Paris at twilight
Things to do

13 free things to do in Paris

Ah, Paris, one of the classic and timeless travel destinations. No matter what your reason for visiting, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do in Paris, and definitely plenty of things to eat and drink!

But, if you’re trying to save your money for your unforgettable meals and bottles of wine, here are some ways to save on your trip when it comes to activities in the City of Light.

Check out our favorite free things to do in Paris!

Paris, France

Free Paris walking tour

Discover Walks offers a few free walking tours of Paris, so you can visit the major landmarks and learn a thing or two about the city’s history as you go. Their free Paris tours include: Montmartre Tour, Trendy Marais Tour, Paris Landmarks, Notre Dame and the Heart of Paris Tour, the Latin Quarter Left Bank Tour, Saint-Germain and the River, and the Hidden Gems and Secret Paris Tour. These tours are about 75 – 90 minutes in length and cover the many highlights of the city.

While some of their tour options are free, tips are greatly appreciated for a job well done by the tour guides.

Free First Sundays in Paris

Plan your trip at the beginning of the month to enjoy free admission to the major museums on the first Sunday of each month. Check out the works at the Musee d’Orsay, the Pompidou Center, and Musee national Picasso on these fee-free days. There are about 20+ museums that participate in the program year-round, and the Louvre is free on the first Sunday from October 1 – March 31.

Or, you can visit the 14 museums owned by the city for free year-round! This includes the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Musee de la Vie Romantique!

French wine

Free wine tastings

It’s easy to find wine bars and little bistros with amazing bottles of wine, but if you’re planning your own picnic in the park and don’t want to botch up the wine purchase, enjoy free wine tasting at La Derniere Goutte and Le Caves Auge. Check out their websites or social media pages for more information on when they’re hosting complimentary wine tastings before visiting. The staff at both wine cellars are very knowledgeable about French wines and happy to help you make the right selection for your special occasion.

Walk around the Arc de Triomphe

It does take a ticket to get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, but for free you can walk around the base and take in the impressive details that went into this beautiful piece of architecture. See the eternal flame for the Unknown Soldier and marvel at the traffic in the roundabout – just do not forget to take the tunnel under the street for a safe return.

The Arc de Triomphe also participates in the free first Sundays, but only from November 1 – March 31.

Eiffel Tower

View the Eiffel Tower

You can’t visit Paris and miss this icon! There are many options for photo opportunities in Paris of the tower. Get shots of the tower from Place de Trocadero for great shots with the fountains in the foreground. One of the most popular ways to enjoy the landmark like a local is to have a picnic in the park and bask in the sun. You can easily buy some economical meats, cheeses, bread, and fruit from the supermarket and then enjoy your goodies al fresco.

Be sure to return at night for a free dazzling display!

Visit Notre Dame

A visit inside this stunning cathedral is free of charge! If you want to go up to the top, you’ll need a ticket, but simply wandering around inside the massive church is enough for many travelers. See the gorgeous stained glass windows, the religious artifacts, and learn more about the cathedral’s history and construction as you tour this icon. After exploring inside, enjoy the public plaza in front of the cathedral or get pictures from all sides by walking around the giant church.

See the view from Sacre Coeur

This basilica is worth the trek, and even more so if you climb the stairs to soak up the view of Paris below you. It follows the Eiffel Tower as the second highest point in the city, so you’re sure to snap some amazing pics from this landmark. Though the church looks like it’s been a part of the city for hundreds of years it only opened in 1914!

Moulin Rouge in Paris

Enjoy a Moulin Rouge stop

Get your pics and do some can-can kicks at the Moulin Rouge! Even if you don’t attend a show, the colorful windmill and entertainment venue is fun to see while walking around Paris. You can knock two of these out in one by combining a visit to Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge in one afternoon.

Check out Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Pull a Ben Wyatt and feast your eyes on the reality-bending bridge from Inception! Otherwise known as Pont de Bir-Hakeim, this stop is fun for fans of the movie and of the show Parks and Recreation.

Stroll the neighborhoods

Getting lost in a city is one of our favorite ways to explore and there are plenty of beautiful neighborhoods in Paris just waiting for your next adventure. Take a walk through the idyllic streets and do some window shopping, or earmark a future restaurant or bakery for a return visit with some cash. Discover the streets of Paris in these popular neighborhoods:

  • Montmartre
  • Le Marais
  • The Latin Quarter

Jardin du Luxembourg

Take a jaunt around the jardins

Paris is home to plenty of beautiful parks and enjoying them is free of charge! Stroll around the popular Jardin du Luxembourg or discover the Jardin des Tuileries. Both are great for people watching, photo opportunities, a relaxing walk surrounding by greenery, or just a place to rest and recharge before your next activity.

Take in the views at Parc de Buttes-Chaumont

Make the climb to the top for unbelievable view of Paris and be sure to stop by the waterfall! You won’t want to forget your camera for your trek to the top. The city’s fifth largest park is also known as a great location for birders. Find it in the 19th arrondissement!

Pay your respects at the Cimitiere du Montparnasse

A bit on the dark side, but this beautiful cemetery is a great place to escape the crowds and see the headstones for some famous Parisians. Another option if you want to see the city’s cemeteries is the haunted Pere Lachaise.

What are your favorite free things to do in Paris? Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

Can’t get enough of Paris? Check out our 10 can’t-miss experiences or plan your getaway with our relaxed Paris itinerary!

Birds in front of the Eiffel Tower

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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