Ah, Paris. The City of Lights (or the city of enlightenment, depending on who you ask). The City of Monet, Chanel, Cocteau, and Balzac. The city of holy hell, a studio apartment costs HOW much?
If you’re penny pinching in Paris, you may be at a loss for things to do. But not to worry! Check out some of these free things to do in Paris, and kiss the boredom goodbye– while still hanging onto those sweet, sweet euros.
10 AWESOME free things to do in Paris!
1. Admire the skyline from the Sacre Coeur
If you’re in Montmartre, a must-do is to head up to the Sacre Coeur. Personally, I recommend going first thing in the morning, before the endless crowds of (locusts) tourists swarm in.
A quiet, clear view of Paris is priceless. And as a bonus, the Sacre Coeur is free to enter too!
2. Go to the Eiffel Tower after hours
When in Paris, the first stop is typically the Eiffel Tower. But the huge line to go up in the tower and the throngs of people everywhere are discouraging and overwhelming. I get a 1000-yard stare just thinking about it.
Solution? Go after midnight. The lights are off, the tourists are fast asleep in their overpriced beds, and you can sit around and ponder the incredible feat in engineering for as long as you want. Serenity.
3. Have a picnic
Light on cash? Buy some cheese, choose a favorite bottle of wine, and lay out your favorite blanket on the grass of the Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. You can’t beat that view– nor the savings!
4. First Sundays
Planning a trip for the first Sunday of the month? If not, you might want to consider it: there is a ton of free stuff to do in Paris on the 1st Sunday of each month. It’s museums galore.
And, if you’re planning on being in Paris from October or November till the end of March, you’ll even get free access to the Palace of Versailles or the Louvre. Not a bad deal!
5. Notre Dame
This one speaks for itself. What’s a trip to Paris without marveling at the Notre Dame’s exquisite stained glass windows?
And it’s totally free.
6. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (or MaM)
Love contemporary art? You’re in luck. A quick walk from the Eiffel Tower, the MaM boasts free admission year round. Get your Picasso on!
7. Maison de Victor Hugo
More of a book worm than an artist? Then the Victor Hugo House is calling you. The beloved author lived and worked on the 2nd floor of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée for 16 years, writing a large chunk of Les Miserables during his stay.
And if you still haven’t had your fill of old haunts of famous writers, swing by the Maison de Balzac– which is also free!
8. Musée Curie – Institut du radium
Are you a bit of a mad scientist at heart? Tour the laboratories of Madame Curie herself! It was in these labs that Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie discovered artificial radioactivity, changing the course of science and mankind forever. Admission is free, but you might have to pay extra for the radium.
(Don’t worry, the offices and laboratories have been thoroughly decontaminated!)
9. Petit Palais
If your funds are dwindling after a long day shopping on the Champs-Elysées, then take a quick walk over to the nearby Petit Palais.
This stunning palace was built in 1900, but it is home to more than 1300 artistic works that date back to ancient and medieval times. They even have a great Monet collection!
And with a garden and cafe on the grounds, it’s the ideal place to get lost before payday.
10. Musée de Cluny
In Paris’ 15th arrondissement, the medieval world is calling you back in time at the Musée de Cluny.
Began in 1334 and rebuilt in 1485, the Hôtel de Cluny is a living testament to Paris’ medieval history. It even has the remains of a Roman bath for you to explore!
Home to the six The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la licorne) tapestries, you won’t be disappointed spending a day here. And with free year-round admission, your wallet will thank you!
And these are just to start. With options like these, you don’t need Marie Antoinette money to see the best of Paris!