33 Best Free Things to Do in Paris: Perfect For Budget Travel

Home » Paris » 33 Best Free Things to Do in Paris: Perfect For Budget Travel

Paris can be an expensive city to explore, but thankfully, if you’re visiting this city on a budget, there are still plenty of things to enjoy! In this Paris travel guide, you will find over 30 fun and free things to do in Paris that will keep your wallet happy.

Many of are top city attractions, so you won’t even feel like you’re missing out!

Read: First time visiting? Make sure to check out these Paris Travel Tips to Know Before You Go (will open on a new page)!

Best Free things to do in Paris
IN A RUSH? PIN IT FOR LATER!
Sacre Coeur Cathedral is one of the best free things to do in Paris.
Sacre Coeur Cathedral is one of the best free things to do in Paris.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.


Walk Under Arc de Triomphe

There are tons of free monuments in Paris, but Arc de Triomphe is certainly one of the best. Arc de Triomphe is likely one of the most well-known monuments in Paris and around the world.

It is a beloved symbol of French history and was completed in 1836. Visitors marvel at the insanely intricate details of the Arc, which reflect scenes of Napoleon’s victories. 

Samantha standing under Arc de Triomphe wearing a brown pea coat black and white skirt with long black boots.

Enjoy watching all the cars and scooters drive through the giant roundabout that surrounds this monument, take photos, and walk under the giant arch.

While you can climb the 284 stairs to the top of the arch for 17.27 Euros, simply seeing the arch up close from the outside is an incredible experience and worth ticking off your bucket list. I have also been to the top, and it’s not necessary in my honest opinion.

How to Get Here: There is a Metro stop located underneath the Arc De Triomphe; this is Charles de Gaulle – Etoile on Metro line 1.

Arrondissement: Between 16th, 17th, and 8th

One of the best free things to do in Paris is visit Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower Picnic at Champ de Mars

You simply can’t visit without heading straight for the Eiffel Tower – especially if this is your first time in Paris. The Eiffel Tower was built from 1887 to 1889 and became one of the most beloved landmarks across the globe.

And thankfully for us, taking in the views of the Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars Park, which sits below the Eiffel Tower, is one of the best free things to do in Paris!

To get the most out of your trip, pack a picnic and head straight for the grass that is right by the Eiffel Tower. If you forget to bring champagne or wine, you will find people walking around selling it!

champs de mars tour Eiffel
champs de mars tour Eiffel

As a bonus, if you wait on line for the Eiffel Tower, you can hang out inside the little park for free without going up the tower along with being able to stand right under it.

Paris Travel Tip: To avoid overwhelming crowds, head here early in the morning.

Samantha standing under the Eiffel Tower wearing a brown pea coat black and white skirt with long black boots.

Read: Ultimate 5 Days in Paris Itinerary

Sunrise at Trocadero Gardens

If you love photography or want to enjoy a special moment, visit the Trocadero Gardens for sunrise! The Trocadero Gardens are located in the 16th arrondissement and offer stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.

Aside from lining up with the Eiffel Tower, making it one of the top Instagrammable spots in Paris, it also has beautiful fountains and lawns to lounge on afterward. When visiting during the summer, the warm breeze from the fountains is a refreshing way to start the day.

Travel Tip: Be very wary of things in these big tourist spots, as this is where a lot of pickpocketing happens. Don’t put your things down, and have all important items secured.

How to Get Here: To find the Trocadero Gardens, exit Metro Line 6 or  9 and walk through the plaza.

Eiffel Tower is a top attraction to visit with 5 days in Paris

Eiffel Tower Sparking at Night

The Eiffel Tower is certainly becoming a theme of free things to do in Paris, but I mean, how can it not? One of the most magical experiences I’ve had in while here is seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Frankly, it is also one of the top nighttime activities in Paris.

Samantha wearing a red dress at night standing at Port Debilly with the Eiffel tower sparkling

The Eiffel Tower has a trigger that sparks 20,000 lightbulbs for 5 minutes after each hour starting at nightfall. One of the best free viewing points to watch the Eiffel Tower light show happen is at Port Debilly. Just go right below the Pont d’Iéna Bridge (with maybe a bottle of wine) and enjoy the views!

