6 Ways to Enjoy Paris for Free

Rose Tyler
June 22, 2019
Le Pont Alexandre

Studying abroad is an investment in your education and your future that you won’t likely regret. While traveling always involves expected (and unexpected) expenses, there are also always ways to enjoy wherever you’re studying without maxing out your budget.

Having lived in Paris for over a month now, I’ve compiled a list of my top 6 favorite activities in the city you don’t need to bring your wallet for.

1) Stroll through a park!

Paris might be a thriving metropolis, but the city is filled with parks and green spaces where you can read, picnic, or try to practice your French listening. I’ve spent some of my favorite moments in Paris sitting in a park reading my book or stopping at a nearby grocery for some cheese, a baguette, and some mousse au chocolat for a lovely Parisian picnic. Since parks seem to be a popular spot for the locals to relax and to capture a bit of nature, you’ll definitely hear plenty of French around you. My favorites include Parc Monceau for its idyllic sprawling green space, Parc de Buttes-Chaumont with its castle-like structure making for a gorgeous vantage spot, Les Serres d’Auteuil to see the exotic greenhouse plants, and the Jardins de Luxembourg, which make for prime picnic space.

2) Reflect in a historic cathedral.

France’s rich and long Catholic history is evident all over Paris. Sadly, Notre Dame’s restoration kept me from visiting the most well-known cathedral in the city. At first, I thought that meant I wouldn’t get the French cathedral experience, but Paris is filled with plenty of other Catholic havens. Le Sacré-Coeur is probably the most well-known. A striking cathedral constructed on the hill of Montmartre, Le Sacré-Coeur is open to the public, regularly holds mass, and offers a sweeping view of the city. In Le Marais, I stumbled on Le Cathédrale de Saint-Paul, which offers a glimpse into Renaissance architecture in the middle of one of Paris’s most popular modern-day neighborhoods. Regardless of your faith, medieval and Renaissance French cathedrals offer a beautiful spot to pause and reflect.

3) Sit along the banks of La Seine.

Or take a stroll along them. La Seine, the beautiful river that runs right through the heart of the city, offers countless reading or viewing spots. The river is naturally picturesque, flanked on either side by some of Paris’s most impressive monuments. You can even take one of the many bridges across her—one of the most decorative and famous being Le Pont Alexandre. There’s nothing more Parisian than sitting beside La Seine with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

4) Sightsee at some of the major spots.

While admission to some major sites requires a fee, plenty of the places to see around Paris are publicly accessible. You’ll have to pay to get in to the lawn under the Eiffel Tower or to be able to go inside it, but you can get gorgeous pictures and breathtaking views of the tower from outside the gates for free. Similarly, L’Arc de Triomphe is a public monument that you can appreciate for free. You can also check out the exterior of Les Invalides, Le Petit Palais, Le Grand Palais, and Le Panthéon. I especially enjoyed walking around the intellectual neighborhoods surrounding La Sorbonne, one of the oldest universities in the world.

5) Rock out at La Fête de la Musique.

While this is a summer special, I had to include it here because it was one of the highlights of my trip. Artists of all caliber take to the streets and public squares to perform for free for a night in June. Dancing crowds gather for concerts outside the Louvre and La Comédie Française for special performances from artists of all different styles. Definitely a great way to kick off the beginning of summer.

6) Wander through some of the best museums.

Plenty of Parisian museums offer free admission for students or for those under 26. Le Musée de la Vie Romantique is free for everyone. The quaint house that used to belong to literary legend George Sand is filled with her artworks from the romantic period. Musée d’Orlangerie is also free for everyone and houses Monet’s famous water lilies tableau. Fridays after 6 pm those under 26 can get into the Louvre for free for four hours until it closes. Originally the palace of Louis XIV, the Louvre is now one of the largest museums in existence, featuring art from all over the world. Musée d’Orsay also offers free admission for students into their permanent collections and temporary exhibits. Musée d’Orsay now has an impressive display of art nouveau and early impressionist works but was once a train station and still maintains its original structure.

Ultimately, Paris is full of fun places to wander, picnic, read, and admire without having to spend a euro. The moments I feel most content and Parisian are the ones where I am surrounded by the art, nature, or history that the city has to offer.

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Rose Tyler

<p>Hi there! I'm a psychology and French student setting out on a dream to explore Paris. Some of my favorite things include working with kids, writing stories, and giving tours of my campus back home.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
Ohio State University, The
Dayton, OH
French Language
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