a hammock on a beach

12 Free Things to See / Do in Paris

Share this post

On Saturday, I shared a post about Thierry Millet, the Last Artisanal Umbrella Repairman in Paris, so let the Paris love continue. I have friends who go to Paris and never seem to spend much money! I’ve always wondered how that’s possible because for many, including myself, a Parisian trip means beaucoup bucks! So I put my frugal pride aside and finally asked them about the free things they do in Paris that seem to save them from spending so much money.

1. Take a tour. They told me about Sandemans New Europe. Expats guide you around Paris for free. Tours last about 3 hours.

a screenshot of a website

Sandemans New Europe Paris Free Walking Tour. Image source: http://www.neweuropetours.eu/paris/en/home

2. Explore classical museums. Some museums are completely free. Last time my friends were in Paris, the Musee des Arts et Metiers was free every Thursday after 6 PM, and the Europeenne de la Photographie was free Wednesdays after 5 PM. You’ll avoid the busy touristy hours and avoid paying a fee.

a screenshot of a website

Maison Europeenne de la Photographie. image source: https://www.mep-fr.org/english/

3. Watch free movies in the park. If you’re a fan of French films (I am), check out the Open-Air Cinema in Parc de la Villette. They have free monthly films. As the French do, be sure to bring a picnic and some wine!

a large group of people sitting on grass

Parc de la Villette. Image source: https://lavillette.com/en/

4. Enjoy the Paris Jazz Festival. During the summer, there’s always live music in the streets of Paris. The annual Jazz Festival runs from June 7- June 26 and is completely free.

a group of people playing instruments on a stage with a crowd watching

Paris Jazz Festival. Image source: http://www.baroquelifestyle.com/sportsandentertainment/2015/5/25/paris-jazz-festival-2015

5. See the Paris Quartier L’Ete. If you enjoy circus acts, theater performances, and fashion shows, you can see them throughout Paris from July 14 – August 9th. And they are free!

a large group of people sitting on the steps of Sacré-Cœur, Paris

Paris Quartier D’Été. Image source: http://grand-hotel-francais-charme-marais-bastille.com/paris-quartier-dete/

6. Like free samples of food? I don’t know the French words for food samples, but that could be Paris’ nickname. Especially the Rue Mouffetard, where you can walk along the streets and try everything from regional cheese to fresh baked bread.

a group of people walking on a street

Rue Mouffetard. Image source: http://www.travelsignposts.com/Paris/food/rue-mouffetard

7. Enjoy a free cooking class. It’s true that people do go to Paris to learn how to cook, and they pay a lot for the experience. But you can also enjoy free, seasonal cooking demonstrations at Marche d’Anvers.

a market with different types of vegetables

Marché Anvers. Image source: https://www.timeout.com/paris/en/shopping/marche-anvers

8. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. You may think it’s weird, but I like visiting cemeteries when I travel. This cemetery in Paris is a really interesting one, not only because of who’s buried there but also because of the lush landscape. It’s considered a garden cemetery.

a stone road with a stone structure and trees

Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. Image source: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71470/Cimetiere-du-Pere-Lachaise

9. Cathedral de Notre Dame. It’s one of the most infamous churches in the world and well worth a visit. There’s no entry fee, though you may want to buy a candle to light at the altar.

a large white building with towers and people in front with Notre Dame de Paris in the background

Cathedral de Notre Dame. Image source: http://www.aviewoncities.com/paris/notredame.htm

10. Explore the flea markets. Flea markets are not really my thing but my friends like them. Even if you don’t spend any money, there is plenty to see at the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen. It’s huge!

a man talking on a cell phone in a street

Marché aux Puces St-Ouen. Image source: https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/paris-saint-ouen-flea-market/

11. Enjoy a free concert. On Sunday nights, enjoy free classical concerts at the American Church in Paris. The concerts have been going on since the early 1930’s and have become a Parisian tradition.

a church with many people sitting in pews

American Church in Paris. Image source: https://www.acparis.org

12. Visit vineyards. October is harvest month, so it’s really fun to explore the vineyards and see the freshly crushed grapes. On the Rue des Saules is a beautiful vineyard, Clos Montmartre with wonderful views of Paris. It’s the last remaining vineyard in Paris.

a green field with red leaves

Clos Montmartre. Image source: http://www.mygola.com/clos-montmartre-p35905/images

I hope some of these suggestions from my frugal friends give you some new ideas. Do you have any of your own to add? Let’s grow this list!

Share this post

5 thoughts on “12 Free Things to See / Do in Paris

  1. Guy

    #7 is a picture of Antwerp Market in Belgium, not Marché Anvers in Paris. Anvers is the French name of Antwerp. For a travel blog, this is a pretty basic mistake.

    1. Shelli Post author

      HI Guy, Grant pulled up the Belgian photo, so we’ll get that changed. Thanks for letting us know! Now you’ve got me thinking of the great meals I had in Brussels :)


Got something to say?