30 Free Activities to Do in Paris (Culture, Monuments, Walks…)

Most people think that visiting Paris is expensive. But you can explore the capital without necessarily spending money everywhere you go. There are plenty of cultural, tourist, and even sporting opportunities for fun and culture without having to spend a penny.

In this article, I’ll give you my recommendations for spending a day, or even a week-end in Paris without ruining yourself.


Fall for the timeless charm of the Canal Saint-Martin

Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

Canal Saint Martin
Saint Martin Canal

Enjoy a walk along the canal, discovering the locks, bridges, and lively atmosphere of the district. Bordered by the Canal Saint-Martin (click to read our canal guide), this quay offers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

You’ll be able to take a walk along the water’s edge, watch the barges pass under the bridges, and enjoy the many cafés and restaurants lining the banks. It’s also an ideal place to picnic or relax and watch people passing by.


Explore contemporary artistic horizons at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris

11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris

Paris Modern Art Museum
Modern Art Museum _ Credits: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, CC BY 2.0, by Wikimedia Commons

The Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (click to see our review of this museum) houses a vast collection of modern and contemporary art, allowing visitors to discover masterpieces of famous artists.

The varied exhibitions offer a fascinating insight into the evolution of art over time.

It’s a unique opportunity to appreciate creativity and artistic expression in an inspiring setting, all with no entry fee: an enriching cultural experience that will please art lovers and curious ones.



Immerse yourself in the historic charm of Le Marais

Le Marais, Paris 75014

Saint-Catherine Market the Marais
Marais District – Credits: Guilhem Vellut, CC BY 2.0, by Wikimedia Commons

This historic district offers a unique charm with its cobbled streets, ancient buildings, unique architecture, and charming squares, such as the Place des Vosges.

In addition, you can enjoy the Marais gardens and parks, such as the Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph-Migneret (website in French), to relax and appreciate the beauty of this historic district.

The Marais is also famous for its historic monuments, such as the Paroisse Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis (website in French), and the fun shops and bars of the LGBT community.


Escape the hustle and bustle at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris

Buttes Chaumont Park
Parc des Buttes Chaumont – Credits: Traktorminze, CC BY 3.0, by Wikimedia Commons

This charming park offers an enchanting setting with rolling green hills, waterfalls, and a lake.

You can enjoy beautiful walks along the winding paths, picnic on the grass, and relax while admiring the panoramic views over the city. Nature lovers will appreciate the variety of flora and fauna that enlivens the landscape.

The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is a true haven of peace in the heart of Paris, offering a refreshing and relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Find out more about the Parc des Buttes Chaumont (website in French)


Immerse yourself in the historic atmosphere of the Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter, 751015 Paris

Paris Latin District
Latin District – Credits: Ninara, CC BY 2.0, by Wikimedia Commons

As you stroll through this historic district, you’ll be charmed by its streets, lively cafés and bookshops.

You’ll pass through the famous Rue Mouffetard with its small fountain, and discover historically rich churches such as the Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church, one of the oldest churches in Paris.

The Latin Quarter is also home to some of Paris’s most emblematic monuments, such as the Pantheon, which deserves to be seen from the outside.


Discover the unique architecture of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica

35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Sacré-Cœur Basilica – Credits: Tonchino, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Wikimedia Commons

Standing atop the hill of Montmartre, the basilica offers a breathtaking view of the city. Its remarkable neo-Byzantine architecture and ornate interior make it a fascinating place to visit.

Entering the basilica is free, so why deprive yourself?

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is also a place of contemplation and spirituality: an enriching cultural experience that will take you deep into the history and religious life of Paris.



Experience the passion of basketball in Pigalle

Rue Duperré, 75009 Paris

Pigalle Basketball
Pigalle Basketball

Located between two large buildings in the Pigalle district, this open-air basketball court is known for its friendly atmosphere and unique decor with its gaudy colors.

Passionate players and basketball fans gather here for friendly and competitive matches. It’s a great way to meet new people, have fun playing basketball, and immerse yourself in the lively neighborhood atmosphere.

Whether you’re a player or a spectator, Pigalle Basketball offers a unique and dynamic experience.

