Although one does not simply "pass time" in Paris, with world class restaurants, eclectic vintages of wine and sumptuous hotels, Paris can cost nothing short of a pretty penny. However, in the beautiful and classical city that is legendary Paris not every great experience costs money. For those who find their wallets weeping a little bit from all the spending, here are a few completely free ways to enjoy the city.
Check Out the Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame cuts a dominating figure out alongside the banks of the Seine, with its imposing stone beauty and unforgettable detail making it one of the most popular attractions in Paris. With all its Gothic-style glory and magnificent stained glass, it is hard to believe that Notre Dame is completely free of an admission fee to tour. Visitors are free to come in and say a prayer or simply explore many of the different sections of the church. Outside the church in the square and bridges there is normally an assortment of different buskers from full bands to live statues that make a trip to Notre Dame even more entertaining.
Watch the Eiffel Tower Glitter
While there may be an admission fee to climb the Eiffel Tower, they can't charge a person to look at it, not yet anyway. Regardless, the best views of the Eiffel Tower are not from atop it, but from afar. The best time to view this 324 meter masterpiece is after the sunsets when it is all lit up in the already glowing Paris skyline. The Eiffel Tower actually will glitter as it hosts a fabulous five minute light show every hour until one in the morning.
Window Shop Champs-Élysées
The Champs-Elysees is the most glamorous tree-lined avenue in Paris and one of several places that visitors simply must pay a visit to. During the day, visitors can stroll among the crowd past chic boutiques and bustling cafes, but with all the street lights, it is just as impressive at night. Likewise, its iconic Arc de Triomphe is glorious any time of day as well.
Make the Most of Free First Sunday
This free way of enjoying Paris actually takes a bit of forethought and planning, but if visitors can line it up, it is well worth it. During the first Sunday of each month, all the wonderful museums and monuments in the city abandon admission fees and are open for public viewing completely free of charge. Climb the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre or even visit those strange spots like the Albert-Kahn Museum of Gardens that you normally probably wouldn't want to pay money for, all free of charge. Through careful planning, travellers can pack a lot into one day.
Enjoy Free Wine Tastings
It takes some research, but it is possible to try some famous French wine without the famous French wine price tag. Instead of sipping wine at a restaurant, travellers will want to head to wine shops for their free tastings. La Derniere Goutte hosts free wine tastings on Fridays at 5:00 pm while Caves de Taillevent hosts free tastings on Saturdays. Essentially, travellers should make note of any wine shops they pass and look on their websites to see if and when they host free tastings (as many do).
Window Shop in Flea Markets
Although snatching up some French antiques or other bits and bobs may cost a few Euros, there is no harm in just looking. Parisian flea markets are truly a thing to behold. They are the very opposite of what most travellers expect Paris to be. They are busy, crowded, cramped and with occasionally very little style to it all. They are a great place for travellers to see what is out there on the market as well as to people watch.
Stroll the Gardens of Jardin du Luxembourg
As the second largest city park in Paris, it is easy to spend an entire day in the Jardin du Luxembourg. This beautifully manicured garden was originally built in the 17th century and has since become the garden of the French Senate. Not only can visitors bask in the natural splendor, but the gardens contain hundreds of statues, monuments and fountains - including the first model of the Statue of Liberty by Frederic Bartholdi.
Catch a Movie at Parc de la Villette Open Air Cinema
Those in Paris during the summer should make the most of the warm summer nights by enjoying a free film at the Parc de la Villette Open Air Cinema. From July through August, the park shows free films every night just after sun down.
Escape the City on the La Promenade Plantee
Similar to New York City's High Line project, the La Promenade Plantee is a tree and garden lined walkway that was created in 1993 from a derelict elevated railway in east Paris. The trail spans four and a half kilometers, taking visitors up and down stair cases, across viaducts and above city streets in one of the most beautiful ways to explore Paris.
Explore the Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Some may find it morbid, but the Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. Within its ominous stone entrance on Paris's 20th arrondissement are 69,000+ ornate graves, tombs and memorials to not just the average Parisian but some famous names as well. Within, visitors can see the bronze figure bursting out of Georges Rodenbach's grave, the red lipstick stains on Oscar Wilde's final resting place or the surprisingly simple stone marker of Jim Morrison's grave that draws the biggest crowd.