Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on your trip to Paris–Here is my list of 10 free things to do in Paris, France!
1. Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. Every hour on the hour (starting after dark) the Eiffel Tower has a sparkling light show that lasts for five minutes. The show, which draws hoards of visitors each night, consists of the entire tower being lit up with twinkling lights. Bring a blanket, some champagne and brie & bread and have a picnic. The view is stunning. We actually went back a second time so that we could watch from both sides of the tower. Getting There: There are several metro stops for the Eiffel Tower depending on your starting location. The closest stops are: Bir Hakeim, Ecole Militaire & Champ de Mars.
2. Visit the Basilica du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. The Basilica boosts beautiful views of Paris from atop the hill on which it sits. Entrance to the Basilica is free. Hours of operation are 6:00 am to 10:30 pm. Getting There: The closest metro stations to the Basilica are Anvers (#2 line) or Abbesses (# 12 line). Pick your stop based on your point of departure. After arriving at your most convenient stop, you will then make your way up the hill either by the steep city streets or stairs. If you are unable to walk uphill, both metro stops are within walking distance to the Funiculaire de Montmarte, a cable car that can take you to the top for the price of a metro ticket.
3. After visiting the Basilica, stroll the streets of Montmartre. Historically known as an artist’s village, Montmartre is noticeably different from other neighborhoods in Paris.
4. View the city from above. Visit the rooftop cafe at the top of the Printemps Department Store, located at 64 Boulevard Haussmann. The rooftop terrace boasts panoramic views of the city and you have the option of getting a quick bite or a drink. Getting There: The closest metro station is Havre-Caumartin. Once inside Printemps you will have to take the elevator, then escalator to the top floor.
5. Join in on the festivities. Paris is a lively city with many festivals happening at any given point. While we were visiting both the Carnaval Tropical de Paris and the Marche des Fiertes LGBT were taking place. Do your research before your trip to find out which festivals and events will be occurring during your visit.
6. Walk across the “new” Love Lock Bridge. The locks on the original Love Lock Bridge (The Pont des Arts) were taken down by the city as the bridge was becoming too heavy. Not to worry though, the bridge next to the Pont des Arts has a great deal of locks remaining and is still a great photo op. However, I would not recommend adding your own lock to the bridge as the city is trying to end this tradition and as visitors to the city I think we should honor their request. Getting There: The easiest and most scenic way to access the bridge is to take the metro to Pont Neuf (#7 line) and walk along the Seine past the Pont des Arts to the next bridge. Both Lourve metro stops (Lourve Rivoli- #1 line and Palais Royal -#1 & 7 lines) are also in walking distance to the bridge.
7. Walk along the bank of Canal Saint-Martin. Enjoy Paris as the Parisians do- many locals hang by the canal to chat, get some sun and have a drink. This is a great place to go if you are looking to get away from the hoards of tourists. Getting There: The canal is surrounded by many metro stops including: Republique, Gare de l’Est & Jacques Bonsergent.
Visit the following iconic sights and snap some obligatory photos!
8. The Notre Dame…entrance is free! Beware there is often a long line to get in. Closest metro stops: Saint Michel-Notre Dame & Cite.
9. The Arc de Triomphe. While there is a fee to climb to the top, it is completely free to snap some photos of this historic landmark! Closest metro stop:Charles de Gaulle Etoile.
10. The Lourve. Also has a fee to enter the museum, with some exceptions. On Fridays after 6pm persons under the age of 26 may enter for free. From October through March, entrance is free for all visitors on the first Sunday of the month. Entrance is free for persons under the age of 18. Closest metro stops: Lourve Rivoli- #1 line and Palais Royal -#1 & 7 lines.