Find out more about Pigalle Basketball (website in French)


A cultural journey between nature and memory at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery

16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris 

Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery – Credits: Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Wikimedia Commons

The largest cemetery in Paris welcomes you for a walk combining culture, history, and nature.

Come and stroll through this park, a peaceful enclave nestled in the 20th arrondissement. Whether you’re relaxing on a bench in the shade of a tree, or simply wandering along the cobbled pathways, you’re bound to have a pleasant time.

Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Molière – the cemetery is packed with famous people whose graves are still regularly decorated with flowers.



Immerse yourself in the serenity of the Parc Monceau

35 Bd de Courcelles, 75008 Paris 

Take a walk in this romantic park, adorned with statues, bridges, and a charming lake: the ideal place to relax.

You’ll be able to enjoy beautiful strolls along alleys lined with century-old trees, admiring the statues and elegant architecture that adorn the park. What’s more, children will be able to enjoy themselves in the play areas.

It’s a charming place where you can revitalize yourself and enjoy a moment of tranquility in the heart of the City of Light.

Find out more about the Parc Monceau


Explore the majestic Notre-Dame Cathedral

6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Paris Notre Dame Cathedral 
Paris Notre Dame Cathedral  – Credits:Daniel Vorndran, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Wikimedia Commons

09/10/2023 Update: Due to a fire in 2019, the cathedral remains closed to the public but is scheduled to reopen in 2024.

This majestic Gothic cathedral offers a unique cultural and historical experience.

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is the most visited monument in France, and indeed in Europe! A true architectural masterpiece that welcomes nearly 14 million visitors every year.

You’ll be able to admire its impressive flying buttresses, colorful stained-glass windows, and remarkable architecture. Entrance is, of course, free, and there’s hardly any waiting time as visitors enter in a continuous stream.



Take part in a unique auction experience


Indeed, all auctions are open to the public, and of course, you don’t have to bid.

And how can you talk about auctions without mentioning the famous Hôtel Drouot, the oldest auction house in the world?

Famous paintings, and antique furniture, cross the ages by attending an auction in one of the world’s most famous auction rooms.

Hôtel Drouot website


Immerse yourself in the authenticity of Village Saint-Paul

Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris

This small village will take you into an authentic atmosphere with its cobbled streets, colorful facades, and small antique and craft stores.

You’ll be able to take a walk along the small passageways and discover hidden treasures in the art galleries and craftsmen’s shops.

Located in the Marais district, it’s an ideal place for vintage shoppers and for unearthing unique objects.



Explore the themed gardens of La Villette on a guided tour

211 Av. Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris

La Villette Park
La Villette Park – Credits: Jean-Marie Hullot, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Parc de la Villette on a free two-hour guided tour.

Guided by a member of the La Villette team, immerse yourself in the themed gardens and discover the monumental architecture that characterizes this exceptional park.

Join a tour of 15 unique gardens, featuring buildings designed by the most prestigious contemporary architects.

As you explore this site, successfully transformed from an industrial wasteland into an urban cultural park, you’ll be immersed in its extraordinary history.

This tour is offered in French and English and is completely free of charge with reservation. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy an immersive and educational experience, while discovering the unique charm of the Parc de la Villette.

Book your free guided tour.


Discover visual treasures at the Maison de la Photographie

5-7 Rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris 


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par MEP (@mep.paris)

Come and discover free photographic exhibitions every Wednesday evening in this place dedicated to the art of photography.

Immerse yourself in a captivating artistic universe and discover exceptional photography exhibitions: a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in visual art and discover the talented photographers on display.



Enjoy a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower

2 All. Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007 Paris 

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

As you approach this iconic monument, you’ll marvel at its imposing size and striking metal structure.

Take a walk around the vast Champ de Mars (website in French) and find the best vantage point to capture memorable photos of the Eiffel Tower. Being so close to this architectural marvel will enable you to appreciate all the intricate details and patterns that make up this unique work of art.

It’s a must-do experience to feel the greatness of the Eiffel Tower and capture all its splendor in the middle of the capital.



