Free Paris

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FREE PARIS

Paris can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.  It is possible to spend an entire day, exploring the city for free. 

Start with a walk around the Luxembourg Gardens. Visit Musée Cognacq-Jay, listen to a recital at a nearby church. Later, for the price of a beer, dine on a bowl of free couscous and finish the night off with some cool jazz!

But knowing how to do it on the cheap or for free, requires a little research.  I have done the foot work for you!

Here you will find free food, free WI-FI, free jazz, free museums and some of my secret places!

You may need to buy a beer to get  FREE  couscous or a wine to see a fabulous ensemble of jazz musicians, either way, it is FREE or dirt cheap!

Of course, by far,  the ultimate FREE experience to be had in Paris is to be a ‘Flâneur’ – walk the streets, take in the architecture, discover the boulevards, tiny laneways, poke your head through an open door to a secret courtyard and don’t forget to look up and behind you.

If you have a cheap idea or FREE thing to do in Paris, please leave me a comment or contact me below.

 

WI-FI

pronounced wee – fee.

There are more than 250 free wi-fi hot spots in Paris, supplied by the city.  These include parks, libraries and town halls. You can find instructions and a list of places that have free wi-fi under the drop down box Practical Information or click here.

Look out for this logo

Wi-fi gratuit pour tous !

 FREE FASHION SHOW AT GALLERIES LAFAYETTE

After admiring the magnificent stained glass dome and a spot of shopping,  perhaps even a glass of Moet and Chandon at the Champagne bar in the wonderful department store Galleries Lafayette, why not nosey on up to the 7th floor at 3pm on a Friday and watch some chic French models strutting their stuff at their free fashion show.

You will need to book via email at welcome@galerieslafayette.com

Galleries Lafayette
40 Boulevard Haussmann,
75009 Paris
Nearest Metro – Chaussée d’Antin
MAP

THURSDAY NIGHT MEANS FREE COUSCOUS

Not completely free, you are required to buy a beer or a glass of wine but that will get you a free bowl of yummy couscous. The three brothers have been keeping this café and institution alive for over 20 years.

Les Trois Frères
14 Rue Léon
75018 Paris
Nearest Metro – Château Rouge
MAP
 

COOL JAZZ IN A CELLAR

Watch, listen and bop along, down in the dungeon of a ‘cave’ or cellar at Le Caveau des Oubliettes.  Yes, it really was a prison once.  Work your way down the narrow staircase, buy a glass of wine and listen to free jazz in the rustic cellar. You never know who might turn up here for a jam, you may be lucky enough to be there on a night that someone famous has just finished a gig and needs to wind down!

Le Caveau des Oubliettes: 
52 rue Galande
75005 Paris  
Nearest Metro – Saint Michel
MAP
 
 

FREE JAZZ ON MONDAY NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF PARIS

Enter the unassuming entrance on Rue de Rivoli in the heart of Paris and descend the narrow staircase to a small 12th century, stoned walled cave and join the upbeat crowd to listen to free jazz.  Musicians come here to jam and entertain in the tiny yet atmospheric cellar.
 
Cave du 38 Riv
38 Rue de Rivoli
Paris, 75004
Nearest Metro: Hotel de Ville
Free on Monday nights only
Official website in English

FREE VIEWS

A FREE BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE NOTRE DAME

Located on the left bank of the Seine,  is the wonderful ‘modern’ award winning building of the Institute of the Modern Arab World.  From their top floor, open terrace you can get a free birds eye view of the Seine and the Notre Dame. The buildings  innovative window design is also worth a look.  Don’t forget your camera!

Go through security and take the lift to the ninth floor

Institute de la Monde Arabe
1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard  
75005 Paris
Nearest Metro – Sully Morland 
MAP
 

GALLERIES LAFAYETTE ROOFTOP

A wonderful free view of Paris is available from the rooftop of the famous department stores Galleries Lafayette and the neighbouring Printemps.  If you can avoid the temptation to shop on the way to the top, it can be a free day!

Take the escalators in Galleries Lafayette as far as you can go and then take the stairs a couple of flights up, here you will find a large artificial turfed rooftop deck with Paris at your feet, offering views of the Palais Garnier and the Eiffel Tower.