Eiffel tower lit up at night - Paris travel tips

Visit Sacré Coeur Basilica

The stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in Paris dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Located at the top of Montemarte, this church opened in 1875. Because this church is always free to visit, the best time to visit is early in the morning – however, the line does move.

Sacre Coeur Basilica is a top attraction in Paris

While here, you should also visit the dome, which offers panoramic views of the city and, but costs 5 Euros. The line is to the lefthand side and consists of 300 stairs to the top!

Inside, discover outstanding Parisian architecture and extensive history. There are many chapels to explore inside and an incredible mosaic of Christ in Glory. 

inside Sacré-Cœur Basilica

After exploring, make sure to check out Square Louise Michel, just below the church. If you head down the stairs to Carrousel de Saint-Pierre, it offers a beautiful view of the Carrousel with the church.

Also, when making your way down the stairs, you can see the optical illusion house – better known as the sinking house on your lefthand side. Just tilt your camera!

Read: Top 10 Best Things to Do in Paris – Perfect for those on a short trip!

How to Get Here: Access the Sacre Coeur by the Metro, Lines 2 or 12. I suggest Lamarck – Caulaincourt station, this way you can walk down some of the most charming streets in Montmartre. 18th arrondissement.

For those who struggle with stairs, there is also the Funiculaire Gare Basse that will help bring you to the top. This is a very hilly area.

Opening Hours: Visit the Sacré-Cœur any day of the week from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM. Dome access starts at 10:30 AM.

The Sinking House in Paris
The Sinking House

Explore Montmartre

Speaking of Montmartre, there is no better way to enjoy a budget-friendly day in Paris than just wandering around the charming neighborhood of Montmartre.

Cobbled streets, charming shops, and picturesque cafes await you.

Watch the artists paint at Place du Tertre, stroll down Rue de l’Abreuvoir, take pictures in front of La Maison Rose and Le Consulat, and go by the Wall of Love, which was recently featured in Emily in Paris, and has gained some extra popularity. The phrase “I love you” is written in over a hundred different languages. 

Artist painting in Montmartre.
 La Maison Rose
La Maison Rose

You can even visit the nearby Moulin Rouge to take a picture of the iconic windmill.

Make sure you have comfortable shoes for this area, as it is very hilly with uneven cobblestones.

Read: Instagrammable Places in Paris

Moulin Rouge in Paris

Enjoy the Free Views at Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace

For breathtaking views of the city, head to one of the best free rooftops in Paris; Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace. The terrace can be found on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement.

The Galeries Lafayette is actually an incredible shopping mall with a gaint and beautiful stained glass dome. The department stores also feature 1900’s decor. Oh, and during the holidays, this shopping center gets decked to the brim with Christmas decorations.

Anyway, I recommend taking the escalators to the rooftop – not the stairs (unless you want a workout).

Some of the monuments seen from this location include the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Opera Garnier. It is also a great spot to catch the sunset.

Opening Hours: Everyday 10 AM to 8 PM

Lafayette Galleries Rooftop
Lafayette Galleries Rooftop

View the Notre Dame Cathedral

If you didn’t already know, the Notre Dame Cathedral was heavily damaged by a fire – so currently, you can only enjoy the Cathedral from the outside, however, it is still worth visiting from the outside!

The Notre Dame Cathedral was Built-in the 12th century on located on Île de la Cité. Every time I visit Paris, I love sitting on the outside benches and enjoying a baguette while taking in the scenery.

Did you know this is one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture? 

They hope to have Notre Dame open again in 2025.

How to Get Here: The metro station Cité and Gare De Saint-Michel Notre-Dame are located in front of this landmark. 4th arrondissement.

Notre Dame from across the river
Notre Dame in 2023

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Located in Northeast of the city, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont occupies 61 acres and is one of the largest parks in France. 

This location is ideal for those who have explored the popular attractions and now want to see Paris’ off-the-beaten-track locations.

This park is a wonderful green space that is a peaceful escape from the busy nature of the city. The park features a lake, bridges, and an awesome lookout viewpoint of the city from the Temple Sybille. It sits at the top of the cliff and is a replica of a famous Roman temple.

This area used to be a limestone quarry, so you will also find some small caves to explore. It is one of my favorite places for a more peaceful picnic.

How to Get Here: You can catch the 7B metro line or one of the many buses that have stops around the park.

