Top Free Things To Do In Paris
Paris is one of the most popular capital cities in Europe, drawing travelers from all over the world. It has always been known to be an expensive city, but there are also many things that you can do for free. So steer away from the super chic cafes and designer fashion boutiques and take in some of the many free attractions that define this elegant city. Here’s our list of the best sites and activities that are Free in Paris:
Free First Sundays in Paris
Paris is home to some of the finest artwork ever seen and there just aren’t enough days in the week to visit all the museums that house them. On the first Sunday of each month many of the city’s museums are free to all. Among the most popular are the Musee d’Orsay, Musee National Art Moderne, Musee de’Orangerie, and Musee Rodin. The Louvre participates in this program from October 1st through March 31st each year, and is always free to students under the age of 26 and are from one of the 28 European Union nations.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The construction for the cathedral of Notre Dame began in 1163 and was completed 182 years later in 1345. The intricate workmanship is visible in every aspect of the structure, which is quite spectacular. The art and finesse that has gone into the making of the cathedral is witnessed around every nook and corner and it is often difficult to appreciate that much of it is over 800 years old. As an active place of worship, entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral is always free. There is a charge however to visit the Cathedral Tower and Treasury. Be aware that during summer months there can be long lines to enter, so you might want to avoid mid-day visits. Also remember that you are entering a church where you are expected to be quiet and respectful.
The Eiffel Tower
While going to the top of the Eiffel Tower to take in the panoramic views of the city is often considered to be a right of passage, the fee is a bit high during the season. You can save money by visiting the second floor observatory rather than going all the way to the top. We recommend that you view the Eiffel Tower from the ground and enjoy the parks that surround it. One very dramatic view is from the steps of The Trocedaro. It can be quite a romantic experience as well to bring along a blanket, wine, cheese, baguettes and you have a lovely picnic along the Seine and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. For a wonderful panoramic view of the entire city of Paris, stop by for a casual lunch or early dinner at the Printemps Department Store where Le Deli-Cieux provides a roof-top view of the city from its outdoor terrace; and unlike the Eiffel Tower, the elevator to the roof cafe is free.
Paris is known for its gorgeous green expanses in the form of expertly manicured parks that are very inviting. In fact they are some of the prettiest in the world and you won’t have to spend a penny to visit them. Jardin de Luxembourg (5th Arrondissement) for example has some of the loveliest gardens in the world. Palais du Luxembourg, a really majestic building is also here and adds to the aesthetics of the place. Parc du Champ de Mars right under the Eiffel Tower is another place you have to visit along with Jardin de Trocadero, which is located on the either side of the fountain across the river from the Tower. Or take a stroll through The Tuileries Gardens from the Louvre all the way to The Place de la Concorde. It’s enchanting to watch young children sailing wooden boats in the Grand Bassin near the Louvre Museum. Here is a list of the best places to picnic in Paris.
Parc de la Villette – Free Open Air Cinema
In summer, the open air cinema at Parc de la Villette screens movies which can be a nice eveening out for you. The movie screenings happen in July and August usually and follow a particular theme. It’s “Tous en scène'” or “Everybody on stage” for the year and movies like Be Kind Rewind, Where the Wild Things Are and The Killing are included. You can sit down on the grass and experience the French love for cinema.
This is a beautiful cemetery that is completely different from the one at Catacombes. The open area is beautifully decorated and has tomb stones of some pretty famous people as well. The list includes composer Chopin to rock star Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, a name that needs no introduction in the literary circuit and Marcel Proust. Names that have been at the forefront of the pop culture and art have been buried here.
Shop in the Marais
Marais is home to many grand villas, gay nightspot and Jewish district. It’s also the part of Paris that is considered to be a shopping haven because it has lovely boutiques and ateliers. It’s all about doing simple things better and more beautiful in Marais. From organic olive oil and goodies at several shops to the recently opened Premiere Pression Provence; which has several dozen oils, there’s a lot you can buy here. Candy-pink sidewalk table will let you explore many seasonal specials.
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris, sprawled over 8 hectares. Situated towards the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées, it has the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. You can head here with your camera and take some amazing pictures of your favourite monuments. There are many who converge on the square and it lights up with musicians, dancers and artists displaying their talents all through the day.
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and is a brilliant place for a leisurely stroll as you take in the beautiful surroundings. You can relax on the green lawns by the fountain or sit on the benches and enjoy the performances of local artists who come here to display their skills. Famous writer, Victor Hugo lived here and his home is now a museum. The Maison de Victor Hugo offers free admission. If you love art, you are in for a treat because there are many art galleries around the square that allow you free entry too.
Free Museums in Paris
You could easily spend a month just visiting the world-class museums of Paris. Nearly all museums and monuments in France are free to students under the age of 26 from any of the EU nations. And there are nearly two dozen fine museums that are free to everyone year-round. Here is a list of the Free Museums in Paris.
Tour The City By Bike or Blade
Friday nights come alive in Paris with free bike and roller-skate tours. Hundreds of Parisians and tourists come out to tour through the city in a festive group. For travelers wanting to participate in the bike tour, you’ll probably want to rent a Velib bike for 24 hours for a mere $1.70 euros per day, and the first 30 minutes of Velib use is always free. Bike and Rollerblade tours take place each Friday night and on the third Sunday of each month.
Paris Greeters One of the very best things you can do for free in Paris is to take a tour with Paris Greeters. This is a wonderful volunteer organization that is part of the Global Greeters Network. Their aim is to pair visitors with local residents in order to foster deeper understanding of cultures. Simply complete the online form and Paris Greeters will match you to a volunteer with similar interests to your own. Soon you will have a friend in Paris and an unforgettable experience.
Other Free Fun Things To Do In Paris:
- Visit Montmarte to watch painters in the square and sit on the steps of Sacre Coeur to take in spectacular view of the city. For a moving experience, attend the Choir Rehearsal at 9:45 am on Sundays.
- Take in a free fashion show on Friday afternoon at Galeries Lafayette department store.
- Go for a stroll along the Promenade Plantee, an elevated greenway that traces the path of the former Vincennes railway line.
Learning English and French can ease your way
No matter where you go, people speak some English and it’s true of Parisians too. Parisians don’t like to speak in English but that doesn’t mean they can’t understand it or communicate if need be. You also have to understand that French is more similar to English than many other languages, even though they have different origins. It is always good manners to attempt a few phrases in French however. Greetings, thank you, and how to ask simple questions should be sufficient.
About The Author: Ramya Raju, a freelance writer/web designer from India, writes on varied topics like English Courses, SEO, Web Design, Mobile, Marketing etc., I have an experience of about 8 years in content writing and have worked for top blogs and websites. I’m generally an extrovert; I like photography, anthropology and traveling to different countries to learn the culture and living of the local inhabitants. Contact info: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.englishcourses.pro/courses/business-english-courses/
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