Paris is a gem of a city, it’s a place buzzing with activity, charm and delicious treats which all make for a perfect visit to one of Europe’s most iconic cities. If it’s your first, second or gazillionth time visiting Paris, you’ll no doubt be excited to sample and explore the city, but as we all know, that comes at a price! Regardless of your budget (yes, we all have one) you can still find copious amounts of amazing things to do for free in this incredible city.

Oh, and don’t forget – if you’re visiting the city, make sure to check out our full list of secret Parisian sights you must visit and the 10 perfect restaurants with a view in the city.

15 Incredible Free Things To See When Visiting Paris

Take a look at 15 of the absolute best things to do in Paris without spending those hard-earned pennies!

1) Watch the sunset at Montmartre

Paris, France

The tallest hill in Paris, Montmartre offers gorgeous views over the city and is free to walk around. Spend an afternoon traipsing through the local markets, boutiques, and galleries that abound here.

Top tip: One of the best times to visit is around sunset when Paris is basked in some gorgeous orange hues!

2) Feed your inner artistry at Musée Bourdelle

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Located in the art hub of Montparnasse, this museum is dedicated to the French painter Antoine Bourdelle and it won’t cost you a dime to visit. It is also located on the site of his former studio.

Top tip: Musée Bourdelle is rarely open on a Monday, so make sure to plan your visit around this.

3) Smell the flowers at Jardin de Plantes

If you are looking for a free botanical garden in Paris then this is the place to visit. Highlights include tropical greenhouses and Alpine forests that have been lovingly nurtured for us all to enjoy. This is a botanists dream!

Top tip: Make sure to take a gander (and a smell) of the beautiful rose garden too!

4) Explore the beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral

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Dating from 1163, this impressive cathedral is entirely free to visit. Dating back almost 1,000 years – Notre-Dame is an incredible site to see. Don’t forget to head inside and see the stunning North Rose Window.

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Top tip: Head across on a weekday morning when there are less crowds.

5) Discover the caves of Parc des Buttes-Charmont

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This gorgeous park dates from the 1860s and is known for its characteristic style that includes recreated caves and palm trees for us all to enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for the  Temple de la Sibylle too.

Top tip: Bring a picnic and eat on one of the grassy lawns to make a day of it!

6) Appreciate art at Musée Carnavalet

If you want to learn about Parisian history then this quirky museum in the Marais is a great place to come. Expect period furniture, paintings, jewellery, and more – all finished off with a Parisian flare and sophistication!

Top tip: Make sure to take the time to see the exhibits on the French Revolution, including the iconic The Tennis Court Oath painted in the late 1700’s.

7) Visit the oldest squares in Paris, Place des Vosges

This gorgeous square was commissioned in 1605 by Henry IV. There is also a full park off the square complete with playgrounds and picnic areas where you can whisk away a sunny afternoon.

Top tip: Don’t forget to visit the Arcades, it’s a great spot for some pictures too!

8) Enjoy the Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris

Located within the Palais de Tokyo, this museum of modern art is often said to rival the collection at the Centre Pompidou when it comes to Paris-based artists. To add to this, the museum is completely free to visit – what more could you ask for?

Top tip: temporary exhibitions change every six weeks or so, meaning that each and every visit can be markedly different.

9) Visit the tomb of Oscar Wilde at Père Lachaise Cemetery

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A cemetery may not sound like an obvious pick but Père Lachaise is famous for its opulent tombs and for being the final resting place of famous names like Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde. Over recent years, visitors have soared, making Père Lachaise Cemetery the most visited in the whole world!

Top tip: Keep your eyes peeled for Oscar Wilde’s tomb

10) See the ode to Napoleon at La Madeleine

This church which is an ode to Napoleon is free to visitors and is an amazing monument to the Napoleonic period of French history. There are also free music concerts held here periodically so check their website for exact dates.

Top tip: Take a look at the walls of the foyer which are regularly adorned with the work of incredible local artists.

11) Discover gothic French style architecture at Eglise St-Séverin

This is one of Paris’ smaller churches built in the gothic style but a very pretty one nonetheless. The site is known for its fearsome gargoyles and carved columns that adorn its structure.

Top tip: Don’t forget to see the palm tree pillars that hold up this beautiful building.

12) Visit the Parisian Canal of St Martin

Visitors often forget that Paris has a series of canals, and Canal St Martin is a delightful spot for a walk in the late afternoon sun…

… all in a truly Parisian style, of course.

Top tip: Make sure to visit the locks of the Récollets and eat at one of the lovely restaurants that line the canal.

