What’s better than having fun things to do during your Paris vacation? Having fun free things to do. If you're visiting the city of lights on a budget, here are 10 fun and free things to do in Paris.
1. Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night
Your trip to Paris would not be complete without seeing the iconic Eiffel Tower twinkling at night. Every hour, on the hour, the tower lights up and twinkles beautifully. Of course, you can see this view from all over Paris at night, but a seat on the steps at the Sacré-Coeur will provide an extra-special view of the city.
2. Get some sun at Paris Plages
When you think of a vacation in Paris, the beach probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But for four weeks every summer, the banks of the Seine are transformed into sandy stretches complete with lounge chairs, volleyball nets, cabanas, and ice cream carts.
3. Picnic at Le Champ de Mars
While traveling to the top of the Eiffel Tower comes with a pretty hefty price tag (and a long wait in line), it’s absolutely free to visit the grounds. Grab a baguette and some brie from le marché and picnic on the grass. This provides the perfect photo opp in front of the tower!
4. Take a break at Le Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries Garden was created by Queen Catherine de Medicis in 1564, but wasn’t opened to the public until over a century later. Today, native Parisians and visitors alike gather by the garden’s ponds and sculptures to picnic and relax. If you’re visiting between June and August, be sure to stop by the Fête des Tuileries for rides, treats, and family-friendly fun.
5. Take advantage of free museum days
6. Stroll along la Promenade Plantée
Chances are, you’ve heard of New York City’s High Line. But did you know that it was inspired by Paris’s Promenade Plantée? This elevated garden is an extensive green belt that follows the old Vincennes railway line, and you can stroll along while looking down to the city below for free.
7. Get a bird’s eye view from Sacré-Coeur
Sacré-Coeur (Sacred Heart) sits atop a giant hill in the Montmartre district of Paris. The view from its steps is incomparable (especially at sunset) and chances are that whenever you visit, you’ll hear live music from a local singer or musician. Don't forget to bring your camera!
8. Saunter down L’avenue des Champs-Èlysées
For a truly Parisian walk, nothing beats strolling down the Champs-Èlysées. You’ll see bars, restaurants, historic landmarks, and, of course, do some wonderful window shopping (Cartier and Louis Vuitton, anyone?) You’ll also bump into the Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, and Place de la Concorde. Not a bad walk!
9. Take a free walking tour
Sandeman’s New Europe offers a free, two-hour walking tour that covers Paris’s history from Napoleon to La Belle Époque. If you’re lucky, your tour guides might share their tips on the best nightlife, too!
10. Wander Around Le Marais
It would be entirely possible to spend your entire visit to Paris in the Marais district and never run out of things to explore. From historic churches to unique shops to Jewish delis (Le Marais is home to one of Paris’s largest Jewish communities), you’d do well to save at least a day or two to wander the streets of this incredible neighborhood.