Top free things to do in Paris

Posted by admin | Posted in Europe | Posted on 28-01-2011

Paris is one of the world’s most expensive cities but some of the lesser known and best ways to enjoy it is to experience some of the free activities it has on offer. Paris is one of the best cities to walk around, so leave most of your belongings at your Paris hotel, grab your camera and take to the streets to soak in all of the unique atmosphere this beautiful city has to offer. Forget the usual sights you immediately think off when planning a trip to Paris and here are my top 5 free things to do in ‘The City of Light’.

Cimetiere Pere Lachaise

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world and a great place to come for an afternoon of reflection and too soak up some history whilst in Paris. Located in the cities 20th arrondissement it is thought to be the most visited cemetery in the world, the reason for this is that it is the final resting place for some of the most influential people in Paris in the last 200 years as well as being the site of 3 World War I memorials. The famous buried here include French singer Edith Piaf, Chopin the composer, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Jim Morrison’s grave is one of the most visited at the cemetery with nearby tombstones even being vandalised with arrows stating ‘Jim This Way’ CCTV is now aimed at the grave at all times to stop any such vandalism happening. It is a popular place for music lovers to come and pay their respects and there are always flowers and other mementos at the tomb. By tradition Oscar Wilde’s admirers kiss his art-deco style monument whilst wearing lipstick as a mark of respect.

Notre Dame Cathedral
One of the world’s most famous cathedrals, forever immortalised by the work of Victor Hugo in the classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Cathedral can be enjoyed without spending a single Euro. Of course there is the opportunity to pay here, there is an admission charge to climb the towers or to enter the museum but to view the actual cathedral itself it is completely free. Notre Dame is one of the most inspiring pieces of architecture in the city, and regarded as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world, to view both the outside of the cathedral and its impressive interior is an excellent way to spend a completely free afternoon in Paris.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Not your usual tourist trap, Parc des Buttes Chaumont is where Parisians come to get away from it all. This romantic park includes a man-made 20ft waterfall, lake and the famous belvedere of Sybil that sits at a 30 metre rocky peak on an island accessed by a suspension bridge. Although the restaurants in Paris are amongst the best in the world a visit to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont provides the perfect location to enjoy a picnic, grab some fresh food from one of Paris’ markets, take a bottle of wine or champagne and some plastic flutes as drinking outdoors in France is not illegal and enjoy a relaxing day in the outdoors. The sense of space and tranquillity in the park provides a sometimes needed contrast to the hustle and bustle of Paris city life.

Fashion Show at Galeries Lafayette
For the fashionistas out there what better experience is there whilst in France than to visit a fashion show? Normally a pastime reserved only for the ultra rich and famous, Galeries Lafayette located along the shopper’s paradise that is the Boulevard Haussmann, offers visitors the chance to enjoy a seated fashion show completely free of charge. Every Friday at 3pm visitors can enjoy a glimpse of the very best of haute couture, do reserve in advance however as seats can get booked up very quickly. Afterwards grab a coffee in one of the nearby cafes and watch the ultra rich and fashionable as they go about their shopping, this type of people watching is not only fun but can provide you with plenty of inspiration for your future purchases at home.

Paris Plage
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris during the summer, in July and August, sand is loaded onto a bank of the River Seine, which creates what is known as the “Paris Plage.” Situated alongside the road and river from Ile St. Louis to the Jardin des Tuileries running for 2 miles, the “Plage” encourages umbrellas, picnics, concerts, basking in the sun and meeting new people and all completely free! Do remember that the water of the Seine is not fit for swimming even if you do feel like a dip. Other common activities at the “Plage” include Petanque and volleyball which are also completely free of charge and a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon in Paris.
Charlotte writes for new travel site where you can find inspirational travel guides and expert advice from Amsterdam hotels to hotels in London.

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