50 Free Things to Do in Paris

50 Free Things to Do in Paris: A Comprehensive Guide

50 Free Things to Do in Paris


Embrace the Magic of Paris on a Budget

Paris, the enchanting capital of France, beckons travelers with its rich history, timeless elegance, and captivating landmarks. However, many assume that exploring the City of Lights must come with a hefty price tag. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unlock the secret to experiencing the magic of Paris without spending a fortune. From iconic attractions to lesser-known gems, we’ve curated a list of 50 absolutely free activities that will leave you in awe of this magnificent city. Embrace your inner flâneur and embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Paris, all while keeping your wallet happy.

Stroll Along the Seine: Romance in Every Step

As you arrive in Paris, let the Seine River welcome you with open arms. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbanks, hand in hand with your loved one, or simply enjoy the scenic beauty solo. Admire the iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral from a distance, and feel the romantic ambiance that has inspired countless artists and writers over the centuries.

Notre-Dame Cathedral: Marvel at Gothic Grandeur

Make your way to the Île de la Cité and marvel at the awe-inspiring Notre-Dame Cathedral. This architectural masterpiece is a stunning example of Gothic design, with its intricate facades and majestic towers. Watch how they carefully restore the Cathedral after the Notre Dame fire. On 15 April 2019, just before 18:20 CEST, a structural fire broke out in the roof space of the Cathedral  Don’t forget to snap a photo of the famous gargoyles that guard the cathedral and immerse yourself in the history that has unfolded within its walls.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica:

50 Free Things to Do in Paris

Climb the steps to Montmartre and discover the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a beacon of spirituality and tranquility. The basilica’s interior boasts stunning mosaics and intricate artwork, while its dome offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city below. Take a moment to reflect and find solace in this serene haven.

Le Marais: A Historic Neighborhood

Le Marais, a charming and historic neighborhood, beckons with its narrow streets and centuries-old architecture. Lose yourself in the labyrinth of alleys, and stumble upon delightful cafes, boutiques, and art galleries. It’s a perfect place to indulge in a leisurely day of exploration. Located in the heart of Paris, Le Marais is a vibrant and historic neighborhood that exudes a unique charm and allure. As one of the city’s oldest districts, Le Marais boasts a rich history, dating back to the medieval era. Its name, which means “the marsh” in French, originates from the area’s marshy landscape, which has since been transformed into a bustling hub of culture, art, and gastronomy. This neighborhood has so much to offer and definitely deserves to be on our 50 Free Things to Do in Paris list.

Walking through the cobbled streets of Le Marais is like stepping back in time. The neighborhood’s architecture is a blend of medieval, Renaissance, and classic Parisian styles, making it a living museum of architectural wonders. As you explore, you’ll encounter elegant mansions, known as “hôtels particuliers,” with ornate facades and intricate details. These mansions were once the residences of nobility and aristocrats, lending an air of grandeur to the area.

Le Marais is also known for its Jewish heritage, and the neighborhood is home to a thriving Jewish community. The Rue des Rosiers, in particular, is famous for its Jewish delis, bakeries, and shops. Exploring this area offers a glimpse into the rich traditions and customs of the Jewish culture in Paris.

A visit to Le Marais wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the beautiful Place des Vosges. As the oldest square in Paris, it exudes timeless elegance with its symmetrical architecture, tree-lined walkways, and beautifully manicured gardens. Take a moment to relax on one of the benches and soak in the serene atmosphere.

Enjoy a Picnic at Jardin des Tuileries:

Jardin des Tuileries

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Jardin des Tuileries, a stunning public garden located between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde. Grab some delicious French pastries and baguettes, and have a delightful picnic while admiring the sculptures, fountains, and vibrant flowerbeds.

Nestled between the iconic Louvre Museum and the majestic Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries is a breathtaking public garden that epitomizes the elegance and beauty of Parisian landscapes. Spanning 63 acres, this historic garden offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets, inviting both locals and visitors to bask in its serene ambiance and lush greenery.