 
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
40, boulevard Haussmann
75009 PARIS
Nearest Metro: Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette

Opening Times
Monday – Wednesday 09:30 – 20:00
Thursday 09:30 – 21:00
Friday  09:30 – 20:00
Saturday 09:30 – 20:00
Closed Sundays.
 
Website
Store floor plan & directory
 
 
More Free Things to do in Paris. Select a categoryAllCovered PassagewaysFree MuseumsMetro Stations of InterestParis Adèle's SecretsFlea MarketsFood MarketsParks & GardensCemeteries
  • Maison de Victor Hugo
    Maison de Victor Hugo
    Nestled in a corner of Place des Vosges, is the former home of famous author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame; Victor Hugo.
  • Passage Jouffroy
    Passage Jouffroy
    Sift through old books at the famous bookstore; Librairie Paul Vulin as you walk upon geometric black, white and grey tiles and discover the quaint Hotel Chopin.
  • Belle Époque Brothels
    Belle Époque Brothels
    Lavish brothels dotted around Paris during the Belle Epoque were easily identifiable, some relics exist today, if you know what to look for.
  • Passage des Panoramas
    Passage des Panoramas
    Built in 1799 and inspired by the Oriental Souks, Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest passageways in the world.
  • Passage du Grand Cerf
    Passage du Grand Cerf
    Natural light drenches this elegant passageway from its 12 metre high glass ceiling with unique boutiques.
  • Passage du Prado
    Passage du Prado
    Rarely mentioned in travel guides, with not a tourist in sight, this unique passage was once in the heart of fashionable Paris.
  • Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
    Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
    Colourful fabric, car parts, halaal food, fur coats, old books and more. Slightly on the seedy side but that keeps it interesting.
  • La Butte aux Cailles
    La Butte aux Cailles
    A secret hideway with cobbled streets, a sweet village square, interesting street art and friendly, affordable cafés, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement.
  • How to Use the Paris Metro
    How to Use the Paris Metro
    Learn how to use the Paris Metro and look like a local. Detailed tips on how to purchase tickets and navigate the underground.
  • La Galcante
    La Galcante
    Vintage periodicals and books fill this small quirky, off the beaten path shop in a secluded courtyard where you may find the perfect Parisian souvenir.
  • Salvador Dali Sundial
    Salvador Dali Sundial
    Many people pass this hidden gem by Salvador Dali tucked away on the Left Bank of Paris unaware that they only need to look up.
  • Villa Olivier-Métra
    Villa Olivier-Métra
    Pretty cottages with colourful shutters line this serene leafy path with quaint personal touches added by residents who have a playful sense of humour.
  • Rue de Mouzaïa
    Rue de Mouzaïa
    Off the beaten path, Rue de Mouzaia will make you feel blessed that you discovered this secret hideaway and it’s surrounds in the 19th arrondissement.
  • Passage du Caire
    Passage du Caire
    A unique façade, a magnificent glass ceiling, 360 metres in length, Passage du Caire is the oldest and longest Passage in Paris
  • Musée Cognacq-Jay
    Musée Cognacq-Jay
    This stunning home of Samaritaine Department store founder, Ernest Cognacq-Jay and his wife Marie-Louise Jay, includes Fragonard, Rembrandt, Cézanne ...
  • Secret Garden Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu
    Secret Garden Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu
    A secret garden in an unusual location, right in the centre of Paris that thousands of tourists pass by each day without knowing it exists.
  • Passage Verdeau
    Passage Verdeau
    Explore antiques, rare books and vintage postcards beneath the elegant, neoclassical, glass ceiling, then continue over the road to Passage Jouffroy.
  • Sentier Métro
    Sentier Métro
    The unique and striking blue and red signage of Sentier Métro, suspended from a spectacular façade on Rue Réaumur is the only surviving sign of two ever produced.
  • Marché aux Puces – Porte de Vanves
    Marché aux Puces – Porte de Vanves
    A friendly, vibrant place to spend a weekend morning where you will find a treasure trove of antiques and retro items.
  • Musée des Arts Forains
    Musée des Arts Forains
    Transport yourself back in time. Ride spectacular antique carousels, play ancient fair-ground games and admire colourful memorabilia.
  • Père Lachaise
    Père Lachaise
    The sprawling and leafy Cemetary, Père Lachaise, is the resting place of many famous people and is a wonderful way to spend a pleasant, relaxing day.
  • Musée Carnavalet
    Musée Carnavalet
    Located in the heart of the Marais, this museum is dedicated to the history of Paris. Boasting 600,000 pieces, ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries.
  • Passage de l’Ancre
    Passage de l’Ancre
    Who would know a delightful, tranquil little piece of paradise could be hidden away behind an unassuming crooked doorway in the heart of Paris.
  • St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute
    St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute
    Hidden away on a leafy hill is the oldest Russian Orthodox Theological Institute in Western Europe.
  • Lavirotte Building and Square Rapp
    Lavirotte Building and Square Rapp