13) Enjoy the grounds of Jardin du Luxembourg

This park has just about everything you could imagine, including sand pits, chess games, horse parks, old-fashioned swing boats, and jogging tracks. There are also manicured gardens designed in the English style.

Top tip: One of the best photo spots is next to the Pool in front of the Palais de Luxembourg. It’s beautiful on a sunny day!

14) See the side chapels of Eglise St Etienne-du-Mont

The shrine of the patron saint of Paris, this church is a mixture of gothic and renaissance styles. You can view the ancient tombstone of Saint Geneviève here and entry is absolutely free on all days.

Top tip: Make sure to visit the side chapels too.

15) Maison de Victor Hugo

Thankfully, the former home of famous French author Victor Hugo is free for visitors and local’s alike. Expect to find a potted history of his life as well as exhibits featuring his personal possessions and manuscripts.

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Top tip: Make sure to visit the ornate rooms where Hugo once lived.

Visiting Paris? Take a look at all our posts on Paris, right here.

Image via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11


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  • I’ve been in Paris a few times now, and these tips are actually the best! I think just wandering around the city and seeing these highlights are a great way to explore the city, whatever your budget is.
    I have never watched the sunset from on top of the hill though.. Is that a good enough reason to go back? 😉 X

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much, Paris is such a wonderful city isn’t it.

      Oh yes, that’s definitely an excuse to go back to Paris. Haha! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • It’s my dream to go to Paris, having studied French for seven years. This post certainly makes me more budget-friendly for my empty wallet. Perhaps a trip in the coming year isn’t a question after all!
    – Charmaine
    http://charmainenyw.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, that would be so amazing, what a great place to use your amazing French skills… Totally wish we could speak French, it’s such a beautiful sounding language.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Taste of France

    The Arènes de Lutèce, Roman ruins, are just behind the Pantheon. A quiet spot.
    My favorite free thing to do in Paris, though, are the Argentine tango soirées at Quai Tino Rossi in the summer. Non-dancers can soak up the spectacle–plenty of professionals show up to dance.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      That is so cool! Okay, we’ve gotta head there in the summer, it sounds incredible. Wow.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • The sunset photo of Montmarte is just absolutely divine! There really isnt anywhere else like Paris, I’m itching to be back and I was only there 7 months ago!

    Abigail Alice x

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s such a great city isn’t it, Abigail 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Mahée Ferlini

    J’adore Paris 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Us too! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • oh I miss Paris:)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s an amazing city isn’t it, Tanja 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Love the places you suggest! When I was last in Paris I just did the mayor attractions. Can’t wait to go back and explore more and I will definitely put these suggestions on my list. Thanks!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much! It’s an incredible city isn’t it.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • tatiana

    Making a picnic in Champ de Mars looking at the Eiffel Tower and visiting the famous shops of Champs Elysses could be other good options 😉

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Great recommendations, Tatiana. Paris really is incredible isn’t it.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • wonderful post thank you very much

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Heather Lee

    Love love love the amazing pictures, Paris is so beautiful. Your blog is amazing and right up my street with all the travels and beautiful pictures. XH

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is an incredible city isn’t it, Heather. We love Paris so much! 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind words… you made our evening!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • kenza dwn

    Check, check aaaaand check !
    Ok I’m cheating, I was born and raised in Paris before moving out to London.

    Also one of my favorite free thing to do is wander through the Gallerie Vivienne or the “Colonnes de Buren” at Palais Royal. Go check this out on Google if you have time because it is gooooorgeous 🙂

    Kenza from http://travelwithkenza.blogspot.co.uk

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, no way! Bet you had the best time in Paris – it’s such an incredible city isn’t it.

      Great tips on wandering through Gallerie Vivienne. We’ll definitely be doing that on our next visit. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Paris is one of the places I have always wanted to go. It looks so beautiful and fascinating! Hopefully, I can visit there some day.

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s incredible isn’t it, Jemima. You’ll love it. Let us know if you plan a trip, we’re always happy to help with tip and tricks.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

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  • Never been to Paris and this has given me some ideas. Thanks guys.

    p.s you missed the ‘L’ in Oscar Wilde at number 9 (Visit the tomb of Oscar Wide at Père Lachaise Cemetery)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Oscar Wide… haha! I can’t believe it! My own spelling mistake made me giggle! Thanks so much for pointing it out. 🙂

      Lloyd xx

  • Tami Lee

    Your photos are breathtaking! Finally realizing a dream I had at 16 to visit Paris-only took 34 years and I finally get to go. Saving to post to remember your recommendations when it is closer to our departure.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah, this sounds amazing, Tami! You’re going to have the best time ever!

      Cannot wait to hear how much you love the city!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx