Guest Post: Seven Great Things to Do in Paris for Free

Greetings Readers!

I am, still today, madly typing away at my NaNoWriMo novel. (You can see my progress here.)  I’m also still keeping an eye on the wee ones of Ms MJ, An American Mom in Paris, but only for a couple more days as their departure back to Seattle is imminent, aka next Wednesday. I can’t think too much about that, though, as now that I have gotten to know her kiddos so much better, I’m aching with the idea that I may not ever see them again. MJ has already promised to come back to visit, so I’m not worried about never seeing her again (hee hee).  While this is a very bittersweet time for her, I just wanted to say here how I have enjoyed her presence here in Paris and in the Paris Bloghood. Life will not be ever quite the same without her updates on Paris. She’d better write about re-entry into Seattle, though, or I am going to have to go over there and kick some a**.  Three cheers for the American Mom in Paris! Can I get a holla?!


Some of you may remember at the end of this past September, I wrote about how I had a guest post that appeared on the Blog (UPDATE 25 January 2012: now it’s the Blog!). It was the lovely Leah Prendergast who worked with me, asking me to contribute.

I have not used their services, but I have to say that if the interactions I have had with Leah are any indication, is a top-notch site from which to book trips and get advice about budget-conscious travel. Hopefully, there will be one day soon when I will be able to avail myself of their services and see some more of Europe using their travel tips and booking services. As a part of that, just so you know, I have in no way been paid or given any other promotional consideration in writing such. That’s just me, from the heart, based on the messages I had going back and forth with Leah and from reading their information on their blog. One of these days I will put up an official “Disclaimers” page that says as much for all my posts. But there you have it: I only put stuff on here where I have somehow had a personal connection with someone, and they seem like they are nice and have something cool to share. That’s it. I get no money from writing here, and I have never been paid to write about how X,Y or Z product or service is a good one.

That said, Leah has been kind enough to write a guest post on “Seven Great Things to Do in Paris for Free.” I’m really thankful to have something to put on the site this month as I am furiously still trying to write about 5,296 more words of my novel, resulting in a decent rough draft from which to create something truly spectacular over the coming months. *cross fingers*

Without further ado, please continue reading about some terrific FREE (ghetto Paris Karin loves FREE) and interesting things to do in Paris. Thank you, Leah!

Seven Great Things to Do in Paris for Free

This post was brought to you by Leah Prendergast from the budget travel specialists.

Paris is known as “La Ville-Lumiere,” the City of Lights. It is also known the world over as the City of Love. Visiting Paris is a dream for millions of people everywhere; however, the cost of traveling to the City of Love and Lights can make the journey seem impossible. Factually, a cheap Paris hotel is not difficult to find, and there are many things to do during a stay in Paris that are completely free.

1. Notre Dame Cathedral

Photo of the Cathedral Notre Dame by: dewolla

This Roman Catholic Cathedral is considered by many to be the most impressive example of Gothic architecture in Europe. Tours are approximately one hour long and are free to the public in a variety of language. The cathedral is open from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday and from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM on Sundays. Visitors are also welcome to attend mass.

2. Musée Carnavalet

Photo of the Musée Carnavalet by: Bertrand Dupperin

The Musée Carnavalet is an excellent choice for those who wish to learn more about this beautiful city. It is home to sculptures, drawings, photographs, furniture, coins, and many other numerous items dating back to Renaissance time and detailing the history of Paris. All permanent collection pieces are free to the public, but temporary exhibits, workshops, and lectures do require an admission fee. The museum is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday.

3. Gardens of Versailles

Photo of the Gardens of Versailles by: woowoowoo

To enjoy the Palace of Versailles without having to pay the entry fee, plan a tour of the Versailles Gardens. Originally designed in the 17th century and commissioned by Louis XIV, the Versailles Gardens are made of expansive lawns, ornate sculptures, fountains, and beautiful flowers. The garden areas are open to the public from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

4. Hôtel de Ville

Photo of the Hôtel de Ville by: Edwin.11

The Hôtel de Ville is Paris’s city hall, but also is home to many stately statues and temporary art exhibits. Unlike many museums that charge a fee for temporary exhibits, the Hôtel de Ville offers viewing of these exhibits free of charge. Hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday.

