Europe on a euro: Free and cheap Paris
Some of the best things in life are free … including travel experiences. Here are 15 ideas for free and inexpensive ways to explore Paris.
1. For an overview of sites, history and geography, start with a free 2- to 3-hour Sandemans New Europe walking tour. Tips are anticipated, and groups of 10 or more will pay a small fee per person (under 10 euros). Check times and reserve your spots online. You can also take a self-guided walk with Paris Info’s detailed itineraries.
2. Arrive early to wander the Louvre without paying anything! Admission is free the first Sunday of the month from October to March.
3. Browse (but don't buy!) at the stunning Art-Nouveau-era Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann, and peek at the city from the rooftop patio. Reserve your seats for a free 30-minute fashion show, scheduled every Friday afternoon.
4. Notre-Dame is among the most famous and most visited cathedrals in the world, and is free to the public.
5. Pose for a family photo at the “I Love You” art exhibit in Montmartre, a tiled wall decorated with the sentiment scrawled in 250 languages.
6. Catch a flick under the stars during Open-Air Cinema each summer in Parc de la Villette. Free showings are typically American films with French subtitles.
7. Enjoy the views from the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, a Byzantine-style travertine church that marks the highest point in the city. Download a free audio guide in advance because guided tours are not available.
8. Attend free events any time of year, including summer beach parties, music fests and fireworks displays.
9. Tour the spectacular Sainte-Chapelle, completed in 1248. The lower chapel’s centerpiece is the oldest mural in Paris, and the upper chapel has 15 stained glass windows illustrating more than 1,100 biblical scenes in astonishing detail. Entrance is 10 euros for adults, free for those under age 18.
10. Visit the dead at the beautiful Père Lachaise cemetery, where Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and more than 1 million others are buried.
11. Escape the city bustle on the Promenade Plantée, a railroad bridge transformed into an elevated green space.
13. Admire the Eiffel Tower and get a great selfie at Place de Trocadéro or Champ de Mars.
14. Stroll along the glamorous Champs-Élysées, but avoid pricey temptations inside the exclusive shops.
15. Spend the afternoon with a Greeter, a volunteer ambassador for the city, who will take you off the beaten path.
Tip: There are a number of tourism cards available, including the Paris Pass, Paris Museum Pass and Paris Visite card. PriceofTravel.com reviews their costs and value.