Opening hours: Everyday 7 AM – 9 PM

Parc de Buttes Chaumont in Paris

Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg)

The Luxembourg Gardens began commission in 1612 when Marie de’ Medicia started to build her Palace, and they are incredibly beautiful to visit during the Spring and Summer.

Located between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, these stunning free gardens are definitely worth the visit.

Luxembourg Garden overlooking small fountain.

When visiting, you can stroll the lush 62-acre gardens and take a moment to escape the noise of the city. This is a popular garden for both locals and tourists to visit. You will often see locals getting their workouts in.

Near the large fountain, we even saw green parrots. If you’re interested in learning more, the park gardeners host guided tours every first Wednesday during the months of April to October.

How to Get Here: You can enter the garden from Boulevard Saint-Michel, rue du Vuagiraud, rue Guyenemer, rue Auguste-Comte, and rue Médicis. Metro Line 4, RER B, Bus Lines 21, 27, 58,84,89. 6th Arrondissement.

Opening Hours: 7:30 AM – 8:15 PM daily except for public holidays

Samantha standing in front of an empty fountain at luxembourg garden.
Where we saw parrots

Statue of Liberty in Paris

A Statue of Liberty in Paris? You read that right, and it is just one of five. This statue was gifted to France by USA citizens living in Paris to celebrate the French Revolution and is worth seeing while in here (even if just to confuse your friends about your whereabouts).

The statue can be found on the Cynes Isle by the Seine. The landmark is accessed by two bridges, the Grenelle, which will lead you closer to the statue, and the Bir Hakeim, which is a longer walk but is a great scenic route.

This is an ideal free attraction if you have visited before and have already seen the popular landmarks.

How to Get Here: The Metro will take you nearby to this location. The statue is about a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower.

View of Paris Statue of Liberty birds-eye view from the Eiffel Tower.
Statue of Liberty birds-eye view from the Eiffel Tower.

Walk Through Passage des Panoramas

Built-in 1799, the Passage des Panoramas walkway is a historical monument. This is also the oldest covered passage in Paris and one of the first covered passages in all of Europe, making this one of the more unique free things to do.

Paris Fun Fact: This passageway was the first of its kind to introduce gas lighting!

While here, soak in French culture with the perfect combination of shops and traditional cafes with remnants of the 1800s. 

You don’t have to spend anything while visiting, but you might not be able to help yourself when spending time browsing the quintessentially French souvenirs and admiring the architecture.

How to Get Here: The passage can be found between Montmartre Boulevard and Saint-Marc Street and can be accessed by train, Metro, or bus. 2nd Arrondissement.

Opening Hours: 6 AM – Midnight

Passage des Panoramas in Paris
photo: bellena/depositphotos

Explore All That Palais-Royal Has to Offer (Domaine national du Palais-Royal)

It’s no secret that the city is well known for its royal history, and one of the best palaces to experience for free is no other than Palais-Royal. This unique palace is often overlooked, making it feel like a hidden gem.

Palais-Royal Colonnes de Buren
Palais-Royal Colonnes de Buren

The Palais-Royal was designed in the 1630s and was formerly the home of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. During this time, it was called the Palais-Cardinal. Since then, Dukes and other prominent people called this their residence before opening up to the public, including the Orleans family.

Browse the historic shops that are mainly family-run businesses that have been open for decades or slow down and spend time in the gardens – Pure bliss!

Opening Hours: October 1 to March 31 from 8:30 AM to 8:30 AM; April 1 to September 30 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 PM

How to Get Here: By Metro Lines 1, 7, and 14 and by Bus Lines 21, 27, 39, 48, 69, 72, 81, 95 – A short walk from the Louvre

Looking through the columns to the Garden of Palais Royal with a lamp hanging in the middle and pink flowered trees in the background.

Attend a Free Walking Tour

Another great way to spend the day is by going on a free walking tour. To be fair, it is really “Pay as You Wish,” so you should certainly tip your guides, but this is a great budget-friendly thing to do.

During these free walking tours, you can learn more about the city in general or attend a more specialized tour of specific Paris neighborhoods.

These tours are ideal for first-timers as visitors can familiarize themselves with prominent areas of the city.

I would recommend tours around Montmartre and the Latin Quarter. Just search “Free walking tours in Paris,” and dozens will pop up. Just make sure to choose the correct language and read reviews.