5. Musée Curie

Photo of Le Panthéon** by: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE’s

A museum that is a bit off the beaten path, the Musée Curie is housed in Marie Curie’s former laboratory. Learn about the history of radiology, scientific research, and the family legacy left behind by the Curies. Reopening in 2012, the museum has free guided tours for groups and individuals.

[**Note from Karin: The Musée Curie at the Institut Curie is located just to the south of the Panthéon, on rue d’Ulm. However, both Marie and her scientific partner and husband, Pierre Curie, were interred at the Panthéon in 1995 – source. Please also note that the Panthéon does not have free admission. Admission at the Panthéon at the time of posting is €8 for the regular adult fee. For more information in English about the Panthéon see this link at the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.]

6. Musée du Parfum

Photo of the Musée du Parfum by: Ariaski

Imagined by the Fragonard perfume company, the Museum of Perfume has on display antique perfume bottles, toiletries, and perfume making devices. Entry and tours are free. Hours are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday and 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday.

7. Paris Greeters Tours

Photo by: bibendum84

Volunteer guides from Paris meet for two to three hour walking tours of the city. Tours are available for solo travellers or for up to six people. Requests for these tours must be made in advance via email and are subject to availability. Tours are free, but they do accept donations.

Other Free Things to Do in Paris

Occasionally, some of the most popular attractions in Paris open their doors for free as well. If travel plans can accommodate it, the first Sunday of each month offers free admission to such notable locales as the Louvre Museum, the Pantheon, Musée Rodin, Centre Pompidou, and Musée d’Orsay.

There are also a number of self-guided sightseeing missions that are budget-friendly. Take a stroll along the Seine or enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower from the nearby Champs de Mars. Paris is also home to a number of public parks and gardens that can be enjoyed at no cost.

A stay in Paris is within almost any budget. Clean, yet inexpensive accommodations are easily found for the price-conscious tourist, and there are multiple attractions and activities that will create memories that last a lifetime.

Categories: Guest Posts, Things to Do in Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Post navigation

19 thoughts on “Guest Post: Seven Great Things to Do in Paris for Free

  1. Tour de Catacombs?

    A quel heure est-ce le meilleur pour descendé entre le province des mortes??


    • …m…, bonjour, mon ami!

      Really nice to have you visit here — it’s been a long time, but it is, as always, truly wonderful to have your presence be known. 🙂 Thank you!

      You know, I really wanted to réponds/reprendre? en français, but then realized my grammar is still HORRIBLE and my l’orthographe worse, so I am doing this weird hybrid thing instead, haha.

      Anyway, those Catacombs, while a totally groovy place, in fact cost quite a lot of euros these days, ergo not qualifying as free. It’s worth the price, though, IMHO.

      The best time to descend into the realm of the dead? (I didn’t even have to look that one up on Google Translate, though, so things are getting better!!) Who can know the hour or the day that they will pass to the Other Side? Not I. I might know a lot of things, but even that, I cannot know. 😉

      Merci de visiter mon site du web, Monsieur M! You take care of yourself. 🙂


  2. Hello Karin wishing you a happy Thanksgiving my friend

  3. Hey Karin…firstly I second all the comments about MJ…meeting up with the two of you was a highlight of that trip and becoming “friends” in cyberspace has continued to be a real joy….I always feel like a bit of me is still in Paris when I can read what the two of you have been up to.

    We are going to miss her adventures over there but no doubt there will be just as many crazy stories in Seattle…

    great list of freebie things to do in Paris…while it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world it’s also possible to see and do some many things “sur le bon marche”….just walking around costs nothing…and eating a huge lunch instead of an expensive dinner is one way to save…

    if you see MJ one more time give her a big hug from me…….nous aurons toujours Paris!!

    • Hey Deb! So glad you gave a holla to MJ. I just saw her and her family for the last time today, until a future visit from her and Al, that is, whenever that is. I’m really sad about the whole thing. I really got to bond with her kids, and I’m gonna miss them mucho. *sniff* I am so glad that we all got to hang out and visit, too — that was a lot of fun! Here’s the funny thing: I took Coco for a stroller ride through the Lux today, and I passed the café where we three had coffee and thought of us hanging out! It was a trip to come home and see your comment about that here. 🙂 We were on the same wavelength.

