10 free or very affordable experiences in Paris. Paris is great and all, but visiting all the attractions can be costly and if you are traveling with your family it will be even costlier. Fortunately, there are many ways you can spend time in Paris enjoying its sites and spend nothing or close to nothing. Here are our suggestions for 10 free or very affordable experiences in Paris:
1. Walk along the Champs-Élysées
Almost 2 km long, this grand avenue is the backbone of central Paris. It is lined with shops, both retail and high-end, cafes, and restaurants. It is very popular with tourists as it connects several landmarks along the way, and it is the most popular walking route. You can enjoy a nice stroll and window shopping and feel the rhythm of central Paris.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, dubbed “the world’s most beautiful avenue,” is a must-see in Paris. Tourists and Parisians can be seen strolling along this famed two-kilometer stretch between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe at any time of day or night, and at any time of year.
The road, like the Eiffel Tower, is a symbol of Paris. Restaurants (l’Atelier Renault, Ledoyen, etc. ), luxury boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Mont-Blanc, Guerlain, Ferrari, etc. ), flagship stores (Abercrombie, Sephora, etc. ), and nightclubs line the street. Each year, big events such as the Bastille Day military parade, the entrance of the Tour de France, and the Christmas lights are held there.
Finally, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Palais de la Découverte, and the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton are all located on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The fountains at the Champs-Elysées roundabout have recaptured their beauty since March 12, 2019, due to the Bouroullec brothers and their six 13-meter metal and glass sculptures. F
inish your tour by climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a breathtaking perspective of Paris!
2. Visit Trocadéro Square
One of the most photographed (and Instagrammed) locations in Paris, this square has a great view of the Eiffel Tower and the city and it is itself beautify designed. It is perfect for a short walk or to just sit and enjoy the view.
Trocadéro is a park with gardens, a square with a view, a château, and a big fountain. It’s in Paris’s 16th arrondissement, next to the Seine and just across from the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. In 1937, the palace was dismantled and rebuilt for the World’s Fair.
The Palais du Chaillot is made up of two curved structures that come together to form an arch. The ‘Museé national de la Marine’ (naval museum) and the ‘Museé de l’Homme’ (ethnology museum) are located in the west wing, while the ‘Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine is located in the east wing (Architecture and Heritage City).
The Fountain of Warsaw, a massive rectangular fountain in the midst of the gardens, is noted for its rectangular shape. The nicest part is watching it when it’s completely switched on because there are some water jets that form arches, and given how large it is, it’s quite a show.
3. Walkthrough Parc du Champ-de-Mars
Beautifully landscaped park where Eiffel Tower is located in a large green area which will give you an opportunity for relaxing walk. You will be able to take some more photos of the tower and its surroundings.
The Champ-de-Mars is a 780-meter-long (2,574-foot) public greenspace in Paris’s 7th district that runs along one side of the Eiffel Tower and the Military School on the other.
While the area belonged to the army, it began to host a growing number of public activities.
The first was a horserace between the Military School’s Head Squire and the Prince of Nassau in 1780, which drew a large crowd.
Following it, during the French Revolution, there were republican celebrations and, less festively, gunfire and guillotine executions (respectively, the shootout of July 17, 1791, and its main backer, Jean Sylvain Bailly).
The Champ-de-Mars became a symbol of the French Republic, as it was used as a public arena to celebrate republican successes before being replaced by the French monarchy. Then, near the close of the nineteenth century, a number of Universal Exhibitions were held there.
Picnics, marathons, concerts, exhibitions, and fireworks are all held on the Champ-de-Mars in modern times.
4. Wander the bohemian streets of Montmartre
Walk around a bohemian quarter, and have a coffee and a croissant, pass by famous Moulin rouge, and get lost in these streets of the old town. There are many small shops with souvenirs and handmade art to look at.
Since the Belle Epoque, Montmartre has enchanted Bohemian artists, and it continues to enchant tourists today. Despite being situated in the 18th arrondissement (Abbesses Métro station), Montmartre is a world away from the rest of Paris, perched on a hilltop. Montmartre has a distinct atmosphere.
At merry-go-rounds, tiny sidewalk cafés, and impromptu street acts, joie de vivre abounds.
Tourists throng to the magnificent Sacré-Coeur Basilica on Mont Martyr’s highest point, where Saint-Denis, a martyr, is buried. The Sacré-Coeur may have a solemn aura inside, but it is a vibrant celebration of life outside.
Visitors take in the view from the Basilica’s terrace, which is a popular spot for photo opportunities; others relax on the grassy esplanade while listening to street performers.
5. Discover covered passages of Paris
Go on an exploring mission to discover hidden (and not so hidden) covered passages in Paris. Many passages through the old buildings of Paris were re-purposed and refurbished to host small shops, restaurants, cafes, and galleries and it is great to discover them and see something new and different. Here you can find many of them.
These arcades with glass roofs, made by piercing through neighboring buildings, were mostly built in the 19th century and are a classic Parisian architectural feature.
The majority of them have been converted into stores, tearooms, and restaurants. Around 20 of them can be found around the Grands Boulevards in Paris.
