7 Best Free Things to Do in Paris

When it comes to free entertainment, the City of Light does not disappoint.

Sure, you can pay to go to the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay – and you should – but Paris is a surprisingly affordable city in that it offers a legion of free diversions that have become part of the Paris experience. The City of Light can even seduce the stingy. Here are the seven best free things to do in Paris.

View a Google Maps list of all the free things to do in Paris.

Deyrolle interior
A person looks at naturalised animals at the Deyrolle shop in Paris on July 16, 2013. Patrick Kovarik/ AFP/Getty

Deyrolle

Since 1831, this fascinating taxidermy shop up the street from the Musée d'Orsay has been displaying and selling stuffed exotic beasts. And a stroll through the shop is a trip – one where zebras, leopards lions, tigers, and polar bears (oh my!) are all on display for your amusement and wonder. This was a favorite stop for one-time Paris resident writer/humorist David Sedaris and we can see why.

46 Rue du Bac

Le Promenade Plantée

Long before the High Line Park in New York City there was this former-elevated-railway-line-turned park that runs through the 12th arrondissement for about three miles. Since 1993, Parisians have been taking pleasant strolls through the verdant walkway. Well, some locals were not so fond of it at first – Parisians didn't like the Eiffel Tower or the Centre Pompidou at first, either – but now the elevated walkway is a beloved landmark.

1 Coulée Verte René-Dumont

Luxembourg Gardens
Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris. mdmworks/Getty

Luxembourg Gardens

Located in the sixth arrondissement, Jardin du Luxembourg was made in 1612 to accompany the Luxembourg Palace, built to resemble Pitti Palace in Florence, the widowed Marie d'Medici's hometown. When Ernest Hemingway made Paris home in the 1920s, the struggling and starving writer would often come to this park to capture pigeons for his meal of the day. Today the park's pigeons are less for eating and more for just looking.

Rue de Medicis & Rue de Vaugirard

Aligre Market
A large selection of different french and italian cheeses on the counter of a small store at the Aligre Market (Marche d'Aligre) in the Bastille district. Paris, France. Alex Kozlov/Getty

Marché d'Aligre

Warning: this covered and outdoor 18th-century food market in the 12th will make you hungry. But it's a free feast for the eyes, so amble down the aisles taking in the scents of fresh fruits and veggies, huge wheels of cheese, and mountains of cured meats. The good news: ample affordable eating options surround the market for when you just can't take it anymore.

Place d'Aligre

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

The modern art museum in the French capital is free. So pop in – especially when the weather isn't agreeable for outdoor strolling – and catch a glimpse of artworks by Braque, Soutine, Modigliani, and Matisse. And some of the temporary exhibits have included Matthew Barney and Olafur Eliasson, among others.

Avenue du Président Wilson

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
The Sibylle Temple on the Belvedere Island in the Buttes-Chaumont Park in Paris on August 13, 2017 Jacques Demarthon/ AFP/Getty

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Located in northeastern Paris in the 19th arrondissement, the fifth-largest park in Paris also happens to be its steepest. Climb to the highest point and you'll be rewarded with a lovely view. There are also lakes, waterfalls, and an old railway bridge in this 19th-century greenspace designed by Baron Haussmann.

1 Rue Botzaris

Père Lachaise Cemetery
Pere-lachaise cemetery, Paris, France. Valeriya/Getty

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Proust, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and, of course, Jim Morrison are a few people who now make this cemetery home. Père Lachaise may be the most famous "city of the dead" on the planet. And even without the graves of these legendary historic figures, the cemetery – first established in the early 19th century – is still one of the most haunting and enchanting preambles you'll have in Paris.

8 Boulevard de Ménilmontant

7 Best Free Things to Do in Paris | Culture