legs were already hurting from all the walking. And I had to save some strength for the rest of the journey. You are going to love the views from the outside of the church which spreads across Paris. One word here – epic! You can also come at dusk to enjoy the sunset and to watch as the street performers entertain the crowds.
Enjoy the light show at the Eiffel Tower at night
One of the most enchanting things not to miss while in Paris and the best part is that it is completely free. I didn’t know about it until I actually saw it happening and it was magical. The light show at Eiffel Tower happens every night and can be seen from all over Paris. The best place to go in Paris for the best view of this event is at the Sacre-Coeur or in the Park du Champ de Mar. I was lucky to watch this show from the Ferris wheel in Paris, and it was perfectly spent 8e.
Go window shopping along the Champs-Elysees
This is an area that stretches between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Champs-Elysees is a hotspot for the locals and the tourists as it is lined with luxury boutiques and restaurants. It is also the place where celebrities shop and dine on their visit to Paris. The area hosts some of the major events in Paris like Bastille Day military parade, Christmas light, the arrival of the Tour de France, etc. The best thing to do here is to just stroll around the area. For me, particularly night walk and enjoying the vibe there was the best experience.
Arc de Triomphe
This attraction is situated at the centre of a roundabout at the top of Champs-Elysees. It honours those that fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. You can stroll around the arc where you will find names of all French victories and also generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. And you can take some great photos if you are patient enough to wait for the cars to leave you with a view. If you are from the EU and under the age of 25, you can climb up the Arc for free. Just show your ID at the entrance. The view from above is breathtaking!
The Jardin du Luxembourg are located between the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They are inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and were created upon the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612. Within the grounds, you can find an orchard with a variety of old and forgotten apples. Also there you can learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses. It’s free to visit, and the gardens are open between 7.30am and 8.15am and close between 4.30pm and 9.30pm dependent on the season.
If you are looking for one of the most photographed views of the Eiffel Tower – head to Trocadéro Square. Located on the opposite side of the Seine to the Tower, the platform at the end of the gardens is the perfect foreground to you Eiffel Tower shot. The first time I was in Paris, I couldn’t get there, and this was my top priority when I visited the city again. The view is lovely, and you can just sit and enjoy it all day long.
If you want to feel the real Parisian vibe after your visit to Sacré-Coeur, wander the bohemian streets of Montmartre. This place was once the home of the creatives and artists. The area has retained it’s unique village feel – although nowadays there are a lot of gift shops and touristy corners, you can still feel the vibe of its previous glory. One of the most expensive attractions can be found here: The Moulin Rouge. If your budget isn’t too strict, watching one of their shows will be something you never forget! Or so they say. Mine budget was. :D
Stroll along the Banks of the Seine
The banks of the Seine were designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is a hotspot for both the locals and tourists. The bank is a great place to go for long romantic walks or relax and watch as the world goes by. You can also come here during the night as you will see 33 out of the 37 bridges that cross the Seine illuminated. This makes the bank a great place to go for nighttime photographers or a tourist seeking a perfect spot for Instagram-worthy pictures. The bridges here are also fascinating, and the highlights are Pont de l’Alma (Alma Bridge), Pont de l’archeveche (Archbishops Bridge), and Pont des Arts. One of the most amazing things I saw in Paris was groups of people dancing there at nighttime. We took a boat trip, and they were so free looking and even waving at us. It filled my heart with the most liberating feeling.
Chateau de Versailles /Free Sometimes/
Although it is a bit outside of Paris, Chateau de Versailles is so worth visiting. Especially when you don’t have to pay for anything. The admission is free for under-18s, European Union residents under 26, schoolchildren, teachers in a French establishment with a Pass Education, disabled people and the person accompanying them, etc.. the whole list can be found here. On the first Sunday of every month from November to March, admission to the Estate of Versailles is free as well. You just have to show your valid ID. The gardens there are free to enter for everyone.
There are around 130 museums in Paris, and some of them are free to enter!
The Paris Museum of Modern Art, for example – open from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday. Although they do charge entry to some visiting collections – the main body of the museum and permanent collections are still free.
Another museum in Paris that is free is the Galerie Lumière des Roses – this museum is pretty weird if you ask me – the photos there are credited to nobody: nobody knows who took them, when, or where. A bit crazy, heh.
The Louvre /Free Sometimes/
Yep, you can visit one of the most famous museums in the world completely for free. You just have to be in the city on the first Sunday of the month(October to March). Free admission (year round) is also available if you are under the age of 18, or are a resident of the EU aged between the ages of 19-25. And every Friday from 6 p.m. for people under 26 of all nationalities. Just show your ID.
Musee D’Orsay /Free Sometimes/
The Musee d’Orsay has free admission on the first Sunday of each month (year round). It is also free to enter for people under 18 and those aged 19-25 who are members of the EU.
And there you have it – my list with best free things to do in Paris! I hope this article can help you plan a budget-friendly trip to this fantastic city – and if you know other FREE things to do in Paris that you think should be included – just let me know in the comments below so I can add them to this list!
Where to stay in Paris:
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