Saint Michel Fountain - meet up for free walking tours in Paris
Rue de l’Abreuvoir

Walk Down Champs Élysées

Know as one of the most famous avenues in the world, Champs Elysees is a must-visit when in Paris. This avenue begins at Place de la Concorde and continues to Place Charles de Gaulle and definitely a great way to enjoy a budget-friendly day.

From incredible luxury shopping stores to major attractions such as Arc de Triomphe Place de la Concorde, it’s easy to understand why this location has gained popularity.

Spend time window shopping at designer shops, including Chanel, Cartier, and Gucci, and take in the sights.

A special aspect of Champs Elysees is how it changes throughout the seasons. In summer, find a vibrant atmosphere due to the Tour de France. Spring is filled with an abundance of blooming flowers, and the avenue lights up with sparkling Christmas lights during December.

Furthermore, each year around May and August, you can see a unique phenomenon for free. During this time, people gather to see the sun set directly between the arches of Arc de Triomphe!

How to Get Here: Start from either end of Arc de Triomphe Place de la Concorde. This area can be easily accessed by bus, Metro, and walking.

Champs-Élysées street with the Obelisk and arc de triomphe in the background

Seek the Best Eiffel Tower Views

The Eiffel Tower can be seen from various viewpoints throughout the city. However, with a bit of searching around, you can find some of the best free vantage points with gorgeous scenery and the magnificent Eiffel Tower standing tall in the background.

One of the best viewing locations is the Alexandre III Bridge. While here, discover ornate statues, whimsical lamp posts, and sweeping city views. I highly recommend a visit for sunset!

Other stunning and free locations to snap some pictures of the Eiffel Tower include:

  • From Le Recrutement
  • From the Street near Il Sorrentino
  • On Rue de l’Université Street, nearest to the Eiffel Tower
  • Promenade Marie de Roumanie
  • From Av. de New York on the wall
  • Avenue de Camoens
  • Bir Hakeim Bridge
  • Promenade Marie de Roumanie (great during Spring for flower blooms)
Avenue de Camoens Eiffel Tower view with Samantha wearing a black and white skirt, black shirt and long black boots.
Avenue de Camoens

Partake in Free Seasonal Events in Parc de la Villette

If you are looking for something outside of the normal touristy areas that is free and fun to do, check out Parc de la Villette. This park boasts over 80 acres and is one of the largest parks in Paris.

When visiting the park, many are often surprised at the stark contrast that they find. Instead of a traditional scenic park you might expect, you will instead be greeted with a more modern and futuristic green space.

What makes this park so cool is that they host free events throughout the year, making it a fun and unique way to experience the city.

Depending on the time of year, you can discover museums, themed gardens, Outdoor Cinema, and theatre shows. The main museums include the Science and Technology Museum and the Museum of Ancient Musical Instruments. You can check out the calendar here.

How to Get Here: It is located in the 19th arrondissement and there are several metro stations and bus lines that surround the park.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Explore Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde is one of Paris’ biggest public squares and frankly one of my favorites. For one, this square is very historical. A shocking 1,119 of the 2,498 people who were executed by guillotine were executed here, including Marie Antoinette.

You will also find the Luxor Obelisk, a 3,000-year-old Ancient Egyptian artifact that was gifted to France. The other Obelisk still stands outside the Luxor Temple in Egypt.

On either side, you also have two beautiful grand fountains that grace this square. The north fountain honors France’s rivers commerce and navigation, while the south fountain honors France’s maritime industry and trade.

Right behind the square, you will find the Jardin des Tuileries, and beyond the square, you will also see Arc de Triomphe. I just love it! Currently, however, there is a lot of construction going on around this area getting ready for the Olympics.

How to Get Here: Located near the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens. Metro 1,8,12 from Metro Station Concorde and several buses.

Place de la Concorde Obelisk Paris itinerary

Enjoy Free Museums

If the streets of Paris don’t feel like enough of a museum, you will also have access to a plethora of free museums.

A handful of museums are completely free of charge all year round. Plus, this is the perfect rainy day activity in Paris.

