Top 10 Free Things To Do In Paris – The Best French Experiences That Don’t Cost A Thing
It seems like everywhere you look in Paris, there is something to see – amazing architecture, fascinating museums and (expecially in spring and summertime) exquisite gardens and palaces. It’s no wonder places like Montmartre inspired whole artistic movements, or that the city continues to inspire movies, songs and books by the thousands each year.
But the best thing about Paris has to be that there is also no shortage of amazing things that you can do for FREE. Yes, free! Better still, there are activities for all tastes.
Here is TripShooter’s list of the Top Ten Free Things To Do In Paris.
1. The Musee Carnavalet
The Musee Carnavalet is tucked in the Marais, not far from the Place des Vosges. It’s an amazing museum for so many reasons. First, because it is a museum about the history of Paris, which is a great thing to visit when you want to understand the rich and interesting history of the place that you are visiting. On top of this, it is housed in a historic building that is beautiful in and of itself. Finally, there is a sense of passage as you pass through the rooms – you can start with the prehistoric history of Paris, and move through time as you move through the rooms and corridors. The Musee Carnavalet is one of our favourite museums in Paris, and it is always completely free.
2. Les Berges
Les Berges is a closed-off road that used to see traffic getting the best views of the Seine. It’s now been opened to pedestrians, skateboards, rollerskates, and any other fun kinds of riverside transport. At different times of year, they host different activities by the water (for example, in winter you can play board games and table tennis in an enormous heated tent), and all year round you can hire little glass cubicles (for free) to relax with friends in, play music, dance, picnic, or whatever you can imagine.) Stretching 2.3km along the Seine, from Pont de l’Alma to the Pont Royale, it has a great vibe and is a must-see for free.
3. Printemps Rooftop Terrace
On top of the grand magasin Printemps, there is a secret and amazing view that you won’t get anywhere else in Paris. Take the elevator to the top floor, then an escalator for a final level, to arrive at the Rooftop Terrace. It’s a café with one of the most special views you’ll ever see- 360 degrees from Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower, and everything in between. There’s plenty of room to stroll around and just take in the kind of breath-taking beauty that Paris is famous for.
4. Rue Denoyez and the Parc de Belleville
Rue Denoyez is an urban art-lovers dream, with so much street art packed into one little street. Take a wander up and down, and then explore the rest of the Belleville neighbourhood, which is much more urban and gritty than other parts of Paris. If you wander up the hill, you’ll find the Parc de Belleville, also free. At 108 metres elevation, it’s the highest park in Paris, and with panoramic views across Paris, it’s a great place for taking in this beautiful city.
5. Arènes de Lutèce
This is an fantastic place to visit for history-buffs, because you literally turn off the busy Rue Monges and into a genuine, amazingly-preserved Roman colosseum. Hidden under earth from the 1200s until Haussman’s excavations uncovered it in the 1860s, nowadays it’s been turned into a lovely little park. Bring a sandwich and sit on the grass, imagining Paris when it was still called Lutetia.
5. La Coulée Verte (Promenade Plantée)
Running 4.5 km through the 12th arrondisement from Bastille to Vincennes, this charming elevated pathway was immortalised in the romantic movie “Before Sunset”. Covering the space formerly held by an old viaduct, it’s a beautiful place for a relaxed walk amongst the rose bushes, high above the Parisian streets.
6. Les Bouquinistes
Along the Seine on the left bank, a Paris tradition continues: “Les Bouquinistes”, Paris’s used book sellers, create an authentic and antique atmosphere beside the bustling Seine. Although taking photos can be frowned upon, browsing through their many old, often unique and sometimes ancient wares is a lovely way to pass a sunny afternoon in Paris.
7. Fresh Food Markets
Dotted across Paris, on different days of the week, various streets and laneways host delicious fresh food markets. It’s a great place to wander, to see the many gourmet and artisanal delights that Paris is rightly famous for. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses, fresh flowers and even jewellery are just some of the things you can find on a market stroll.
8. The Cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of Paris’s most famous monuments, and is famously just as beautiful. Surrounded by gardens you can wander through or picnic in, you can also take in the visual fancies indoors, and appreciate one of Paris’s most beautiful buildings from the inside. While there are entry fees for the Cathedral Tower Visit and the Treasury, entry into the Notre Dame itself is free, and worth braving the crowds for.
9. Les Passages Couvertes
In the days before shopping malls and retail strips, the Covered Passages were Paris’s answer to retail therapy. Today, they’re much more quiet, containing mostly unique boutique shops and gorgeous cafes, but the stunning architecture and uniqueness of each make them a beautiful – and truly French – way to pass the time. Perfect for window shopping and also gorgeous photo opportunities.
10. The Champs de Mars
The Champ de Mars, with the imposing, beautiful and utterly unique landmark of the Eiffel Tower at its end, is a wonderful way to pass some free time in Paris. Take in the view, kick a ball, have a picnic, watch the pony rides, the carousels and toy car tracks, feed the ducks, or simply bring along a guitar and make your own happiness.
Tags: France, Free Stuff, Inspiration, Paris, Things To Do