Relax in the Jardin des Tuileries

Pl. de la Concorde, 75001 Paris

Located in the center of the city, this magnificent French garden offers a peaceful, verdant atmosphere with its statues and ponds.

You can take a walk along the tree-lined paths, admire the sculptures and fountains, relax on the deckchairs provided, or enjoy a picnic.

The park also offers breathtaking views of the Louvre.

Find out more about the Jardin des Tuileries (website in French)


Time travel through the covered passages of Paris

  • Galerie Vivienne
  • Passage des Panoramas –
  • Passage Choiseul
  • etc.
Galerie Vivienne
Galerie Vivienne

Explore the covered passages of Paris, such as Galerie Vivienne (website in French), Passage des Panoramas, Passage Choiseul, and many others.

You’ll be amazed by their charm and history, true architectural gems that transport you into a picturesque, retro atmosphere. You’ll discover a variety of unique stores, from bookshops to curiosity stores, as well as intimate, welcoming restaurants and cafés.

Take advantage of this immersive experience to immerse yourself in the authentic soul of Paris.

Discover Paris’s various covered passages.


Explore spectacular views of Paris from the Parc de Belleville

47 Rue des Couronnes, 75020 Paris

Belleville Park
Parc de Belleville – Credits: Chabe01, CC BY-SA 4.0, by Wikimedia Commons

Situated high up, this park offers breathtaking panoramas over the city, allowing you to admire spectacular views of Parisian rooftops, iconic monuments such as the Tour Montparnasse surrounding districts.

It’s an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax. You’ll find green spaces, ideal for picnics and relaxation.

Find out more about the Parc de Belleville (website in French).


Immerse yourself in urban beauty with a walk on the Île aux Cygnes

1 Allée des Cygnes, 75015, Paris

Swan Island Paris
Île aux Cygnes (Swan Island) – Credits: Aleksandr Zykov, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Wikimedia Commons

This artificial island on the Seine offers breathtaking views of some of the city’s most emblematic monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

You can stroll along this peaceful island, admiring the replica of the Statue of Liberty, taking advantage of the green spaces and benches to relax and admire the urban landscape and passing barges.

The Ile aux Cygnes is also renowned for its sculptures and works of art, adding an artistic touch to this outdoor experience.


Explore the natural beauty of the Jardin du Palais Royal

2 Gal de Montpensier, 75001 Paris

Palais Royal Garden
Palais Royal Garden – Credits: LPLT, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Wikimedia Commons

Explore these magnificent, carefully tended gardens, offering a haven of peace in the middle of the bustling city.

You’ll be able to enjoy the serene atmosphere while admiring the beauty of the vegetation and fountains that adorn this emblematic site.

Don’t miss the famous Colonnes de Buren, a contemporary work of art located in the middle of the gardens, adding a unique artistic touch to this walk.

Find out more about the Jardin du Palais Royal (website in French)


Discover farm life in the heart of the city at La Ferme de Paris

1 Rte du Pesage, 75012 Paris 

image de ferme

Located in the Bois de Vincennes, this educational farm offers a unique and free experience, allowing visitors to discover farm life right in the heart of the city.

There you can meet farm animals such as cows, sheep, chickens, and rabbits, and learn more about their lifestyles and habits.

La Ferme de Paris also offers workshops and activities for children and adults, allowing everyone to immerse themselves in the world of agriculture and gain a better understanding of nature and biodiversity.

Find out more about La Ferme de Paris


Immerse yourself in the artistic heritage of Constantin Brancusi by visiting his studio

11 Impasse Ronsin, 75004 Paris

Atelier Brancusi
Brancusi Workshop

Explore the studio of Constantin Brancusi, a famous 20th-century sculptor. An immersion in the artist’s creative universe awaits you in this identically reconstructed studio.

You’ll be able to contemplate some of his emblematic works and learn more about his art as you wander through the various rooms of the studio, which perfectly reflect the atmosphere of his era.

This visit offers a unique experience to understand the artist’s creative process and discover his legacy.