The Passage des Panoramas, one of the oldest, was built in 1799. It is home to the Théâtre des Variétés, which opened in 1807 and is still performing today. Every arcade has its own personality. Little India, or Passage Brady, is home to a variety of Indian, Pakistani, Mauritian, and Reunion shops.
Numerous antique dealers may be found in the Passage Verdeau. The Passage du Caire (more than 360 meters long) is the capital’s longest and narrowest street, with a considerable concentration of ready-to-wear apparel wholesalers and other garment manufacturers.
One of the most famous covered pathways is Galerie Vivienne, which is located near to the Palais-Royal. Many expensive boutiques, including Christian Louboutin’s workshop boutique, are located in the adjoining Galerie Véro-Dodat. One of the most spectacular arcades in Paris is the Passage du Grand-Cerf, a 12-meter-high structure built of metal and wrought iron.
Finally, the Galerie Colbert, which opened in 1823, is unique in that it has no stores. The Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and the Institut National du Patrimoine are housed in its colonnade and rotunda, which is topped by a glass dome. The public is welcome to stroll through the gallery and dine at the Grand Colbert brasserie, which is located near the entrance and is known for its art deco flair.
6. Walk around Jardin du Luxembourg
Enjoy a nice walk through this garden, inspired by the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence and located between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. It has many activities offered both for adults and children. It is also very popular for photoshoots.
Marie de Medici, who was weary of living in the Louvre and wanted an Italian-style castle built-in memory of her youth in Florence, commissioned the palace and gardens between 1612 and 1617.
In the years that followed, land adjacent to the palace was purchased, and the garden was expanded to its largest size in 1792. The succeeding owners did not make any alterations to the garden, in fact, they neglected it on multiple occasions.
The palace was used as a jail during the French Revolution, and the Germans used it as a barracks during World War II, excavating a bunker in the grounds.
For both residents and tourists, the Luxembourg Garden is one of the most lovely sites in Paris. Visitors will find a great location to rest after a full day of sightseeing in the city here. The park has multiple metal chairs surrounded by statues and sculptures, making it an ideal spot to rest and take in some fresh air.
7. Walk the banks of the River Seine
Recently refurbished and renovated banks of Seine River and perfect for long walks, crossing bridges (more than 30 of them!) or just sit on a side and enjoy a view of river and people walking by. This is the great calming experience between hectic running between attractions and landmarks.
The Seine River runs through the center of Paris, passing through ten of the city’s twenty arrondissements. It was no coincidence that the city grew up around this massive avenue for commerce and transit, or that the Romans attacked and overthrew the early Parisi tribes on the river’s island.
This early coup took place on what would later become some of the most valuable real estates in the world. The river was known by its Latin name at the time: Sequana. The river is still the main commercial waterway, and the Seine provides half of the water used in Paris. When you see the ill green water running beneath the bridge, or when your waiter delivers you a glass of tap water, don’t think about that.
8. Wander through Jardin des Tuileries and look at the sculptures
This original palace garden is open to the public and has over 200 sculptures scattered around. That will keep you busy for hours, just to explore and admire all those works of art. This is another great place to take amazing photos.
One of Paris’ most popular green spots is the Jardin des Tuileries. It connects the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume museum, and the Place de la Concorde in the heart of the City of Light. It also gives you access to the Seine Berges. It’s the perfect spot for tourists who wish to take a stroll and see a variety of sights in the city.
Prior to the Tuileries garden, there was tile manufacturing, which gave the garden its name. Catherine de Medici completed the Tuileries Palace in 1564. It had a lush, Italian-style garden with multiple walks, a fountain, and a beautifully designed grotto.
One hundred years later, King Louis XIV and State Finance Controller Jean-Baptiste Colbert commissioned André Le Nôtre to design a new design for the gardens, which were subsequently extended. The gardens were already open to the public and accessible to all Parisians at the time, even if they were guarded to preserve their beauty. Tuileries Palace was destroyed in 1883 and is no longer standing.
Parisians and visitors, on the other hand, continue to walk there. Several ponds and sculptures can be found along the paths. It’s a terrific place to meet up with friends and have some fun with the kids. Free benches and seats are available so that everyone can take in the sights and sounds of Le Nôtre.
9. Take a city tour with a public bus!
Instead of paying a steep price for the tour bus, take a local regular bus and pay few Euros only! Routes 63 and 87 will pass by many city famous landmarks. Visit www.ratp.fr for route maps, schedules, and prices. This can be a great solution for moving around central Paris as well. Make your transportation through Paris a worthwhile experience, every day!
10. Treat yourself to a coffee on a famous rooftop
Printemps Rooftop Cafe and Terrace will give you incredible 360-degree views of Paris. Don’t miss this during nice weather as it is one of the best views of Paris. You will have a great opportunity for a photoshoot.
These are just the top ten of many more experiences you can have in Paris for free or almost free of charge. There are, of course, many other things you can do in Paris for virtually no cost and it will take several articles like this to cover it all. We will try and update this post with affordable experiences in Paris whenever we discover something new. Enjoy!
Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Tours Editor @ gotravelyourself.com