    Exquisite Art Nouveau building with one of the most beautiful doors in Paris & a tiny square that offers a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Jardin des Tuileries
    Jardin des Tuileries
    The Tuileries history unfolds like a terrific saga. Once home to a Palace, Kings and Queens, a riding school, menagerie, hunting, fire and massacre.
  • Montparnasse Cemetery
    Montparnasse Cemetery
    It's only fitting that Montparnasse Cemetery has a large number of film makers, artists, authors and publishers buried here.
  • Musée Bourdelle
    Musée Bourdelle
    Former home and studio of the artist; Antoine Bourdelle, who was famous for his monumental public statues and friezes, is an exceptional free museum.
  • Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
    Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
    The jewel of Place Colette. Murano glass beads and aluminium make up this colourful metro entrance to celebrate the centenary of the Metro.
  • Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
    Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
    A remarkable and historic reading room with its spectacular ceiling, books lining the vast long walls and rows of green reading lamps.
  • Saint-Georges Métro
    Saint-Georges Métro
    Opposite the stunning l'hôtel de la marquise de Païva, with it's intricate façade, adorned with Gothic and Renaissance statues you will find the unique Saint-Georges métro entrance.
  • Musée Zadkine
    Musée Zadkine
    The small sun drenched former home of Ossip Zadkine allow light to bounce off African influenced work, giving the museum a quiet sense of calm and elegance.
  • Restaurant Foyer de la Madeleine
    Restaurant Foyer de la Madeleine
    Lurking deep in the cellars of L’église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is one of Paris' best kept secrets, Restaurant Foyer de la Madeleine.
  • Square Saint-Gilles Grand Veneur
    Square Saint-Gilles Grand Veneur
    Hidden away behind the Hôtel du Grand Veneur in the Marais is a little known secret square with a surprising artistic connection.
  • Passage du Bourg l’Abbé
    Passage du Bourg l’Abbé
    Subtle and elegant pastel interior, muted by natural light from the unusual curved glass ceiling.
  • Musée de la Vie Romantique
    Musée de la Vie Romantique
    Tucked away behind an unassuming green gate, you will discover this enchanting hôtel particulier. An absolute delight.
  • Passage Boudin
    Passage Boudin
    Creeping vines, colourful flower boxes and an unusual semi-circular building that would be more at home in the Mediterranean is just some things you will find.
  • Bibliothèque Richelieu
    Bibliothèque Richelieu
    Millions of books line the walls of this historic library under monumental ceilings and finally, it is open to the public.
  • Porte Dauphine Métro
    Porte Dauphine Métro
    Sitting in a lush green park, the Hector Guimard canopied beauty of Porte Dauphine would have to be the prettiest Métro entrance in all of Paris.
  • Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques
    Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques
    The oldest pet cemetery in Europe and the final resting place for TV star Rin Tin Tin.
  • Parc Monceau
    Parc Monceau
    Only a short stroll from the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe with a pretty lily pond and surrounded by elegant homes.
  • An Angel in Paris
    An Angel in Paris
    Soaring high above, with it's delicate wings nestled under a fourth floor balcony and yet remarkably this rare Paris secret often goes unnoticed.
  • Cité Florale
    Cité Florale
    A secret micro village hidden away, in a small pocket, off the beaten path in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Discover why it is called the Floral City.
  • Marché d’Aligre
    Marché d’Aligre
    This small ancient and charming undercover, neighbourhood market which is full of friendly vendors and a sumptuous array of food also has a small flea market outside.
  • Le Passage des Princes
    Le Passage des Princes
    Amber lamps, giving off a warm, golden glow, with a beautiful glass ceiling, the entire passageway is dedicated to toys.
  • Rue des Thermopyle
    Rue des Thermopyle
    Apart from locals taking a short-cut, or Parisians on a quiet stroll, what you will find here is a wisteria filled, rustic cobbled pathway.
  • Petit Palais
    Petit Palais
    Not as small as its name suggests. Elaborate ceiling murals, magnificent mosaics, grand staircases a pretty garden café and it is free.
  • Bastille Markets
    Bastille Markets
    The Bastille Markets are everything you could hope for in a typical Parisian Market; vibrant, colourful, delicious and intoxicating.
  • Rue Crémieux
    Rue Crémieux
    A tiny paved street, that oozes charm, lined with pretty colourful houses that will take your breath away, still one of Paris' best kept secrets.
  • Square de Montsouris
    Square de Montsouris
    A hidden jewel, begging to be discovered. Eclectic maisons wrapped in greenery, unseen by most tourists to Paris.
  • Luxembourg Gardens
    Luxembourg Gardens
    Most Parisians will tell you the Luxembourg Gardens is their favourite park, it is easy to guess why.
  • The Secret Passage
    The Secret Passage
    This lush and adorably sweet top secret passageway is a pure delight. Let me show you where to find it and how to gain entry. But sssh ... it's our secret.
 