The list of free museums is extensive, but some of the most popular Museums you can visit for free include:

  • Petit Palais (fine arts museum and one of my favorites in the city for its stunning garden.
  • Musée de la Vie Romantique (Quaint museum that features 18th-century portraits, furniture, and jewelry)
  • Musee d’Art Moderne (A museum that is home to over 15,000 contemporary pieces of art).
  • Maison de Balzac (French novelist Honoré de Balzac)
  • Musee Bourdelle (Range of exhibition areas and gardens including sculptures)
  • Musee Carnavalet (Dedicated to the history of the city)
Petit Palais Garden with Samantha sitting at a table looking out the it.
Garden at Petit Palais

Take Advantage of Free Sunday Museums and Monuments

If you happen to be visiting during the first Sunday of the month, you can take advantage of seeing popular museums for no admission price.

Some of the best free museums to visit include:

Musée d’Orsay (One of my favorites), a museum housed in a former railway station and built-in 1900, this museum features paintings, furniture, photography, and sculptures that date back to 1848.

Musée d’Orsay in Paris is great on a rainy day
Musée d’Orsay

Musée National de l’Orangerie, which is known for holding the Water Lillies of Monet. If you don’t love Monet, I wouldn’t pay for this one.

Musee d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou which was opened in 1961 and now holds several contemporary art paintings and statues that date back to the 20th century. Currently Closed, double check if it is open again.

Musee des Arts et Metiers is another great option. Here, discover a museum that was founded in 1794 and now houses cutting-edge exhibits and galleries filled with contemporary art. Keep in mind, that while this museum does host several immersive events, only the permanent exhibit is free to access.

To find out whether a museum is open for free on a Sunday, you can check the tourism boards website along with the official museum’s website for opening hours details. Additionally, free Sundays are no secret, therefore, this is when museums see some of the largest crowds.

Musée National de l'Orangerie with Samantha standing in front of Monet's Water Lilly painting.

Snap Photos Outside the Louvre

One of the most iconic museums in Paris is easily the Louvre, and while it is not free to go inside, the outside of the museum is still worth a visit. Known for its unique glass pyramids, it is a top photo spot!

Stand on one of the pillars and make it look like you are holding the Louvre, or just pose right in front of it!

The best time to snap photos of the Louvre is early in the morning. If you visit on a Tuesday when the museum is closed, you will also be able to get some really nice photos! Additionally, the Louvre lights up at night, which is a fun new perspective of this landmark.

How to Get Here: You can reach the Louvre by metro lines Palais-Royal / Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) and Pyramides (line 14). Additionally, you can use Bus lines 21, 27, 39, 67, 68, 69, 72, 74, 85, 95.

Best Free things to do in Paris - photo in front of the Louvre

Peek Inside Shakespeare and Company

For the cutest bookshop experience, peek inside Shakespeare and Company. This boutique bookstore gives off all of the whimsical, charming vibes and was actually coined “the most famous bookstore in the world.” 

“I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations.” – George Whitman Bookshop Founder.

George Whitman actually adopted this name from another bookstore in 1964, and the shop continued to have a humble history.  During the years, the shop used to house writers and artists in exchange for them helping out at the bookstore.

With that in mind, since the bookstore opened in 1951, over 30,000 people have been recorded as sleeping in the beds (which are tucked away behind rows and rows of bookshelves).

I do recommend coming early because the lin gets long to go inside. It is also located near the adorable Odette Pastry Shop.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30 AM – 8 PM; Sunday: 12 PM to 7 PM

Samantha standing in front of Shakespeare and Company wearing a camel color jacket and black boots. The store has a green awning and people on line to the right.

Walk Across the Bridges of Paris

The Seine River is impossible to miss. Because of the river, the city is adorned with some of the most beautiful bridges that display gorgeous views of the city. – So much so that walking along these bridges is one of the best free activities to enjoy while visiting.

There are 37 bridges that cross over the river, but some of the most notable bridges to see up close include:

Pont Alexandre III has coined the nickname “the most beautiful bridge in the world.” Built between 1896 and 1900, this bridge has elaborate decorations and stunning statues that are placed on either side of the bridge. 

View of Pont Alexandre Bridge.

The ever-present Beaux-Arts design provides this bridge with an effortless elegance. It is also in a perfect location for a Parisian stroll as it is close to the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées Quarter.

Another stunning bridge is the Pont Neuf, which is the oldest bridge in Paris. Constructed in 1578, “Neuf” is the masculine word for “new” which today, the name has an incredible irony to it. The bridge has a medieval look and is right by Place Dauphine, which has charming town allies and streets to explore further.

