There’s no getting away from it, Paris is a beautiful, interesting and historic city with some of the world’s best museums, art galleries and architecture. But boy! Is it expensive. So I’ve put together a list of 10 things you can do for free in Paris.
Let me know if you try any of them on your next trip or know of any others that you'd like me to include.
1. The Museums
This could really be broken down into 10 free things on its own but I’ve got so many other free things to tell you about, I’m leaving this as 1. If you are lucky enough to be 25 or under as most museums are free. Winner!
However, for the rest of us, on the first Sunday of the month, the city's museums are free. This is very popular, so it is best to start queuing early. However, there are over 10 City of Paris municipal museums and they are always free. They include: The Marie Curie Museum; Museum of Modern Art and The Carnavalet Museum which details the history of Paris from around 4000BC to present day.
Ever wondered how you move an obelisque? No I’m sure you haven’t. But just in case you ever need to, head to Place de la Concorde and admire the beautiful obelisque gifted to the city of Paris by the Egyptians. On one side of the monument, you will find instructions on how to dismantle, move and erect any obelisque.
3. Free Wi-Fi Outdoors
Not a big deal you might think. But this is free Wi-Fi in the parks and gardens marked with the free Wi-Fi sign To access it. Select the PARIS_Wi-Fi_ network, open the internet and click on ‘Connect/ Me Connecter’. Fill in your details and accept their Ts & Cs. You get 2 hours free before you have to reconnect again.
4. Montmartre Cemetery
One of the largest cemeteries in Paris and final resting place for many artists and composers who lived in the Montmartre area including the composer Hector Belioz, the impressionist artist Edgar Degas and Léon Foucault best known for his pendulum which demonstrates the earth’s rotation.
5. Street Art
If you need a change from art in museums; take a walk around Monmartre and see some interesting street art like the bronze man walking out the wall in Rue Norvins near the Dali museum or go hunting for the now famous space invader plaques, decorating street corners around the city.
6. Bike Hire
30 minutes of free bike hire – You need to buy a 1 day Velib pass for 1.70€ and then you can use Velib as often as you like in a 24 our period but with each use, you get 30 minutes of free bike riding from any of the bike bays dotted all over the city outside metro stations.
7. Guided Walking Tours
Several companies now ofer walking tours in Paris including the original Discover Walks – These are tip supported free guided walking tours of Paris given by ‘pure’ Parisian guides (by ‘pure’ I mean they were born and educated in Paris). At the time of writing (February 2017) there are 7 different tours: Paris Landmarks, Hidden Gems, Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Trendy Marais district and each one lasts about 1 ½ hours. We go Walking Tours, City Free Tour and Sandemans New Europe tour of Paris
8. Art Squat
Visit 59 Rivoli to see an art squat - Six floors of live art. Artists at work in their studios and always some hanging around to talk to you. In 1999 several artists moved into the building draping elaborate pieces of art from the sixth floor balcony. In 2006, the council took it over and legalized it, opening it again in 2009 as what it is now with artists living working and exhibiting there.
9. Place des Vosges
If you need to get away from the noise of the city head to the arcade on Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris. Here you will find small artisan shops and stalls but not many. After you pass them there’s a passageway into a beautiful tranquil courtyard of Hotel de Sully. It’s so close to Rue de Rivoli and yet so far away from everything else.
10.Great Views of the City
The Eiffel Tower – no it’s not free but it always has long queue out unless you book it weeks in advance ot get up before dawn. To avoid the queues and get a great view of the city, head instead to the second highest place in Paris, Rue Azais next to Sacré-Coeur. From here you can get magnificent views to across the city from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame. It is particularly beautiful at night.