Visiting Paris is one of those epic travel experiences that can quickly spiral into a spending nightmare if you don’t keep an eye on your spending. It can all add up with the likes of all the best places in Paris to see, yummy restaurants and tours. So, to help keep costs down, I want to share some of the top-rated free things to do in Paris once you arrive.
You’re going to have a great time in Paris; but like I said, prices can shoot up – especially if you’re travelling at peak times or popular spots in the city.
Take a look, below, at the top-rated free things to do in Paris on your trip! Have the best time visiting France.
1.) Free museum days
One of the great things about Paris is that there are lots of museums; but let’s be honest, prices can skyrocket if you’re paying entry for every single one and heading across with friends and loved ones.
That being said, you can enter most museums in Paris for free; as long as you follow the rules.
Lots of museums in Paris offer free entry on the first Sunday of every month. For instance, the Orangerie Museum, the Bourdelle Museum, the Modern Art Museum and the Orsay Museum.
Entry is totally free, but you have to visit on that specific date. Oh, and always check the museum’s website for listings when their individual dates are.
Plus, don’t forget, you can actually visit lots of the museums in Paris if you’re between 18-25 and an EU citizen. The Louvre is one example of this.
However, if you do need to plan your entry to see the Mona Lisa, make sure to book these skip-the-line tickets that’ll get you straight passed all those long queues.
2.) Visit the parks of Paris
One of the great things about Paris is that it has quite a few gorgeous parks to visit. Best of all, they’re free to visit and totally easy to find.
As you wander Paris, be sure to visit Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. It’s huge and one stunning spot to visit on a sunny day. Just be sure to see the Temple de la Sibylle as you take a stroll. It’s gorgeous.
Other great parks to visit are Jardins du Trocadéro, Parc Monceau, Parc de Bercy and Parc Floral de Paris. Though, if I’m honest, you’ll probably want to stick to just one or two as they’re pretty big to get around.
Finally, don’t forget about René Dumont Green Corridor (which was called)La Promenade Plantée).
This is quite similar to the Highline in New York City in that it’s a linear park that follows a route. It’s one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris, especially if you’re focusing on the parks.
3.) See the Paris landmarks
Just like lots of global cities, most of the top places in Paris can be seen totally for free. Yes, you can pay fees to enter, explore or donate but you really don’t have to spend time.
For us, one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris is strolling the streets. Use Google Maps (or City Mapper) and plan the key ‘anchor points’ you want to see.
We’ve previously booked these Eiffel Tower entry tickets (which is great for visiting the top), but you can also get some epic views from the ground. For us, we love heading to Trocadero Gardens at sunset to see the views of the Eiffel Tower is just amazing.
Afterwards, make sure to head over to the streets around Notre Dame (which you can see from the outside), Sacré Coeur.
4.) Window Shopping at Galeries Lafayette
Look, I’ll be honest, shops want you to spend money; it’s a fact! That being said, you want to pop inside Galeries Lafayette to have a gander at how beautiful it is.
Take a wander the higher floors and see. the views into this beautiful shopping space. It’s gorgeous.
Plus, nearby, you’ve got the stunning building of Palais Garnier to see, all before walking down Avenue de l’Opera.
5.) Watch a movie at Parc de la Villette
Every year, Parc de la Villette runs its open-air cinema; which has been going for decades and is so much fun. It’s totally free and a great way to enjoy the summer sun and dusky evenings in Paris.
Typically, the free films are held in July and August each year and are so much fun. It’s one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris for film buffs, for sure!
Just be sure to check their website and see what films are playing.
6.) Neighbourhoods in Paris
Technically free, because you’re strolling the streets of Paris!
Although Paris might feel like one homogenous city, there are lots of different neighbourhoods and areas that are well worth visiting as you explore.
After arriving in Paris, head straight over to Le Marais. It’s one of our favourite areas of Paris and filled with gorgeous streets, little lanes and heaps of cafes to whisk away your day.
Of course, you’re going to end up buying some pastries and whatnot – but they don’t need to cost the world. Stop by the Boot Cafe for some of the best coffee we’ve had in France. It’s unfussy and a lovely little spot for a treat.
Other key neighbourhoods in Paris to visit are; Saint-Germain-des-Prés (a pretty high-end and lovely area of the city), the Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement) where you’ll see the Panthéon and Canal Saint-Martin. The latter is a lovely place for a stroll, and you can bag that free entry to Orsay Museum, too.
7.) Saint-Eustache Church
It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, visiting Saint-Eustache Church is one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris that’s within walking distance from the Louvre.
Best of all, you’ll get to listen to the organ recitals that happen almost every Sunday between 5.30 pm to 6 pm. It’s just magical, so make sure to time you visit to coincide with this.
8.) Visit the Panthéon
Nestled in the Latin Quarter of Paris (which we mentioned before), the Panthéon is a must-see when visiting Paris.
It’s easily one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris if you’re interested in the city’s history. You see, the Panthéon was being constructed whilst the French Revolution was going ahead and was only finished after France became a republic.
Free to enter, make sure to visit the domed area and see all the stunning frescos. Just make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Apotheosis of Saint Genevieve that’s painted on the dome itself.
9.) Sacré-Coeur Basilica
Standing proud in the Montmartre area of Paris, Sacré-Coeur Basilica is one spot you have to see when exploring Paris. Best of all, it’s free to enter and you can get some gorgeous views across Paris from here.
Once you head inside, be sure to look out for the Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is a stunning mosaic to see. Plus, the Grand Organ is just colossal.
One thing to note, you’ll get lots of ‘street vendors’ trying to get your attention around this area to buy bracelets etc. If they try to place them on your wrist, firmly and politely give it back or leave it on the ground for them – it’s usually a way for them to insist on payment for something you didn’t ask for.
10.) Hotel de Sens
It’s not often I would say to just go to a hotel to visit but Hotel de Sens is one such exception when visiting Paris. You see, Hotel de Sens isn’t a hotel. It was accommodation for archbishops whilst in Paris.
Now, one of the things that makes visiting Hotel de Sens so great is to see the cannon holes. Yes, this building has seen it all since its building around half a millennia ago.
Just make sure to see the cannonball that’s lodged in the side of the building during the French Revolution. It’s one of the top-rated free things to do in Paris that’s unique and often forgotten.