Explore the Paris art scene for free

Several locations in Paris 

Photo of a play
Theatrical Artwork by Laura Fiorucci. Picture by Wilfredor, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Paris, many shows and plays are offered for free, providing a variety of cultural experiences free of charge.

The city is full of places where you can enjoy a variety of artistic performances, from theater to music to dance. From open stages to more established performances, these opportunities let you discover Parisian artistic creativity and explore new talent.

Here are some of the places offering free events regularly:

  • The Lucernaire Theater School: Website (in French)
  • The Jacques Ibert Conservatory: Information (in French)


Dive into scientific history at the Musée Curie

1 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par Julien (@sushideluxe)

Explore the Musée Curie and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the renowned 20th-century scientists Pierre and Marie Curie.

This tour takes you to a museum dedicated to the life and achievements of this exceptional couple.

You’ll admire Pierre and Marie Curie’s personal objects, the scientific instruments they used, and historical documents testifying to their contributions to science.

The preserved atmosphere of Marie Curie’s original laboratory adds an authentic touch to this immersive experience.

Website (available in English via the planet icon at the top right-hand corner of the home page.)


Go on an adventure with Geocaching

All over Paris


Geocaching probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but you’ll soon be captivated by this activity. Imagine a giant treasure hunt around the world! The aim is to find “geocaches” hidden by other players.

On the website, you’ll find all the information you need about their location and level of difficulty. Each cache contains different things, depending on its size, but they all include a small booklet for you to sign to leave a record of your visit.

Download the app now, available on the App Store and Google Play, and start this incredible treasure hunt through the streets of Paris.



An educational and touching experience at the Shoah Memorial

17 Rue Geoffroy l’Asnier, 75004 Paris 

Shoah Memorial Crypt
Shoah Memorial Crypt – Credits: BrnGrby, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Shoah Memorial is an important visit to make in Paris, dedicated to the history of the Jewish Holocaust during the Second World War.

Here, you’ll find exhibitions, testimonies, and historical documents commemorating the victims and commemorating the tragic events of this dark and painful period in history: an educational and moving experience that invites you to think about the consequences of hatred and intolerance.

In short, this is a place of remembrance that aims to never forget the lessons of the past and to promote tolerance and respect between people.



Explore the historic heart of Paris while admiring the Arc de Triomphe

Pl. Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is an emblematic monument of Paris. Although you have to pay to get to the top, admiring it from the outside is a free, not-to-be-missed activity.

You can appreciate its majestic architecture, detailed sculptures, and historic symbolism. Walk around the Arc de Triomphe and you’ll be amazed by its imposing presence and strategic location at the end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

It’s a place charged with history and symbolism, offering an authentic experience of the greatness of Paris and its cultural heritage.



Explore contemporary photographic art on the Seine

9 Port de la Gare, 75013 Paris


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par Quai de la Photo (@quaidelaphoto)

The Quai de la Photo is a new floating art center in Paris, located on the Seine.

It offers free exhibitions by contemporary photographers, as well as festive events, meetings, concerts, and interactive activities.

The place showcases current photography practices by exhibiting works by famous and innovative artists. Guided tours, lectures, courses, and workshops for children are also organized.

The Quai de la Photo offers an eclectic program to appeal to all audiences.



Discover the joys of dancing outdoors at Paris Danses en Seine

Quai Saint-Bernard 


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par HalaS NuouaouB (@chabrach_bou)

Paris Danses en Seine is an association that offers free outdoor dance classes every summer, in the alcoves along the Quai Saint-Bernard.

Accessible to all levels, this friendly activity lets you discover various dance styles while enjoying the picturesque setting of the Parisian quays. Classes are varied, covering different types of music and movement, from contemporary to rock and salsa.

Simply walk along the quayside to find the dance style that suits you best.

You can choose to actively participate or simply enjoy the show as a spectator.



Experience the magic of open-air cinema

Several locations in Paris


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par Luki (@lucianolisiotti)

Make the most of summer evenings by watching free open-air films in various locations around the city.

Enjoy open-air cinema at La Villette, at the Château de Vincennes and other places. You’ll have the unique experience of watching films under the stars.

Both locations offer a varied selection of films, shorts, and shows.