Best Free Things to do in Paris - Cross the Bridges

We also can’t forget about the Pont Des Arts Bridge, formerly known as the “Love Lock Bridge.” Once brimming with the weight of thousands of locks equivalent to the weight of 20 elephants, this bridge was once believed that locking a lock around the bridge and throwing the key into the river would bring good luck. 

Now, due to the excessive weight of the locks, they have all been removed and the bridge has been restored to what it once was. Still, this bridge is a stunning visit and has an amazing view of the Louvre.

See the Outside of the Panthéon

Situated in the 5th arrondissement is the Panthéon. The Pantheon isn’t a widely recognized landmark, but still stands as a fantastic relic of French history.

The Panthéon was ordered to be built by King Louis XV in 1757 and is a strong symbol of the monarchy that history enthusiasts love to see.

While there is an admission price to go inside, getting to see the immaculate architecture of the building is still worth doing. The Pantheon is included during free Sunday entry as well.

If you happen to be visiting during the holidays, you can also enjoy beautiful Christmas decorations around this area.

How to Get Here: Cardinal Lemoine Metro or Luxembourg train station is nearby, along with several bus routes.

Opening Hours: 10 AM – 6:30 PM

View of the Pantheon is a great free activity.
View from Luxembourg Gardens

Walk Down the Colorful Street of Rue Crémieux

While the streets of Paris are effortlessly beautiful, Rue Crémieux offers a delightful pop of color. Find this secret street in the 12th arrondissement and discover a trendy little street with pastel-colored buildings.

While the street is rather small, around 10km wide, the street is bursting with character. The cobbled streets and planted flower pots fill this street with Parisian charm. Plus, this area is an off-the-beaten-track location and is usually more locals (and Instagrammers).

Remember to be respectful, as these are people’s homes!

Wander Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes, also known as “The Garden of useful plants,” is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle and another great free place to visit. This is possibly the most beautiful and captivating gardens in Paris, as it has so many different garden types within it.

This elegant green space, which was founded in 1626, is truly exquisite and has so much to offer. The gardens themselves are centuries old and are home to wonderful outdoor exhibits.

The main feature is the garden of useful plants, which showcases many medicinal herbs with antiseptic and purifying properties that were once used as medicine for French Royalty and are still implemented in holistic health today.

Alongside that, walk around the Alpine Garden, the Ecological Garden, and the Rose and Rock Garden for different scenery. Then, spend time at the Botanical school where visitors can learn while they walk. Be sure to check out the maze too!

Feel like a local as you walk the grounds of eleven separate gardens and see others jogging, walking with friends, or basking in a moment of serene nature and peace.

The great aspect of this location is that it never truly looks the same twice. With each visit, new flowers bloom, and the foliage changes with the seasons.

How to Get Here: Take a short walk from the Latin Quarter or hop on the bus to this location.

Opening Hours: Daily 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Widow Shop at Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne is another cool covered passage. Located in the 2nd arrondissement and 176 meters long, this location has beautiful architecture and a calming ambiance.

The passage was built in 1823 and still boasts colorful mosaics all over the ground and has a gorgeous glass roof. While here, explore the little boutique shops and even spark a conversation with a local. Book lovers will adore browsing the old bookshops for both modern and traditional reads.

To continue the theme of tranquillity, take a short walk over to the Palais-Royal too!

How to Get Here: Metro 3 Bourse Station; RER A & B Châtelet-Les Halles Station; Bus 29 Mairie Du Ii.

Opening Hours: Everyday 8 am – 8 pm

Relax in Place Dauphine

Another great place to check out when looking for free things to do is Place Dauphine. Located at the very tip of Ile de la Cite, it was started by Henry IV in 1607.

In this public square, you will find cobblestone streets and lovely architecture. This is the perfect location to take a break from sightseeing and retreat to somewhere more calming. There are park benches dotted throughout the square where locals read books and people catch up with friends.

Take a short walk out of the neighborhood and find Notre Dame Cathedral and more beautiful bridges.

How to Get Here: To get to Place Dauphine, take the scenic route from Pont Neuf Metro Station. Along the way, make sure to also walk over the Pont Neuf Bridge. 1st arrondissement.

Spring in Paris - blooms in Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine

Visit Père Lachaise Cemetery

If you love cemeteries, you will want to add Pere Lachaise Cemetery to your list. This is the largest cemetery in France and can be found in the 20th arrondissement. The cemetery has over 70,000 burial plots – some names you may even recognize.

