Posted on 26/02/2021

#Culture #France

Here are 12 of the best free things to visit in Paris

Paris, known as the City of Love can be an expensive place to visit if you don't know where to go. If you look more closely, Paris actually has a lot of free attractions, from museums to canal-strolls. For those travelling on a budget, here are the best places to visit in Paris.

Paris, known as the City of Love can be an expensive place to visit if you don't know where to go. If you look more closely, Paris actually has a lot of free attractions, from museums to canal-strolls. For those travelling on a budget, here are the best places to visit in Paris.

Basilique Sacré-Coeur

Basilique Sacré-Coeur © satina / 123RF

This magnificent white marble church is perched on top of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. Visiting the basilica is free, you can admire the gold mosaics, stained-glass windows. Listen out for the pearl of one of the world's heaviest bells. If you want to visit the dome or explore the crypt, there is an entrance fee. One of the best times to visit the Sacré-Coeur is at night. The view from the top of the stairs is amazing, the skyline lights up, you can try to spot the Eiffel Tower. The basilica itself is lit up by floodlights, adding to the beauty of it.

Marché aux Puces St-Ouen

"Lécher les vitrines" which is the French way of saying window shopping, is a fun activity. At the flea market and antique fair at St-Ouen, you can look at bearskin rugs, brass diving bells and antique tapestries. Try to keep a straight face when you look at the prices though, they can be a bit steep, but that doesn't stop you from looking.

Cimetière Père-Lachaise

For a true atmospheric walk in Paris, head to the 20th arrondissement for a stroll through the Cimetière Père-Lachaise, with its tree-lined avenue and calling crows. Here you can pay your respects to historical greats like Balzac or Proust, but also to more recent icons like Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. The famous American singer-songwriter Jim Morrison is also buried in Père-Lachaise cemetery, although his tomb is barricaded to protect it from overzealous fans, who have a tendency to make a musical pilgrimage here.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris © Ionut David / 123RF

One of the most iconic places in Paris is the Notre Dame cathedral. Decorated with gargoyles and Gothic architecture, the cathedral is a must. At the moment the inside of the cathedral is closed due to the devastating fire that happened in April 2019, but the outside is just as wonderful to see, even though it is still charred, it doesn't take away its beauty.

Marché d'Aligre

For the foodies, head to the 12th arrondissement to the food market on Place d'Aligre, where you can shop some of the finest local produce. You can find mountains of cheese, artisan butcher, you can even find a field of flower stalls, giving you a sensory experience like no other as you stroll through the aisles. You can even get your hands on some Bordeaux and enjoy the crispness of a fresh baguette.

Arènes de Lutèce

The Arènes de Lutèce is found in the Latin Quarter, it is leftover ruins of Paris' Roman heritage. It dates back to 1 A.D, it is believed to be the longest Roman amphitheatre ever constructed. Even though the arena no longer hosts gladiator battles, you can sit and watch competitive pétanque, a very popular French sport.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Parc des Buttes Chaumont © Laurent Davoust / 123RF

To forget you are in the capital of France, head over to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, where you can admire the work of Baron Haussmann. In the park you can find thriving birdlife, rocky terrains, and even a waterfall. Be warned it is hilly in the park so it can be hard on your legs, but this park is a perfect spot for a picnic in the summer.

Parc Monceau

Here you can admire the statues of celebrities like the luminary Chopin and famous writer Guy de Maupassant. The park's history makes for a fascinating promenade, some fun facts about the park, it was the site of a massacre in 1871, but it was also a favourite painting spot for Monet. You can also gaze at the wonderful collection of Chinese statuary on display in the Musée Cernuschi, which is a municipal Asian Art Museum.

Parc du Champs de Mars

Parc du Champs de Mars © saiko3p / 123RF

Going up the Eiffel Tower can be a bit pricey, but just admiring the view from the ground is still quite something. You can head to the Parc du Champs de Mars, it has lawns and flowerbeds, kept with military precision - you wouldn't expect any less coming from a former army marching ground. This is a great spot for a picnic, so bring a blanket, some wine and whatever you believe makes a perfect picnic. At dusk, watch the Eiffel Tower light up with twinkling lights every hour on the hour.

La Promenade Plantée

For a different king of stroll, head to the Promenade Plantée, which is an old railroad track that has had a floral makeover. This elevated walk that stretches over 4.5km through the 12th arrondissement offers amazing views of the city.

Belleville

If you wander through the streets of Belleville, more specifically rue de Belleville, you can see where the famous singer Edith Piaf is rumored to be born under a street lamp. You can also stroll through Belleville's thriving Chinatown. This district has a history of rebellion and a multicultural flair. Finally head up rue Dénoyez where you can find some of the best street art in Paris.

Festivals

Paris has many free festivals on offer throughout the year, for example, in October you can attend La Nuit Blanche festival, this festival is an all night event where you can view eclectic art installations in quirky areas. In June, watch rising stars and pros perform in the Fête de la Musique. Finally you can watch the military parade on Bastille day in July along the Champs-Elysées.

The Sacré-Coeur

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Une publication partagée par My Little Paris (@mylittleparis)