Top 10 Free Things to See & Do in Paris

Top 10 Free Things to See & Do in Paris

A holiday in Paris doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, if you do a little bit of research you’ll be able to see much of the City of Lights for free! To save you some time we compiled a list of our top 10 free things to see and do in Paris. From visiting free museums to discovering the Eiffel Tower up close without paying a dime, we’ve got you covered!

1. Discover Free Museums in Paris


Picture of the Louvre Museum in ParisYou can visit the Louvre and other museums in Paris for free every 1st Sunday of the month

Fancy seeing the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay for free? You can visit all major museums in Paris for free on the 1st Sunday of each month! Understandably it can get quite crowded in the most popular museums of Paris on this day, so try to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. You can also choose to visit one of the slightly less famous (but still absolutely fantastic) museums in Paris such as the Musée des Arts et Métiers or Musée Rodin.

Are you a citizen of the European Union and under 25 years old? We have good news for you! You can visit all the museums in Paris free of charge. This applies to all major and small museums and even big attractions such as the Palace of Versailles. Do remember to bring proof of documentation such as a passport or identification card or you’ll have to pay!

Not from the EU or older than 25? There are still several museums in Paris that are free to the public. For instance, the beautiful Petit Palais next to the Champs Elysées has a wonderful permanent collection of fine arts that is always free to visit. The Maison de Victor Hugo in the famous Place des Vosges also doesn’t charge an entrance fee. These are just two examples of the many free museums in Paris. Check out Free Admission in Paris Museums for the whole list of museums that are free to visit.

2. Explore Paris’ Parks

Paris is home to many gorgeous parks that are absolutely free to visit. In the city center of Paris you have the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Plantes. There are also several sprawling green parks in the outer arrondissements, such as the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Parc de Belleville, Parc Andre Citroen, and Parc de la Villette. You can even visit the Versailles Gardens for free off-season.

3. Take the Funicular in Montmartre


Image of the funicular of Montmartre and the Sacre CoeurThe funicular of Montmartre can take you up to the Sacre Coeur for free if you’ve got a charged metro card

Although technically this funicular railway charges an entrance fee, you can ride for free when you’ve got a charged metro card. The funicular runs between the foot and the summit of Montmartre, and is a great way to discover this Bohemian neighborhood. If you haven’t got a daily, weekly or monthly metro card you can also choose to climb up the hill through the park that runs up to the Sacre Coeur. From the steps of the church you’ll get amazing free panoramic views of Paris.

To find out more about the area, check out our video tour of Montmartre.

4. Visit the Churches & Cathedrals of Paris

You’ll find many beautiful churches and cathedrals throughout the city of Paris, and most of these are free to visit. The popular Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cité and the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre do not charge entrance fees.

There are also many historic churches in Paris displaying ingenious architecture and striking stained-glass windows. You’ll find that when you walk around the arrondissements of Paris you’ll bump into amazing churches when you least expect it!

5. Visit the Bibliothèque Nationale de France


Picture of the National Library of France in ParisOne of the book-shaped towers of the National Library of France in Paris

The National Library of France, better known as the BNF, is an amazing modern building located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Built in 1996, the library is made up of four large glass and chrome towers shaped as books. These towers hold the library’s permanent collection of over 14 million books. In between the towers is a central garden with beautiful old pine trees. The library is completely free to visit, and whether you come for the architecture or to peruse the historical books of the permanent collection, the BNF is sure to make for an intriguing visit.

6. See Paris’ Most Famous Monuments For Free


Image of the Arc de Triomphe in ParisThe Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysées in Paris

Like the museums of Paris, you can visit Paris’ most famous monuments for free on the 1st Sunday of every month. Do note that this only applies off-season between November 1st and March 31st. Among the monuments you can visit for free are the Arc de Triomphe, Chateau de Vincennes, the Panthéon and the Conciergerie. For more information about the Arc de Triomphe, see Visit the Arc the Triomphe. You can also climb the towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral for free. Be aware that the entrance for the tower visit is located outside the Cathedral on the left side of the façade. The Cathedral itself is always free to visit.

7. Discover the Arènes de Lutèce

The Arènes de Lutèce is a Roman amphitheater, and one of the most important remains of the Gallo-Roman area of Paris. Built around the 1st century AD, the amphitheater consisted of a sunken arena with a stage and surrounding terraces that could fit up to 17,000 viewers. The amphitheater was used for both theater performances and combat. Today you can visit what remains of the amphitheater for free in a small park called the Place Emile Male close to the Jardin des Plantes in the Latin Quarter.

8. Watch the Eiffel Tower Light Up at Night

You don’t have to pay a fee to see the Eiffel Tower at its most beautiful. Every night the Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes each hour after sunset (until 2am). It’s absolutely beautiful to see the tower light up the sky, and the closer you are the better you’ll be able to see the individual lights flicker on and off like tiny diamonds. You’ll get some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower at the Champ de Mars, which is free to enter. You can even pack a picnic at home to bring to the park and have dinner beneath the sparkling Eiffel Tower!

We have many vacation rental apartments available in Paris that come with fully equipped kitchens, which makes it easy to prepare your own dinner picnic basket. And if you can’t get enough of the Eiffel Tower, consider staying in an apartment like this 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides that has spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower!

9. Pay a Visit to Cimetière du Père-Lachaise


Picture of the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise Tombs at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery

The Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is Paris’ most famous graveyard, and a hauntingly beautiful peaceful park in the middle of the busy city. The huge graveyard is free to visit, but at most of its entrances you can opt to buy a map of the graveyard for a small fee. This is recommendable if you want to visit a particular grave, as it can be quite difficult to find even the famous graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. Visit the cemetery on a sunny day and stroll up and down the cobblestone streets beneath leafy trees. The elaborate tombs are quite a sight to behold.

