Do you crave the ultimate ‘Parisian Experience‘.. but, without the price tag? This guide will give you many ideas on how to see, eat and drink as they do in Paris while on a budget! ;)  You can find many deals for flights and hotels to one of the most visited capital cities in the world here on my website – so, once you find the perfect city break, groupaway or luxury deal that suits – and have my plan of things to do for free –  You are good to go … ;)

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1. Markets

The best way to get a feel for any city is by visiting their local markets. In Paris almost every neighbourhood and arrondissement has its own market – The best way to experience Paris is by visiting it’s markets. It is a beautiful experience browsing through french books, discovering antiques, trying on the fashion – remember that it costs nothing to window shop!! ;) From the experience you may even end up with a unique souvenir or trying new flavours from local producers which you wouldn’t get to do otherwise! There is a market to suit every interest from food to art to flea and collectables! :) Below I have composed a list of my top 5 favourite markets in no specific order of preference.. ;)

1. Marche Bastille

Is one of Paris’s biggest Markets. Twice a week stalls will line Boulevard Richard Lenoir. Here is the best place to get local produce! You will be able to source local cheeses, meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables :)

2. Marche aux Puces de St-Ouen

Has to be experienced! The biggest flea market in the world will take your breath away. Here the saying ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure‘ is true – as you will find amazing vintage items, clothes, furnitures and books to name just a few! Here is the ideal place to get a thrill and hopefully a good purchase by using your bargaining skills :)

3. Brocante des Abbesses

Is based in the charming location of Montmartre hill. This will definitely be your favourite market as it offers an idyllic atmosphere! Here you will find a small market that is perfect to browse through whilst enjoying a coffee. Filled with both locals and tourists you will discover a lovely combination of old paintings and jewellery by young designers!

4.  Marche aux Timbres

is ideal for a quirky market visit as this market is dedicated entirely to stamps! Located on the Champs Elysees you will find millions of stamps from every corner of the world and even old postcards with hand written messages! In France stamp collecting is popular so the market will be busy and filled with all types of people :)

5. Marche bio des Batignolles

If you are in Paris you are obviously a foodie like me so here is another food market for you to check out! I promise it is visually and fragrantly beautiful! You will find everything from pates, to fruit, veg and even fine wines! ;)

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2. Museums

There are many free museums to visit in Paris and for the ones that are not free keep your eyes open as on the first Sunday of each month many are!

Below is a list of  museums that might interest you on your visit with the days and times for free visitation :)

1. Musee D’Art Moderne De La Ville De Paris – Free permanent collections / Open Tuesday – Sunday

2. Petit Palais, City of Paris Fine Art Museum –  Free permanent collections / Open Tuesday – Sunday

3. Musee Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris –  Free permanent collections and themed exhibitions / Open Tuesday – Sunday

4. Musee Curie – Free permanent collections – can make donation if wish / Open Wednesday – Saturday

5. Musee national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou – Free on 1st Sunday of the month, all year round

6. Musee national Picasso – Free on 1st Sunday of the month, all year round

7. Arc de Triomphe – Free on 1st Sunday of the month, from 1st November to 31 March inclusive + Exceptions daily (find out here if you are eligible)

8. Conciergerie – Free on 1st Sunday of the month, from 1st November to 31 March inclusive + Exceptions daily (find out here if you are eligible)

9. Musee du Louvre – Free admission for under 26-year-olds (EU) and teachers

10. Pantheon – Free admission for under 26-year-olds (EU) and teachers

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3. Outdoors

Paris is a wonderful city that is best explored on foot! This way you can observe and soak in the atmosphere of ‘The City of Light’ in its entirety. The beautiful sights, romance, traditions, history, style and charm of Paris can be experienced for no cost. Visit local attractions such as Champs-Elysées filled with shops and cafes and famous monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. Montmartre, a bohemian arrondissement, which is home to the Basilique du Sacré Cœur historically had a huge art scene with artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Salvador Dali to name a few working there. The area, although touristic still possesses much of the charm and atmosphere with local artists still at work. You can view the art for free and the walk up the Montmartre hill is a must as it offers stunning views of Paris! The famous landmark of Paris – The Eiffel Tower costs to go up, but, you can still stand underneath or see the lights over the city at night time ;)

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4. Events

All year round there are celebrations and festivals taking place in the city of Paris! During the summer you will spend time at the banks of the river Seine, at courtyards of mansions, in local parks and gardens and museum halls! You will find music, art, open air cinemas and parades that can be experienced for free! During Autumn the city doesn’t stop it simply prepares for new festivities for the season :) So, why not plan your trip around the holidays and festivals I will list below? ;)

  • January – (December 31st/January 1st) – New Years Eve/Day
  • February – (14th) – Festival of St. Valentine
  • March – (early) – Paris Fashion Week
  • April – Paris Marathon
  • May – (1st) May Day
  • June – (21st) – La Fête de la Musique 
  • July –(14th) _ Bastille Day
  • August – (until Mid Aug) Paris Plages
  • September – La Villette Jazz Festival
  • October – Festival d’Automne
  • November – (1st) All Saints’ Day
  • December – (24th – 25th) Noël

If celebrating outside is not your thing and you are wanting to experience Paris’s nightlife at clubs you can gain free access by putting your name on guest lists for events on Facebook – many of the cities bars and pubs do not have an entrance fee so you will get to enjoy the atmosphere for free ;)

New Years eve Paris

5. Walking Tours

It costs nothing to move your feet and with a free walking tour you have the added bonus of a tour guide so, you actually know what you are looking at ;) 

Here are my two favourite picks for free walking tours in Paris:

1. City Free Tour

Montmartre walking tour with Chris (You will need to make a reservation)

Highlights: Moulin Rouge, Van Gogh’s house, Moulin de la Galette, Saint Denis, protector of France and first Paris’ bishop, Dalida, Lapin Agile, The last vineyard of Paris, Place du Tertre & Sacre Coeur Basilica

and,

 2. Discover Walks Paris

You have the choice of five different walking tours:

Montmartre Tour (Moulin Rouge to Sacre Cœur) 11am Daily

Notre Dame and The Heart of Paris Tour 1pm Daily

Paris Landmarks, Right Bank Tour, 10am Daily

Left Bank Tour, Latin Quarter, 2.30pm Daily

Trendy Marais Tour, 2.30pm Every Day

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Paris is a city filled with art, stories and atmosphere! By visiting you are stepping into history, architecture, style and culture that will leave you refreshed!! So, go on and make new memories and have an adventure without reaching too deep into your pocket..! ;) You can find many Paris deals here! So, let me know what was your favourite thing to do for free in Paris once you return :)