While this area isn’t as popular as other landmarks, this is the final resting place of many notable people. Some include Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison.

Additionally, this area has immaculate landscaping, cobblestone lanes, and unique statues to see.

The cemetery is now a mix of a shrine and a park which can be easily accessed. Be sure to be respectful of the cemetery, food should not be consumed here, and any trash on the ground should be picked up.

How to Get Here: Metro 2 at Philippe Auguste and bus lines 61, 69, and 70.

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 8 AM – 6 PM; Saturday 8:30 AM – 6 PM

Visit Canal St-Martin

A free and more off-the-beaten-path place to explore is Canal St-Martin. This gorgeous 4.6km long canal makes for the perfect location to have a picnic, people watch, or enjoy the sun setting over the city.

Paris is well known for its poets, writers, and artists and this little spot is a great area to spark creativity. The bank of the canal has a lot of shade to offer, so you can spend a lot of time here, even in the heat of the summer.

Constructed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the canal has an extensive history, making it even more worthwhile to visit. Canal St-Martin connects Canal de l’Ourcq to the River Seine and can be found between the 10th and 11th Arrondissements.

Canal Saint Martin is a great Paris landmark
Credit: ademyan/depositphotos

Experience Roman Ruins at Arènes de Lutèce

Did you know there were Roman ruins in Paris? Known as one of the most important remains that are completely free to visit is Arènes de Lutèce.

Arènes de Lutèce is a 1st-century AD Roman amphitheater located in the Latin Quater, and this is one of the two remaining structures from when Rome ruled over Europe. Centuries ago, Roman gladiators were encouraged to entertain crowds of at least 15,000 people by fighting wild animals, which were kept in the ground-level spaces that visitors can still see today.

Now, Arènes de Lutèce has transformed into a quaint public park and a hidden gem to most tourists. You will usually find locals and children using this space to play soccer and various other games.

That being said, this area is rich in history and worth stopping by. The park is delightful, with grassy slopes, blooming plants, and areas to soak up the sun.

How to Get Here: Metro Station Cardinal Lemoine or Jussieu Station and nearby Jardin des Plantes and the Pantheon.

Stroll Along the Seine

It goes without saying strolling down the Seine is easily one of the best things to do when visiting. This is one of the most iconic rivers in the world and has so many different sights to behold.

Even a slow morning walk here will take you past several famous spots, such as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. It is also very popular to enjoy the sunset here while having a little picnic of cheese and wine.

View down the Paris Seine River at Sunset
View down the Paris Seine River

Explore the Neighborhoods

While this can be implied with many of the attractions above, a lot of the charm of visiting comes from just wandering down the beautiful streets and alleys. Some of the best neighborhoods to wander around include The Latin Quarter, Le Marais, and Saint Germain.

Latin Quarter in Paris itinerary
Latin Quarter

Getting The Paris Passes

I know this has been a list of the best free things to do, but I am sure you will want to visit some paid attractions as well. That is why I want to mention the Paris passes that can help you save some extra money! These passes are designed for those who are planning on visiting a lot of paid attractions, so you get a discount.

One of the most popular passes to get is the Go City Paris Pass. This is one of the only passes to also include the Eiffel Tower along with 60+ other attractions. They often have deals on the pass price as well.

Another popular pass for museum lovers is the Paris Museum Pass, which includes just about any museum you would want to visit. You will usually begin saving money after your 4th visit.

Both passes work great, so choosing one is just dependent on the attractions you would like to see.

Remember that some attractions still require you to book your (free) slot in advance (Louvre, Eiffel Tower), so it is best to get your Pass ASAP to not miss out!

Rue de l'Abreuvoir street in Paris
Rue de l’Abreuvoir

Free Things to Do in Paris Wrap-Up

This concludes some of the best free things to do during your visit! I hope you have the best time exploring the French capital while enjoying some budget-friendly travel!

Have any questions about these free things to do, or feel like I missed a great place? Let me know in the comments below!

Did you find this guide Helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Photo of author

Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

1 thought on “33 Best Free Things to Do in Paris: Perfect For Budget Travel”

  1. Great list! I agree that many fabulous experiences in Paris are free. I, too, love watching the sunrise with the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.