10. Attend a Free Fashion Show at the Famous Galeries Lafayette

Paris’ famous department store Galeries Lafayette is a must-see for any lover of fashion. The department store features many designer brands and has a beautiful domed ceiling made of glass. Every Friday at 3 pm you can attend a fashion show on the 7th floor of the Galeries Lafayette. The show is completely free to attend, though seats must be reserved ahead of time. You can reserve a spot by sending an email to Also be sure to pay a visit to the neighboring department store Printemps after your visit to Galeries Lafayette. The top floor of Printemps has an amazing rooftop terrace that’s also free to visit and has 360-degree panoramic views of Paris!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of our top 10 free things to see and do in Paris! What’s your favorite free place in Paris?


Consumer Survey Confirms Value of Agents

Consumer Survey Confirms Value of Agents


February 28, 2014

People who use travel agents are more likely to be happier with their trips than those who don’t, according to a new survey from ASTA. The study also found that use of traditional travel agents is growing.

The survey, the “Value of Travel Agents,” was sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines and conducted by travel consulting firm MMGY Global. The results were presented at a press conference in New York City on Thursday.

MMGY polled nearly 8,400 Americans who had incomes of more than $50,000 and who had traveled within the last year.

Use of agents is growing
The study found that 13% of travelers used a traditional travel agent in the past year—about one in 10 Americans—up from 11% percent a few years ago.

Among leisure travelers who did not use a travel agent in the past year, 41% said they were open to using one in the future.

Millennials accounted for 29% of those who used an agent; Boomers accounted for 22%, and Gen Xers accounted for about 50%.

Better trips
Overall, more than half of leisure travelers who used an agent said their vacations were better than trips they had booked without agent assistance.

Millennials who used an agent were most likely (59%) to report that their vacations were better as a result, followed closely by Boomers (58%) and Gen Xers (53%).

“The survey results are important, because they demonstrate the value of using a travel agent to consumers,” said Zane Kerby, president of ASTA.

Consumers who use a travel agent also travel more, taking one more trip a year than consumers who don’t use an agent – an average 4.7 trips a year, compared to 3.6, according to the study.

Consulting the pros
The convenience of having an expert plan a trip as well as travel professionals’ knowledge of destinations and suppliers were the top reasons for using agents, the survey found.

Respondents said their agents were their most influential source for selecting hotels, vacation packages, destinations, airlines and cruises.

On the flip side, more than half of those who did not use an agent said they simply “never thought to do so.” Their primary reason for not using an agent was control over trip research and organization.

What can you do for me?
People who use travel agents are happy about their use of them and happy in life,” said Steve Cohen, vice president of insights for MMGY Global.

“The problem is that not enough people recognize what travel agents can do for them,” he added.

“The opportunity [for agencies] isn’t to convince [consumers] why they’re better; it’s just to convince them that agents are still there.”

Business travel trends
The study also considered business travel trends.

It found that about two in 10 people used an agent to book their business travel in the last year.

Here too the data indicated that those who used agents for business travel make more trips per year than those who don’t.

Business travelers who use agents are also more likely to book travel over the phone direct with a travel service supplier.


“Springtime in Paris” cruise – April 2015 on Avalon River Cruises


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“SPRINGTIME IN PARIS” – GROUP CRUISE  APRIL 11-18, 2015 8 days Complimentary wi-fi, premium coffees, shore excursions in every port, sparkling wine with breakfast, soft drinks, bottled water, regional wines and beers for dinner, and open dining.   Hello friends, … Continue reading

What type of cruise line should I choose ?

February 11, 2014 at 10:47pm

by Steve Rice; The Cruise Butler

Choosing a cruise line to travel on is just like choosing a hotel chain to stay at. With hotels you have many inexpensive options, mid-range options and high end hotels to choose from. Well the cruise lines are no different. Some are very inexpensive, some are mid-range and others are on the high side. But it’s important to note just like with the hotels you get what you pay for! Even though the higher priced cruise lines will cost you more upfront they include a lot more than the mass market cruise lines do. Many times gratuities, specialty restaurants, wine, beer, sodas, bottled water, internet, alcoholic beverages, champagne breakfasts, gourmet coffees, teas, even shore excursions and more will be included. The majority of the inexpensive to mid-range cruise lines you will charge you more for all these extras.

If you are looking for a smaller ship with fewer passengers onboard then I would encourage you to consider one of these options. The mid-size to large sized ships can hold up to 3-6 thousand people. These smaller ships typically hold just between 120-1200 people.

Another huge benefit of these smaller cruise lines is that they can generally increase your sightseeing time in port. This maximizes your vacation time. Thinks about it, how long do you think it takes to board 200-500 people compared to boarding 3-6 thousand people?

Avalon SuitesSmaller ships like river cruises dock in the heart of town and you’re within walking distance to all the sightseeing attractions. Many other ships will drop anchor right in a cove of a gorgeous beach versus docking in a large and busy commercial dock area where it might take you over 30 minutes in a cab (another expense) just to get to a nice beach. Some smaller ships will even stay in port overnight giving you a whole new perspective of the town you’re in.

There really aren’t any cruise lines that are adult-only, but these smaller more upscale cruise lines don’t cater to children so you will find very few if any of them onboard.

So while these smaller cruise lines cost more their benefits and the over-all positive cruise experience far out ways the extra cost.

We are always here to help and guide you in planning your next great adventure. So why not give us a call and book your next cruise with us.

The Cruise Butler – 830-981-2445 –