10 Exquisite and Free Experiences for Travelers

by MMC
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In the refined and elegant realm of the City of Love, extravagance often reigns supreme. However, Paris generously offers its visitors a range of delightful and free attractions that even the most discerning and budget-conscious travelers can savor. These include a treasure trove of free museums, art galleries, bustling markets and idyllic canalside walks.

Below, we present to you the most exquisite complementary activities to enjoy in Paris:

Photo: Seine River

Witness the enchanting light show of the Eiffel Tower from the Parc du Champ de Mars

While a climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower may lighten your wallet, the view from its base is just as breathtaking. The Parc du Champ de Mars, carefully adorned with lush lawns and well-tended flower beds reminiscent of its former role as a military marching ground, provides the ideal setting. Bring a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and the finest ingredients for a sumptuous meal. As night falls, watch as the Eiffel Tower sparkles and sparkles, casting its magic over the city.

Window shopping at the St-Ouen Flea Market

Treat yourself to a delicious “window licking” session at the St-Ouen flea market and antiques fair. Immerse yourself in a world of art objects and fanciful curiosities that you may never buy but can’t resist admiring. Feast your eyes on bearskin rugs, antique tapestries and brass diving bells at this decadently eccentric market. Exercise restraint when browsing, especially when looking at price tags. To access this real treasure, get off the Porte de Clignancourt metro station (line 4) and venture under the bridge until the souvenir stalls give way to charming alleys full of captivating finds.

Browse the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris

For an enchanting journey into French culture, explore the permanent collections at the Musée d’Art Moderne, one of Paris’ many free museums (a €5 donation is suggested). From Braque’s bold cubism to Matisse’s rhythmic dancers, there’s an abundance of artistic brilliance to lift your spirits. Get there by taking metro line 9 and getting off at Alma-Marceau.

Pro tip: Enhance your museum experience with a free multilingual mobile app that guides you through the collections while immersing you in art.

Walk through the atmosphere of the Père Lachaise Cemetery

Paris’ most haunting place invites you to stroll among the resting places of literary luminaries like Proust and Balzac, as well as modern icons like Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. Jim Morrison’s grave, a place of pilgrimage for music lovers, is also here, carefully barricaded to protect it from fervent fans. The tree-lined paths and echoing caws of crows create an ambiance that is both eerie and fascinating, making Père Lachaise the most evocative promenade in Paris. To reach this atmospheric site, head towards the 20th arrondissement and get off at the Père Lachaise (line 2) or Gambetta (line 3) metro stations.

Take a leisurely stroll through Parc Monceau

If celebrity-spotting in cemeteries seems too bleak for you, opt for a leisurely stroll among French luminaries at Parc Monceau. This picturesque park is home to statues honoring luminaries like composer Chopin and famous writer Guy de Maupassant. With its rich history, including having served as a painting location for Monet and the site of a historic massacre in 1871, Monceau Park offers a captivating setting for a peaceful stroll. Accessible via line 2, the Monceau metro station in the 8th arrondissement offers convenient access.

Pro tip: Enhance your visit with a free look at the splendid collection of rarely seen Chinese statues on display at the Museo Cernuschi, a museum of Asian art housed in an elegant mansion near the park’s east entrance on Velázquez Avenue .

Enter the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for free

Perched atop the bustling Montmartre district in the 18th arrondissement, this opulent white marble church offers a majestic interior adorned with gold mosaics and imposing stained glass windows. Here you can also listen to the resonant chime of one of the heaviest bells in the world. Although there is an entrance fee to climb the dome or explore the crypt, visiting the basilica itself is free. This site takes on a particularly enchanting aura at night when it is lit by spotlights and couples stroll arm in arm through this charming neighborhood.

Stroll along the Seine near Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

Adorned with intricate gargoyles and Gothic embellishments, the imposing Notre-Dame Cathedral is an iconic symbol of Paris, a must-visit for all travelers. Although access to the interior remains restricted following the tragic fire in April 2019, you can still enjoy a leisurely stroll along the adjacent Seine, providing an alternative perspective of the cathedral’s magnificent exterior.

Pro tip: CASA volunteer guides always offer free tours of the exterior of the cathedral. These guided tours, available in several languages, gather next to the statue of the Virgin in the square. Be sure to check the schedule before planning your visit.

Discover the Roman heritage of Paris at the Arènes de Lutèce

Immerse yourself in the vestiges of Paris’ Roman past at the Arènes de Lutèce, located in the Latin Quarter. Dating from the 1st century AD, this amphitheater is considered one of the longest ever built in Roman times. Although it no longer hosts gladiator fights, it remains the venue for a different but equally captivating sport: pétanque.

Stroll through the paths of the Montparnasse Cemetery

The Montparnasse cemetery, final resting place of many glamorous and intellectual Parisians, exudes a calmer and less ostentatious charm than Père Lachaise. It is the ideal setting for a peaceful walk, the opportunity to rub shoulders with personalities like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir or Samuel Beckett. Access the cemetery by taking metro line 6 and getting off at the Edgar Quinet or Raspail stop.

Savor the tranquility at Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Paris’ highest park may test your calf muscles, but it rewards your senses with its abundant birdlife, rocky landscapes and waterfall designed by visionary landscaper Baron Haussmann. In the midst of this natural oasis, it is easy to forget the metropolitan hustle and bustle beyond its borders. Accessible via Botzaris and Buttes Chaumont metro stations (both on line 7) in the 19th arrondissement, Parc des Buttes Chaumont offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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