If you're visiting Paris for the first time, you may be worried about the cost of experiencing all that the city has to offer. That's why we've curated a list of the top free things to do in Paris, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the city without overspending!
One of the best free attractions in Paris is without a doubt, the Eiffel Tower's enchanting light show! You'll be mesmerized by the golden lighting and beacons that adorn the tower, turning on every hour for five minutes until the final sparkling show at 11 pm. One of the best spots to enjoy the show is along the Seine River between Île de la Cité and the Pont d'Iéna.
Paris is divided into 20 'arrondissements' and each has something different to offer in terms of architecture, atmosphere, culinary culture and history. Take a walk through the oldest districts of Paris, such as the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, the Marais, the village of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Bastille or the hills of Belleville.
The banks of the Seine offer one of the best walking paths in Paris! We recommend that you start your walk at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and continue eastwards towards the Pont Alexandre III, the Pont des Arts and the Pont Neuf. Cross the bridge to enter the Ile de la Cité, and you will find yourself right in front of the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ascending the hilly steps of Butte Montmartres will grant you a breathtaking view of the city, as well as a chance to visit the iconic Sacrécoeur, a magnificent Roman Catholic church and Basilica. The Basilica is open daily from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm for visitors to explore, but an entrance fee is required for access to the dome and crypt.
Back in 1988, an abandoned railway was transformed into the world's inaugural elevated park walkway. The starting point of this walkway, which occasionally sits 10 meters above street level, is located at the intersection of rue de Lyon and avenue Daumesnil. Stroll through this scenic path and soak in the panoramic views of Paris, marvel at the impressive divide between two modern structures, bask in the greenery, and catch a glimpse of the 'Viaduct des Arts'.
If you enjoy visiting museums, it is nice to know that there are some in Paris that you can visit for free:
Musée des Arts et Métiers art: Free on the 1st Sunday of the month and Friday between 06:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m.
Musée d'Art Moderne: Free access to the permanent collection all year.
Musée du Louvre: Free of charge daily all year if you are under 18 or under 26 for residents of the European Economic Area (EU, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein)
Centre Pompidou: Free of charge every first Sunday of the month.
Musée de la Légion d’honneur et des ordres de Chevalerie: Free of charge daily, all year.
Parks and gardens are the perfect places to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life! Whether you want to have a picnic or go for a walk, we highly recommend visiting our favourites: Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Parc Monceau, Bois de Boulogne, Parc Belleville or one of the many other parks you might come across while exploring the city.
You can't visit Paris without taking a stroll down one of the most renowned avenues in Paris, and perhaps even the world! The Champs-Élysées stretches from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, and offers an ideal destination for window shopping. Browse the plethora of renowned brand-name stores and you may even spot a celebrity or two.
Most Parisians come to the daily street market to get their fresh products, such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and bread. Since the Middle Ages, people have been selling their supplies here from market stalls. It is definitely worth visiting this market as you will get an authentic French market experience. Keep in mind that the market is closed on Sunday afternoons and Mondays. Also visit one of the other markets in Paris, such as Le marché couvert Beauvau and Marché couvert Saint-Germain.
Admire the remarkable street art in the various districts of Paris. The city has amazing works of graffiti with playful designs and monumental murals. Keep your eyes open among the many districts, where a new masterpiece can pop up in every street and alley. Even though each arrondissement has its own charm, it is highly recommended to take a self-guided street art walk in the 13th arrondissement, where you will see some huge murals.