If this information has been useful to you, please thank me, by clicking a share button, follow me on facebook, or best of all leave a comment!  Feel free to share your free tips – merci!

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6 Responses to Free Paris

  • Johan Nel

    Hi Paris Adèle
    Me and my three sister are leaving for Paris at the end of May. What I would like to now is the Paris Pass value for money or not, we will be in Paris for only four days. Thinking of buying a two day pass only. That’s our first visit to Europe, 4 days Paris, 2 days Lucerne Switzerland and 12 days in Italy, Venice, Florence, Amalfi and Rome.
    Thank You!!

    • parisadele

      Hi Johan, sorry for the delay in replying to you. The Paris Pass is not worth it. You will never manage to see all the museums that they have on offer in four days and I doubt you want to spend your entire time in museums. I would select the museums that you want to visit and purchase on-line tickets where you can to avoid queues, for example the Picasso Museum. In the Pompidou Centre, if you buy from the ticket machines in the foyer with a credit card you won’t need to queue, there is a queue to get in for security checks, I hope this answers your question. thanks for stopping by.

  • Joelle Cabassol

    LOVED YOUR BLOG! I am from Belgium, Married to a French guy, but going with a girlfriend to Paris in the Fall. Beenlooking for non conventional things to do in Paris! This is awesome! Thank you so much

    • parisadele

      Bonjour Joelle,
      thank you so much for taking the time to leave me this lovely compliment and message, I really appreciate it. I am very happy to hear that you are looking for off the beaten path places in Paris, that is my passion and love to share my tips. Have a wonderful time in Paris with your friend. Bon voyage and thank you once again.

  • SandyS

    Hi Adèle, I discovered your blog this year and am almost finished reading through them all.  I love your style of travel and your writing is wonderfully entertaining!  I’ll be in Paris the 2nd week of December this year.  Do you know of any free concerts at churches in the city?  Thank you so much!  Sandy

    • parisadele

      Hi Sandy
      I do apologise for taking so long to reply to your question. The Notre Dame has an organ recital every Saturday at 8pm. The Église de la Trinité also has free concerts on a Thursday and The Église (church) Saint-Roch, Église Saint-Eustache and the Église de la Madeleine all have free concerts. If you google the church names you should find information. Also be on the look out for small posters, often attached to lamp posts that advertise the concerts too. I hope that is of some help. Have a wonderful time in Paris.

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