The history of Jardin des Tuileries dates back to the 16th century when it was commissioned by Catherine de’ Medici, the queen consort of King Henry II of France. Originally designed as the gardens of the Tuileries Palace, the garden was inspired by the Renaissance gardens of Italy. Over the centuries, the garden underwent various transformations, including the addition of fountains, statues, and ornamental ponds. This is one of the most popular entries on our list of 50 Free Things to Do in Paris due to its proximity to the Louvre Museum.

At the heart of Jardin des Tuileries lies the Grand Bassin Octogonal, an octagonal pond flanked by majestic fountains. This centerpiece provides a picturesque setting and serves as a meeting point for visitors. Many come to relax by the pond, enjoy the reflection of the surrounding beauty, and perhaps even try their hand at sailing small wooden boats on its surface.

For families visiting the garden, the Tuileries Carousel offers a delightful experience. This charming vintage carousel features beautifully handcrafted wooden horses and other whimsical animals, creating cherished memories for children and adults alike.

Throughout the year, Jardin des Tuileries hosts various events and activities, making it a lively and dynamic space. From art exhibitions and outdoor concerts to seasonal fairs and cultural festivals, the garden offers something for everyone. Visitors can check local event listings to see what exciting happenings are taking place during their visit.

Champs-Élysées Promenade:

Stroll along the world-famous Champs-Élysées, one of the most iconic avenues in the world. Window-shop at luxury boutiques, people-watch from chic cafes, and soak in the grandeur of this historic thoroughfare.

Stretching from the majestic Arc de Triomphe to the historic Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées Promenade is one of the most iconic avenues in the world. Known simply as “Les Champs,” this grand boulevard is synonymous with elegance, luxury, and the epitome of Parisian charm. Lined with prestigious shops, theaters, cafés, and cultural landmarks, the Champs-Élysées Promenade exudes an air of sophistication that draws visitors from all corners of the globe.

The history of the Champs-Élysées dates back to the 17th century when it was commissioned by Louis XIV’s landscape architect, André Le Nôtre. Originally conceived as a royal garden, the avenue’s name translates to “Elysian Fields,” a reference to the paradise in Greek mythology reserved for heroes and the blessed after death. Over time, the avenue evolved into the iconic boulevard we know today.

The Champs-Élysées Promenade is dotted with several iconic landmarks, making it a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike. At the western end stands the imposing Arc de Triomphe, a monumental triumphal arch that honors those who fought and died for France. Visitors can climb to the top for panoramic views of Paris, with the avenue radiating from this central point.

Visit Place de la Concorde:

Visit Place de la Concorde

At the end of the Champs-Élysées, you’ll find Place de la Concorde, a historic square with a tumultuous past. Learn about its role during the French Revolution and marvel at the soaring Luxor Obelisk, a gift from Egypt to France.

Nestled between the iconic Champs-Élysées Promenade and the Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde is one of the most significant and historic squares in Paris. With its opulent fountains, majestic obelisk, and grand architectural features, the square is a testament to the city’s rich history and grandeur. While today it exudes a peaceful ambiance, Place de la Concorde has witnessed some of the most significant events in French history, including the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

Originally known as Place Louis XV, the square was commissioned by King Louis XV in the mid-18th century. However, it was during the French Revolution that the square gained its current name, Place de la Concorde, which symbolizes harmony and peace. The name change was intended to mark the end of the tumultuous period of the revolution and bring about a new era of reconciliation.

At the heart of Place de la Concorde stands the impressive Obelisk of Luxor, a 3,300-year-old ancient Egyptian monument. The obelisk was gifted to France by the ruler of Egypt in the early 19th century. It was transported from the Luxor Temple in Egypt and erected in the square in 1836. This monumental obelisk serves as a striking centerpiece, paying homage to ancient civilizations and their connections with France.

Every year on Bastille Day, July 14th, Place de la Concorde becomes the focal point of grand celebrations and festivities. The square hosts a magnificent military parade, showcasing the strength and unity of the French armed forces. It’s a day of national pride and joy, and the square becomes a hub of jubilant crowds and patriotic spirit.