      Oh man she had better dish on a few crazy stories in Seattle, lol!

      I’m glad you like the list, too. I am all curious about the Musée Curie now — read up a bunch on them because of looking up info on the museum. They had quite the love story and relationship. And a sad ending, too. Very romantic for scientists, but then they were in France, haha. And can i get an AMEN for huge lunches!! I am all about the huge lunches. Or, have a friend that lives here and crash her pad and cook dinner at her house.

      So, I already hugged MJ, but I’ll count it as from you, too, and perhaps when she sees this, she will, too.

      Take care, Deb, and stay cool (in the non-cold awesome way) up there in Toronto. 🙂

  4. Hello karin, I great post, there is lots to see for free, especially if you “walk” as we know. So still lots for me to see , thanks for all the info on these places, take care hugs Anne

    • Hi Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by and reading! Yup, walking Paris is not only super-do-able, but a kick, if one’s feet and legs are up to it. Heck, Anne, there is still lots for me to see and I have been here for over three years! It’s incredible how much is present here in the city, and it continues to open up to even me. You take care, too, and hugs back atcha. 🙂

  5. Lauri

    Thanks for posting this, Karin. I look forward to my trip to Paris in April. With only 3 days in the city, we will have to plan well, in order to see/do everything we want. Saving money is a bonus!

    Congrats on finishing your novel – woohoo!

    • Hi Lauri! It is going to be so cool to see you here, face to face. 🙂 I’m glad that this will help you to make a plan of seeing and doing lots, while saving a few euro while you do it!

      Thanks for the congrats on completing NaNo, too. 🙂 I’m glad that I deeed eeeeet! 😉

  6. Pingback: French Friday: Your Guide to Visit Paris for Free

  7. Yes, there are a lot of things free of charge, maybe the best one, just stroll around, feel the atmosphere… Nice to see that there was a reference to “Greeters”; I have the previlege to be one of the guides! 🙂

    • Hello Peter!

      Indeed, just strolling is a magnificent way to experience the city. I thought you had said you were one of the Greeters! When I was reading up on them, I thought it sounded like the guide program you were volunteering with in Paris. So glad that there was a reference, too!

      Thanks for stopping by, Peter!

  8. Maria O. Russell

    Hip Hip Hooray for MJ!!!

    I´m sorry your friend left Karin, I can imagine how you must feel.

    I love this post. Such beautiful photos of Paris!

    Thank you Karin


    • Hello Maria!

      Thank you for reading, as always. 🙂

      It is strange having a friend leave the city — especially as she arrived six months after I did and is leaving just short of three total years of being here. As of Sunday, I have been here three-and-a-half years. With MJ’s departure, it dawned on me that I don’t have an “expiration date” for Paris as so many expats do. I’m just here. For who knows how long! I had visions of being an older person here, and not sure that is what I envision for my life, but it certainly is a possibility.

      Leah sure chose nice photos for this post, didn’t she. I have to say: Paris is very photogenic!

      You’re welcome, Maria. I’m glad you liked the post.

      Je t’embrasse!

  9. Hi Karin!

    So nice to hear from you! Yep, I no longer reside in Paris. Feels weird to write this. As if I was getting used to the idea. Ten action-filled years spent there. Lots of fond memories, of real life. You know, Paris style… gems and shit, like a friend of mine once blurted out on her visit over.

    I am enjoying getting settled in Canada. The change of environments feels very positive. Quebec City is a lot smaller than Paris and for now that only feels welcomed. Future will tell if I’ll think differently later on.

    Sending snowy hugs… let’s stay in touch through blogging!


  10. Hi Karin,
    I love your blog and this guest post about free things to do in Paris…it is most welcomed since as everyone one who has ever been there knows everything there is so expensive…Thank god they are not taking toll on pedestrians (yet LOL) and a lot of monuments and museums are actually free! So I guess there is still hope for expats trying to discover the city of lights without going completely broke!
    Thanks again 🙂

  11. Pingback: French Friday - Your Guide to Visit Paris for Free - Misadventures with Andi

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: