The Best Free Things to Do in Paris

L'arc de triomphe,

L’arc de triomphe,

Oooooh, we all love Paris! With an estimated 14.8 million visitors each year, Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world.  Yes, even those sojourners, who grumble about the “haughty” Parisians, never say that they didn’t love l’Orangerie museum with Monet’s waterlily paintings, the glorious statues at the Luxembourg Gardens, the many stores filled with elegant fashions, or the general ambiance of Paris.  Paris is as chic as it gets.

Inexpensive Sights in Paris:

Paris, while not as expensive as London, can be a wallet-breaker if you do not take advantage of some of the free or inexpensive sights that the city has to offer.  Wandering and getting lost in the old sections of Paris may be the most memorable part of your trip.   Additionally, you can trump your friends by showing them photographs of those adorable little parks and churches that your friends never saw on their prepackaged tours.  How chic.  How worldly.   How Parisienne.

Exploring Paris on Your Own:

I’ve been to Paris several times and I was recently there for two weeks.  Well, because I find meeting people and exploring cities more fulfilling than blowing my bank on luxury, I really spent very little money during my vacation.  That last trip to Paris was more like an adventure.  It was more about soaking up the culture of the place.  And, I saved enough money that I will be taking my daughters to Paris for a short stay this summer.

Paris Museum Pass:

Of course, I will make sure to buy three Museum Passes because my girls have never seen “Liberty Leading the People” by Delacroix or the ceilings at Versailles.  Hey, my daughters have never been to Paris.  However, most of my time with them will be spent on free and inexpensive activities. I want to give them an authentic experience.

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur Basilica:

Anyone staying in a central neighborhood, like Rue Cler or the Marais district will have to take the Metro subway out to Montmartre. A Metro ticket is about $1.70 if you buy a carnet. (Hey, nothing is totally free.) However, riding the Metro is almost as much fun as anything else in Paris.

Montmartre used to be outside the city. It was the cheap bohemian hilltop where artists like Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso once lived. Well, the area is still lively and crowded, with cheapie shops, street performers, shell games, and a few discreet hookers…and that’s during the daytime.

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