Obelisk of Luxor Paris

Flanking the Obelisk of Luxor are two magnificent fountains known as Fontaines de la Concorde. These fountains feature impressive sculptures representing maritime themes, including cherubs, dolphins, and sea nymphs. The fountains add an element of grandeur to the square and provide a serene and calming atmosphere.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris:

Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary art. Explore masterpieces by artists like Picasso, Delaunay, and Braque without spending a single euro.

The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, also known as the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, is a captivating institution that showcases an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. Situated in the 16th arrondissement, near the Trocadéro Gardens and Eiffel Tower, this museum is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces that span the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris was established in 1961, and it remains one of the city’s key cultural hubs for modern and contemporary art. The museum’s collection encompasses an eclectic range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and multimedia works.

The permanent collection features a diverse array of artists, both French and international, from various artistic movements. Visitors can admire works by legendary artists such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Amedeo Modigliani, and Marc Chagall. The museum’s holdings also include significant pieces by modern masters like Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, and Alexander Calder.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts an array of temporary exhibitions. These exhibits often feature contemporary artists and explore current themes and artistic expressions. The museum’s commitment to contemporary art ensures that visitors can continuously engage with fresh and cutting-edge perspectives.

One of the most appealing aspects of this museum is that it offers free admission to its permanent collections. This generous policy allows art enthusiasts and curious visitors to immerse themselves in the world of modern art without any financial barriers, which is why we firmly believe it belongs on our list of 50 Free Things to Do in Paris.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont:

Escape to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a beautiful park teeming with lush greenery, waterfalls, and even a suspended bridge. Enjoy a serene afternoon surrounded by nature and take in breathtaking views of the city from its elevated points.

Tucked away in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Designed by landscape architect Jean-Charles Alphand and opened in 1867, this enchanting park boasts a unique and picturesque landscape, complete with rolling hills, a serene lake, and a captivating rocky island adorned with a charming temple.

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is unlike any other park in Paris, as it was created to resemble a natural landscape, complete with rocky cliffs, waterfalls, and lush greenery. Its design was inspired by picturesque English gardens and offers visitors a chance to experience a harmonious blend of nature and architecture.

Perched atop a rocky outcrop on an artificial island in the center of the park, the Temple de la Sibylle is one of the park’s most iconic features. This miniature Roman-style temple, resembling a Greek temple on an elevated pedestal, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the park and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a popular spot for visitors to take in the beauty of their surroundings and capture picturesque moments.


Panthéon Paris

Step into the Panthéon, a mausoleum honoring the great minds of France, including Voltaire, Rousseau, and Victor Hugo. The neoclassical architecture is a sight to behold, and the interior holds the tombs of prominent figures in French history.

Perched atop the picturesque Montagne Sainte-Geneviève in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Panthéon is an awe-inspiring mausoleum that pays tribute to the intellectual giants and great figures of French history. With its imposing neoclassical façade and soaring dome, the Panthéon stands as a symbol of intellectual prowess and national pride. Originally constructed as a church, it was later transformed into a secular mausoleum, holding the remains of some of France’s most influential thinkers, writers, scientists, and leaders.

The origins of the Panthéon can be traced back to the reign of King Louis XV, who vowed to build a grand church in honor of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. The church’s construction began in the mid-18th century, and it was designed by the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot. However, the completion of the Panthéon took several decades and saw multiple interruptions, including during the French Revolution.

Promenade Plantée:

The Promenade Plantée, also known as the Coulée Verte, is a unique and enchanting elevated park that stretches for nearly 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) along an abandoned railway viaduct in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. As the world’s first elevated park, it offers a one-of-a-kind experience that allows visitors to escape the city’s bustling streets and immerse themselves in a tranquil urban garden.

The history of the Promenade Plantée dates back to the mid-19th century when the railway viaduct was constructed to connect the Bastille railway station to the Vincennes train depot. However, with the decline of railway transport in the latter half of the 20th century, the viaduct fell into disuse. Instead of demolishing this historic structure, visionary city planners and architects decided to transform it into an innovative green space that would enhance the quality of life for Parisians.

