Incredible Free Things To Do On Your Next Trip To Paris, According To Travelers

A trip halfway across the world is something many people dream of. And after scrimping and saving, you can finally afford such a journey, which isn't an easy feat. Considering that it's one of the most romantic and beautiful places in the world, you've decided on Paris.

A vacation overseas can be expensive, though, and you're already researching ways to save on food and drink in Paris. However, if you want to take it one step further, then you should look into free stuff to do. When you can stretch your cash further, you'll be able to fit in more activities, creating more cherished memories along the way.

Luckily, there's a whole score of free things to do in Paris, which savvy travelers on Google and TripAdvisor have discovered. We've combed through your options and come up with a curated list that'll help you make the most of your time in France. In addition, the writer has personal experience visiting Paris, which will ensure that you see the best sides of this breathtaking city.

Walk down Champs-Élysées

Chances are, you've heard of Champs-Élysées before — it's one of the biggest attractions in the country. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (the proper name) is a road that spans almost 2 kilometers, and it gives you a fantastic look at Paris. The avenue is located in the 8th arrondissement and goes from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, which is where you'll find the Arc de Triomphe.

While it's a wonderful street to walk down, one thing tourists should never do is spend money at the shops. As you go down the avenue, you'll notice several high-end stores, which are already extravagant. Plus, they've raised the prices in these particular shops since it's a popular tourist area, meaning you'll be paying an arm and a leg for something more reasonably priced elsewhere. It's better to shop with your eyes rather than your actual wallet.

Otherwise, take this opportunity to admire the landmarks that the Avenue des Champs-Élysées takes you through. In addition to the Arc de Triomphe, you'll see Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Gaumont Champs-Élysées, where you can catch shows and films in gorgeous historical buildings.

Browse the flea markets

France is known for its impressive flea markets; the largest and best one you can find is in the north of France, in the city of Lille. If you're a flea market lover and aren't planning on going anywhere else but Paris, you might be disappointed by this information. However, you don't need to worry, as Paris is filled with these markets of splendor, too.

You don't necessarily have to spend money to have fun, either. Yes, you can pick up some terrific bargains and unique items you won't discover anywhere else. But without spending a cent, you can saunter through the aisles, taking in the various sights, sounds, and even smells.

Not sure where to go? Well, the Les Puces de Montreuil flea market is a great place to start. It's one of the oldest flea markets around and is held every Monday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. According to the Paris Region Tourist Board, in addition to vintage clothing, you'll find "rare books, vinyl records, trinkets, and small furniture."

See the Eiffel Tower from Parc du Champ de Mars

The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris, so you can't make a trip to France and not spot it. However, most visitors make the mistake of going up close and personal to see it, which results in a lackluster view. They also pay to go up the Eiffel Tower, which costs approximately $12.50 to over $31 for adults, depending on the ticket type you choose. This can quickly add up if you're going with other people. Another thing to know before visiting is that the lines can be long, so reservations are recommended.

A better way to see this renowned landmark is to go to Parc du Champ de Mars in the 7th arrondissement. It's the ideal place to view the tower from a distance to get those postcard-perfect pictures. Plus, you can get a nice spread and have a picnic, tasting French delicacies while people-watching. Another positive is during the spring and summer, you'll enjoy lush greenery as far as the eye can see.

Stroll along the Seine

Look at any picture of Paris, and you'll probably see the Eifel Tower, plus the Seine. This river is gigantic and goes right through Paris, which makes it very convenient to view. It has two banks: La Rive Gauche and Droite (the Left and Right Banks). These are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which means you'll get amazing views as you travel along. There are over 12 bridges that allow you to snake between the banks, with famous ones such as Pont Neuf. According to Come to Paris, it's the "oldest surviving bridge in Paris ... [and] the third longest."

The Seine's two banks are not only walkable, but they're also bikable. Those who like to zip around on bicycles will find it easy to traverse the river. In addition, you can use the Seine as a central hub for going off to other destinations. For example, the Jardin des Plantes (botanical garden) is only a stone's throw away from the left bank.

On top of the outstanding scenery you'll see along the Seine, there are several bouquinistes, too. These are book vendors selling everything from antique books to magazines that you can browse when you stop at these stores. You might even discover some fun souvenirs to buy and take home.

