The 100 Best Free Things to Do in Paris

Old Jul 15th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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The 100 Best Free Things to Do in Paris

Inspired by quicksilver's great trip report, (http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35142294), I thought it be fun (and helpful) to compile a list of our favorite things to do in Paris that are free. Not inexpensive. Not cheap. But literally...free. Some might be museums that don't charge entrance fees on certain days...others may be something as simple as a spectacular view.

Some on the Forum are planning trips for this fall...others of us, myself included, have no trip planned at the moment, but would like to get back sooner rather than later. Perhaps this mounting evidence of free wonders will convince us that we can swing a visit. And in all honesty, I just like thinking about it.

What is your favorite guilt-FREE pleasure in Paris?

(You'll notice that I set the goal at a hundred but I do hope we'll break it...)
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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Sit on a bench at the end of the Tuileries Gardens and watch the chaotic traffic roar thru the Place de la Concorde down below - especially foolish pedestrians who try to cross against the red lights.

Watch street entertainers on the Boul St Michel or in front of the Pompidou Centre

Stroll thru Notre-Dame Cathedral
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 10:11 AM
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Stroll the Seine behind Notre Dame Cathedral.

During the holiday season, stroll the Champs Elysees under the lighted trees.

Sunday morning organ mini-concert at St. Sulpice.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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A visit to the Carnavalet museum (which is always free).
Strolling through the Marais district is wonderful, particularly when one has read that Hausseman didn't get around to re-arranging the Marais district, so it maintains its ancient charms.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Two free museums that are situated very close to one another: Musee Carnavalet and Musee Cognacq-Jay.
I haven't had the chance to visit Musee du Petit Palais since it reopened and am looking forward to going to this (free) museum on my next visit.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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- Visit the beautiful churches and spend some time looking closely at the stained glass windows.
- The City of Paris museums are free:
. Zadkine
. Deportation Memorial (behind Notre Dame)
. Balzac's House
. Cognacq-Jay
. Romantic Life
. Carnavalet (except for special exhibits)
. Victor Hugo's House
. Palace of Justice
. Modern Art
. Petit Palais
- The Louvre is free to under 26 YO on Friday evening
- Notre Dame gives a wonderful free tour 3 times per week. Half the tour is outside the cathedral exploring the facade; the remainder is inside looking at the choir, Gothic vaulting, and windows.
- Check Pariscope magazine (only 40cents) every Wednesday or look at the church notice boards for free church concerts/vespers
- Paris is full of lovely fountains. Spend a day wandering the arrondisements looking for these gems and simultaneously experience this beautiful city
- The Luxembourg Gardens offers foot paths, flowers, fountains, statues, men playing boules, a children's playground, and a memorial to 9-11
- Connect with the Paris Greeter service; volunteers who guide visitors for 2-3 hours.
- There are free walking tours (an overview of Paris and Montmartre)
- Street markets offer hours of delight, looking at (and sampling) the wonderful foods combined with fabulous people watching
- Three major cemetaries are free - Pere Lachaise, Montparnasse, and Montmartre. The tombstones are works of art.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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Every Sunday at noon, music and dancing at the bottom of rue Mouffetard - free and fabulous!!
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Lectures at the College de France. You must understand French. http://www.college-de-france.fr/defa...lish/index.htm
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Several museums incl the Louvre, Musee Rodin and d'Orsay are free first Sunday of the month.

Just standing on Pont Neuf and enjoying the 360' view of Paris. Formidable!
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Take a walk on the Promenade Plantee at Bastille.

Visit the Pavillon de l'Arsenal near Bastille, for history of development and planning of Paris. NOT boring !

Use one's Carte Orange or Paris Visite to take rides in Bus No. 69 and 42. See all the sights.

At the rond-point of the Champs Elysees, there is a beautiful mansion with lots of gold trim on the gates and a sign outside (a discreet sign) that reads ARTCURIAL. This is an auction house and you are permitted to enter and see what will be up for auction. It is a grand opportunity to see the inside of a great Paris mansion gratis.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Many Friday evenings there is a skate around Paris with locals - hundreds i guess participate - gratis - bring skates and go thru the streets of Paris
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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Saint-Vincent Garden
Bercy Park
Deyrolles
Jardin Atlantique
Paris Plage
Parc St-Cloud
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I loved strolling around Ile St. Louis, although really strolling around any part of Paris was lovely.

Tracy
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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I've borrowing some thoughts from an article I read.

For music lovers, check the churches. The Val de Grâce church in the Fifth Arrondissement, for example, offers a free classical music and organ concert at 7 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month; the Madeleine Church in the Eighth Arrondissement offers free organ and choral concerts two or three Sundays a month at 4 p.m.

For the last 10 years, a group of hard-core dancers have gathered on the Seine every evening from mid-May through September. They do the tango, salsa and rock-swing. Free lessons start at 7:30 p.m. (a hat for tips is passed), followed by dancing until midnight. It all happens at Square Tino Rossi at 9, quai St.-Bernard in front of the University of Paris at Jussieu just a few steps from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame (“Paris Danses en Seine,” tangoargentin-eric.site.voila.fr/page3.html).

(I've seen them while taking Seine River cruise and wondered who they were)

The iconic restaurant Taillevent has one of the best wine cellars in the world, and every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. it offers a free tasting. Visit the www.taillevent.com and click on “Les Caves Taillevent,” then “Nos Prestations” and then “Les Dégustations” for information (in French only) on the schedule and theme of the tasting.



Mike
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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The gardens of Versailles are free. You could spend an entire day here, just strolling, taking pictures, picnicking, etc.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 10:46 PM
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I reiterate that a visit to The Park of Bercy in rue de Bercy 75012 ,Paris ( catch the metro to Bercy ) is worth a trip in warmer months if you love gardens and flowers .FREE and delightful .There is a labryinth ,rose garden , a perfumed garden , vegetable gardens and flower gardens and all wonderful to admire. Your search engine will bring up a number of sites that describe it and have photographs of some of it .All the community gardens and flower beds are quite untypical of most Parisian public gardens .
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:29 PM
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Stroll the side streets in St Germain (6th Arr) and window gaze at the fantastic and out-of-this-world artworks. Most windows are lit in the evenings, so this can be done at any time.
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 01:55 AM
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At the weekend there are fabulous buskers on the little bridge at the back of Notre Dame (sorry I can't remember the name of the bridge).
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 04:11 AM
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Passage Jouffray and the other Passages.
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Old Jul 16th, 2008, 05:29 AM
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There are frequently very entertaining street performers in the plaza outside the Pompidou Center.

Also next to the Pompidou Center is the colorful and whimsical Stravinsky fountain.
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