The success of the Promenade Plantée has inspired similar projects around the world, leading to the creation of elevated parks in various cities. It stands as a pioneer in the movement to reclaim urban spaces for nature and recreation, demonstrating the positive impact such projects can have on a city’s environment and livability.

Petit Palais:

Nestled within the enchanting surroundings of the 8th arrondissement, the Petit Palais, or “Little Palace,” houses an extraordinary collection of fine arts and decorative arts from the 19th and 20th centuries. With its stunning architecture, elegant gardens, and diverse art exhibits, the Petit Palais offers visitors an immersive journey through the rich cultural heritage of France.

The Petit Palais was built for the Universal Exposition held in Paris in 1900, showcasing the city’s commitment to celebrating art and culture. Designed by architect Charles Girault, the building exemplifies the Beaux-Arts architectural style, characterized by its grand façade, majestic domes, and ornate sculptures.

The Petit Palais is not just a museum; it’s a haven of tranquility in the heart of the city. Step into the peaceful garden adorned with fountains, sculptures, and lush greenery. The garden offers a serene escape from the urban hustle, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a moment of quiet contemplation.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Petit Palais is that it offers free admission to its permanent collections. This allows visitors to access a treasure trove of art and culture without any financial barrier. It’s a testament to the museum’s commitment to making art accessible to all.

Eiffel Tower at Night:

Witness the iconic Eiffel Tower come alive with dazzling lights after dusk. The Eiffel Tower’s light show occurs every evening, starting at sunset and lasting for about 5 minutes at the beginning of each hour until 1 a.m. It’s a magical sight and a must-see experience, offering a breathtaking view of the illuminated tower against the Parisian night sky.

More 50 Free Things to Do in Paris

Paris offers a treasure trove of free experiences that allow travelers to embrace the city’s enchanting allure without breaking the bank. From strolling along the Seine River to immersing yourself in artistic masterpieces, each free activity offers a unique glimpse into the soul of Paris. So, don your most comfortable shoes, grab a map, and let the City of Lights enchant you with its timeless beauty and cultural richness—all without spending a single penny. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, Paris promises to leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul. Come discover more 50 Free Things to Do in Paris.

Remember, the essence of Paris lies not in extravagant excursions but in the simple joys that can be found around every corner. So, venture beyond the beaten path, follow the scent of freshly baked croissants and uncover the hidden gems that make Paris truly special. Bon voyage, and may your journey through the City of Lights be one of wonder, discovery, and everlasting memories.


Q: Is Paris an expensive city to visit? A: While Paris is known for its luxury offerings, there are plenty of free activities and attractions that cater to budget-conscious travelers. With careful planning, it’s entirely possible to enjoy the beauty of Paris without overspending.

Q: Can I visit the Eiffel Tower for free? A: While accessing the Eiffel Tower’s observation decks requires a ticket, you can still admire its grandeur from the outside without spending a dime. Enjoy a picnic at Champ de Mars or Trocadéro Gardens for stunning views. Perhaps we could include this on our list of 50 Free Things to Do in Paris.

Q: Are there any free museums in Paris? A: Yes, Paris offers several free museums, including Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais, and Musée Carnavalet. These institutions showcase impressive collections of art and history without an admission fee.

Q: What are the best free parks to visit in Paris? A: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Jardin des Tuileries, and Parc Monceau are among the best free parks in Paris. Each offers a unique atmosphere and beautiful landscapes for leisurely walks or picnics.

Q: How do I get around Paris on a budget? A: Opt for a Navigo Découverte pass or Paris Visite pass for unlimited travel on public transportation. Walking is also an excellent way to explore the city.

Best 50 Free Things to Do in Paris

So if we had to make a summary of our most favorite 50 Free Things to Do in Paris, we would struggle to list them all, but I would suggest at least the top 5 should belong in the 50 Free Things to Do in Paris list.

Eiffel Tower at Night

  1. Eiffel Tower at Night
  2. Sacré-Cœur Basilica
  3. Seine River Walk
  4. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
  5. Jardin des Tuileries

Travelling further afield from Paris, we would recommend you read more about our article on French Beach WW2 locations

2 thoughts on “50 Free Things to Do in Paris”

Leave a Comment