Relax in the Luxembourg Gardens

Are you a fan of peaceful gardens? Then you'll have a grand time at the Luxembourg Gardens. It's located in the 6th arrondissement and there's free public access to the garden. Before your trip, it's worth it to download the free brochure, as it'll show you the entire layout of the garden. It'll also show you the opening times, services, history, and things to do.

According to Paris Je T'aime, the Luxembourg Gardens "cover 25 hectares of land [and] are split into French gardens and English gardens." For fun, you can go searching for the 106 statues scattered about, especially if you're coming with your kids. Otherwise, grown-up activities include chess, tennis, bridge, and remote control boats. If you're in Paris at the right time, you can view free photography exhibitions and bandstand concerts, too.

If you'd like to learn more about the gardens, then you can book guided tours from the park's experienced gardeners. These tours are available on the first Wednesday of each month from April to October.

Check out the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

You may not be religious, but churches are still awe-inspiring places to be. Not only do they show beautiful old architecture, but they often provide a sense of serenity as well. So if you're interested in a piece of Paris' history, then a must-go is the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. The church is almost 140 years old and is located on the hilltop of Montmartre.

If you want to take a moment from your day to pray in peace, then you can always do so here, whether it's night or day. No matter what day of the year it is, you'll find the Basalique du Sacre-Coeur open, from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. There are at least four masses a day as well, so you can witness those if you're not religious but still curious.

The most amazing thing about the Basalique du Sacre-Coeur is its location. As mentioned before, it sits atop Montmartre, a tall hill in the 18th arrondissement. Once you get up there, you'll get a breathtaking view of all of Paris, and it won't cost you a cent.

Spend time in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Paris is the largest city in France, with over 2.15 million residents. It can be exciting to be amongst all the Parisians, but at some point, you'll probably want a quieter haven to get away from it all. Fortunately, you won't have to go far to get one: Parc des Buttes Chaumont is located in the 19th arrondissement, and it offers some respite from the hustle and bustle of busy Paris life.

Once you enter the park, you'll feel as if you've been transported to a different world. For instance, there's the Temple de la Sibylle, which looks like Ancient Roman ruins. There's a grotto in the 50-meter-high cliff, making it appear even more grandiose. But before you get to the temple, you have to cross one of the many bridges; the most thrilling one is the suspension bridge, which is 72 feet above the lake. Fun fact: Gustave Eiffel (Yes, that Eiffel) created this suspension bridge before his masterpiece of a tower.

Take in the sights at Jardin des Tuileries

If you're in the 1st arrondissement, near the Louvre, pop over to the Jardin des Tuileries. It's named as such for the tile factories, which used to be on these grounds. This park was established in 1564, which makes it a wonderfully historic place to be. Over 100 years later, it was opened to the public in 1667, after "Sleeping Beauty" author Charles Perrault asked the queen to make it so. Because of this, the Jardin des Tuileries became the first royal garden in Paris to go from private to public.

The locals come to this park, so if you want to walk amongst Parisians, this is the place to do it. On one side, you'll see the Louvre, and on the other, you'll see the Place de la Concorde, a large public square. Inside the Jardin des Tuileries, there are the gorgeous remnants of the royal palace, as well as relaxing gardens and ponds. If you speak French, you can sign up for free tours between March to December.

Those visiting in the summer months of June and August will get to partake in the Fête des Tuileries. Entry is free, but you'll have to pay for the rides and attractions. If you enjoy quieter fairgrounds, then you'll be pleased to know that there's no sound system here.

Go museum hopping

A great way to experience a city's culture is to go to its museums. However, this can be costly, seeing as most European ones charge entry fees between $10 to $20. Your best bet is to take advantage of free museums — this can be done by targeting the ones that don't normally charge a fee or going during free days.

People looking to save a significant amount of money on museums will be happy to know this: On every first Sunday of the month, a whole bunch of Parisian museums are free to enter. And yes, this includes the Louvre, where you'll see priceless pieces of work. While it's a super popular museum, the Louvre is still one of the best museums to visit when you're in Paris. And if it's a rainy day, it'll be excellent to go museum-hopping.

However, it's understandable if you don't want to be jammed into the museums with other people taking advantage of the free fares. Those lucky enough to have a passport from the European Economic Area and are under the age of 26 can always go to museums for free in Paris.

