We’ve all had dreams of seeing Paris. It is the iconic city for travel, romance, culture, and cuisine. It holds some of the world’s most well-known vistas.
I visited the City of Light after building up quite a bit of expectation, and I can assure you: it does not disappoint.
However, one of the greatest woes of all those who wish to see Paris is the expense of traveling there. There is a myth that everything in Paris is expensive, or that you have to spend a lot of money to truly enjoy it.
However, that is not entirely true.
Here, we’re going to discuss 7 things that you can do in Paris at absolutely no cost! These include not only some of the most well-known items in Paris, but also some of the best.
1. Stroll Along the Canal St. Martin
If you’re looking for a morning stroll, wandering alongside the Canal St. Martin is the best place to be. You can meander your way down the canal, crossing the metal bridges or watching as the boats are brought up by locks.
Nestled into the more modern side of Paris, you’ll find the canal is situated between the local neighborhoods, giving you a truly authentic Parisian feel. Boutique cafes and restaurants line the streets on either side. So, grab some food to go and have a picnic by the canal.
2. Indulge in Romance in a Free Museum
One of many free museums in Paris, this particular one display features the work of the writer George Sand and painter Ary Scheffer. Together, these two shared the house that now features their work.
Entering this museum is like going back in time to Paris’ romantic era. The house is charmed with growing vines, and a small, intimate courtyard where you can share a cup of coffee with your significant other.
The museum is located in the 9th Arrondissement, 16 Rue Chaptal. It is open from 10:00AM to 6:00PM, Tuesday through Sunday.
3. View the Scenes of History at Jardin des Tuileries
When you’re walking through some of the most historic parts of the city, you’ll find the magnificent Jardin des Tuileries, located in between the Louvre museum and the Place de la Concorde.
The garden itself is majestic, dating back to the late 1600s. It is full of beautiful fountains, crisp, green lawns, and decadent sculptures. Making your way through its many pathways, you can think about the different historical figures who have also walked here, including Napoleon and Marie Antionette.
4. Explore the Bohemian Neighborhood of Montmartre
There is something in the air in this particular neighborhood of Paris that seems to inspire creation. Artists from now and of history have come to this area and have left their mark on its unique culture.
Now, as you climb the hill that sits above all of Paris, you’ll be able to see a neighborhood full of personality. An inherent energy breathes in this place. The history of art is all around you, and in the Place de Tertre, you can see modern artists crafting portraits and caricatures of the locals and visitors.
Another beautiful piece of this neighborhood, and indeed one of its highlights, is the beautiful Sacre-Coeur Basilica, dating back to the late 1800s. The view overlooking Paris from its front steps is absolutely breathtaking, and definitely worth seeing.
However, don’t forget that entrance to the Basilica is also free, so long as you don’t plan on climbing to its upper dome (that would cost you 6 euros). Inside, you’ll find glittering mosaics and grand ceilings.
5. Wander the Solemn Walks of Cimitiere du Pere Lachaise
It might seem odd to add a cemetery to this list of things to see in Paris. However, this cemetery is not on the list simply because it’s something to do for free in Paris.
An incredible amount of history and modern fame lies buried within this cemetery. Literary buffs will enjoy seeing the graves of Proust, Balzac, and Colette. Music lovers will find everything from Chopin to Jim Morrison.
Beyond seeing famous graves, walking through Cimitiere du Pere Lachaise has been known as one of the most atmospheric walks in Paris. Over 70,000 tombs of ornate design and style lie along cobblestoned walks. Upon entering, you’ll be wandering through green surroundings, shaded by ancient trees. You can discover many intricate and strange tombs, as well as find names that are highly recognizable.
The entrance to the cemetery is found on Boulevard de Menilmontant, in the 20th Arrondissement. The closest metro station is the Philippe Auguste, on line 2.
6. Stand in Awe Before Notre Dame
One of the most iconic sights in Paris, the Cathedral of Notre Dame was made famous through Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, and remains a place of inspiration.
Seeing this incredible building in person is a real treat. The incredible Gothic architecture includes flying buttresses, intricately sculpted portals, and towering spires that ignite the imagination.
I highly recommending seeing this building from all angles on the outside, as it certainly never ceases to amaze. Crossing the Seine to get a wider view of the building makes it seem all the more grand.
Entrance to the cathedral itself is free, but climbing the towers (422 steps to the top) will cost you 10 euros. Inside, you’ll find place for over 6000 worshippers to come to mass, carved wooden stalls, and ornate statues.
7. Have an Adventure in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
This park boasts being one of Paris’ largest green spaces, and it is filled with delights. You’ll find lolling avenues alongside grottoes, bridges, and beautiful nature. Although in the middle of the city, towering cedars and even palms delight the senses.
In the middle of the park, there is a small lake which is interrupted by an island. Climb to the top of this crag in the middle of the water for another beautiful view of Paris, and see the temple to Sibylle. After that, see if you can find the secret cave!
The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is located in the 19th Arrondissement. The closest metro station is the Buttes-Chaumont on line 7B.
If you’re looking to travel on a budget, don’t cut Paris from your wishlist! While visiting this beautiful city, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do that are completely free. The list above is just scratching the surface.