Spend an afternoon at Musée de la Vie Romantique

We know we just said you should go museum hopping, but the Musée de la Vie Romantique deserves its own section. Why? Because it's free to go to, no matter who you are and what day it is. This museum is owned and operated by Paris itself, and the city wants to encourage both locals and tourists to come see the artwork. The only exception is the temporary exhibits; for those, you'll have to pay to view them. In addition, you can download their free app to learn more about the Musée de la Vie Romantique and its exhibits.

When you arrive, you'll instantly be stunned by the beauty of the museum itself. It's located in the 9th arrondissement, at the foot of Montmartre. The mansion used to be painter Ary Scheffer's residence, and it was built in 1830. Make sure you snap pictures in front of the dreamy cream-colored house with its green shutters. Plus, spend time in the garden, where you can relax and take in the sights while sipping on tea from Rose Bakery.

Inside, most of the Musée de la Vie Romantique shows work from not only Ary Scheffer, but also George Sand. True to its name, the museum allows its visitors to marvel at romantic pieces of art.

Tour Bibliothèque Mazarine

History buffs will definitely have an amazing time at the Bibliothèque Mazarine. This is the nation's oldest public library, as it opened to scholars in 1643. You'll find it in the 6th arrondissement, and it's hard to miss. The Bibliothèque Mazarine's exterior architecture is grand, with pillars and a large decorated dome that make it reminiscent of Roman structures. Inside, there are eight large windows and extravagant woodwork.

It's free for you to walk around and explore, so don't be afraid to do so. Just make sure you don't disturb the people who are reading quietly. Also, there are free guided tours given by curators. These 1.5-hour tours are given in French, though, so you're out of luck if you aren't familiar with the language. But don't let that stop you from checking out the extensive collection of books. You might even find one that's interesting (and in English) that you can sit down and relax with.

Reflect at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Cemeteries can be peaceful places, especially ones that have been around for centuries. This necropolis is located in the 20th arrondissement and was built over two centuries ago. Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is Paris' biggest cemetery, standing at 43 hectares, which makes it worth spending an afternoon here. 

In the city's largest green space, you'll see just as much nature as you'll see gorgeous tombs. There are trees, bushes, vines, and other plants that grow throughout the grounds, adding to the serene atmosphere. Among this diverse ecosystem, you'll notice animals sprinkled throughout if you look hard enough, especially birds and foxes that are lurking about.

As for the tombs themselves, there are 70,000 burial plots you can visit while walking the pretty cobblestone lanes. What's interesting is that many celebrities are buried here, such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Frederic Chopin. You can get a map of the cemetery to find these famous graves, or you can pay for a guided tour. 

Smell the flowers at Marché Aux Fleurs

Nestled within Paris is the Ile de la Cité, an island in the middle of the Seine. This is the oldest district and is home to many landmarks, like Pont Neuf, Notre-Dame, and the Archevêché bridge. Of course, you can go see all these points of interest, but make sure you don't miss the Marché Aux Fleurs, or the flower market.

You don't necessarily have to buy flowers either, although they can be a nice touch to the hotel room you're staying in. These stalls sell small gifts, too, so you can pick up souvenirs easily. There are wrought iron pavilions that make it pleasant for everyone to stroll through the streets. Your eyes, nose, and ears will all be tickled as you absorb the sights, smells, and sounds. Google Reviewer Alice Pastre says, "Amazing flower market, full of [colors] and smells. Such a dream! Highly recommend going through there when you're visiting the Cité Island."

Catch a free classical concert

Nowadays, most people prefer rock concerts over classical ones. If it's been a while since you've watched musicians bring Bach's works to life, or if you've never been to a classical concert before, then there's no better place to do it than in Paris. There's a plethora of venues that offer free concerts, so if you plan ahead, you can observe talent in action without having to pay for a ticket.

A good place to start is at the city's churches. Various establishments put on classical concerts that show off the amazing acoustics, and if you attend one of them, it'll be divine. You can try the music conservatories and schools, too, since the students need experience performing for audiences. Additionally, there are free music events throughout the year, such as Opéra Côté Cour. Otherwise, try places like Maison de la Radio for free tickets. Whatever you choose, incredible classical music experiences are waiting for you.

Our methodology for picking these activities

We've gone through online reviews on sites like Google and TripAdvisor to find top-rated free activities in Paris. In addition, the writer has personal experience traveling through Paris that they've drawn upon to come up with the best free options for your next trip to the City of Lights.