Looking for free things to do in Paris? INSIDR has got you covered. Below you’ll discover fun activities, events, and classes you and your friends can do for free in the City of Lights. There are also cultural events like Fête de la Musique and Nuit Blanche, as well as a huge assortments of museums and galleries like Musée du Parfum that offer free admission. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s free things to do in Paris for you. Plus, we all know that vacations can get expensive, so it’s always great to have a few free activities included in your itinerary. Read below for the full INSIDR guide and start planning your next Parisian adventure!
Download our Paris Night Guide and INSIDR Entertainment Passport 2019 to experience the most memorable activities in Paris like watching world-class cabaret, attending a Paris fashion show, and even learning how to mix your own perfume!
Free things to do in Paris: Free workshops and lessons
Perfumer’s Apprentice Workshop
Have you ever been curious about how perfumes are made or wanted to create your perfect scent? At Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum you can become a perfumer’s apprentice and create your own personal Eau de Cologne! At the workshop you’ll learn all about how traditional French perfume is made using ingredients sourced from Provence. Each course is led by one of Fragonard’s expert perfume makers who are ready to teach you how to create your unique fragrance. You’ll leave with a ton of knowledge and a bottle of your signature scent.
Perfume mixing classes at Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum usually costs 95€ per person. For a few limited slots, you can get FREE entry into a class by signing up with INSIDR. Simply download this special voucher and use it to claim a free spot!
Free Walking Tours
Most people who visit Paris take at least one guided tour of the city. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Paris while becoming familiar with the different streets and neighborhoods. The average price of a walking tour is about 20€ per person. However with Discover Walks, you can take guided tours of some of Paris’ most famous neighborhoods completely free of charge. Their popular Montmartre guided tour lasts for 90 minutes and is totally free excluding any tips you decide to give to your guide. If you’re looking for self-guided tours of Paris, you should download our Paris neighborhood maps that you can access both offline and online.
Free dance lessons by the Seine
Looking for some more romantic free things to do in Paris? At the Tino-Rossi Garden off Quai St. Bernard in the Latin Quarter you can take part in a free outdoor dance class and learn how to dance the Tango and Salsa. The classes are offered by different Parisians who are passionate about sharing their love and knowledge of dance with the public. Classes take place during the spring and summer at 7:00pm. Grab your special someone and spend an evening dancing next to the Seine!
Free things to do in Paris: Enjoy the views
Institut du Monde Arabe
Finding a great view in a dense city like Paris can be a a challenge. Luckily INSIDR has got your covered. One of the most fun free things to do in Paris is finding a great rooftop where you can take in the city. At the Institut du Monde Arabe you can access this Paris rooftop for free where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Seine and the 4th and 5th arrondissements. You’ll also be able to see the recently-damaged Notre Dame cathedral where many Parisians’ have gathered to mourn the loss of this beloved cultural landmark. The Institut du Monde Arabe is located at 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard and is open from 10am to 6pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Rooftop
Over in the 9th arrondissement you can spend an hour window shopping in Galeries Lafayette Haussmann before making your way up to their rooftop. Here you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city and access to this Paris rooftop is always free. They also have a rooftop bar where you can sip on a cocktail as you take in the views. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is located at 40 Boulevard Haussmann and is open from 9:30 am-8:30 pm daily (from 11 am-8pm on Sundays). This is definiftely one of our favorite spots in our Opera District Map!
At Place du Trocadéro, you can find what is arguably the best view of the Eiffel Tower. Actually, it may even have one of the best views in Paris. Grab a spot in the pavillon of the Palais du Tokyo and enjoy panoramic views of the 7th arrondissement. Come here in the evening for a front row view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling! Make sure to bring your camera to snap some choice pics! If you’re planning on making a visit to the Eiffel Tower while in Paris, make sure to check out our INSIDR Eiffel Tower Map before planning your trip.
Free things to do in Paris: marvel at amazing architecture
Paris is home to some of the world’s most stunning architecture. It’s easy to pass an afternoon or a whole day visiting some of the city’s oldest and most impressive buildings. It’s no wonder why checking out architecture is one of the most popular free things to do in Paris.
The Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève is located in the heart of the latin quarter. The exterior of the library is decorated with the names of 810 different authors. Inside the library, you’ll find a stunning grand hall complete with vaulted ceilings and rows upon rows of book stacks. It’s no wonder this humble library has made it to the list of the best Paris architecture. Best of all, entry to the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève is always free. You can visit the library at 10 Place du Panthéon from 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.
Saint Eustache Church
Discover what is perhaps Paris’ most underrated church, Église Saint Eustache. Located in the 1st arrondissement, this imposing Gothic church towers over the Les Halles area and surrounding neighborhood. It is Paris’ second largest church after Notre-Dame yet receives only a small fraction of daily visitors. Its magnificent gothic structure and vaulted ceilings combined with Renaissance architectural details are overlooked architectural treasures. The north end of the church holds a giant pipe organ mounted onto the wall that stands more than a story tall. Saint Eustache also houses a series of stunning stained-glass windows, domineering oil paintings, and even a triptych by the late New York artist Keith Haring depicting the resurrection of Christ. Église Saint Eustache is always free to visit and is open to the public from 9:30am to 7pm Monday to Friday and weekends from 9am to 7:15pm. Find it at 146 Rue Rambuteau.
La Grande Mosquée de Paris
If you’re looking for free things to do in Paris that involve a lot of history, La Grande Mosquée de Paris is for you. La Grande Mosquée de Paris was built by the French Republic after WWI as a tribute to the muslim soldiers who died fighting against German forces. During WWII, the leader of the mosque, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, used the building to hide Jewish Europeans fleeing the Nazi genocide. Today, the Grand Mosque stands as the largest mosque in France and the third largest in all of Europe. It is an impressive example of traditional Moorish architecture located in the 5th arrondissement close to the Institut du Monde Arabe. La Grande Mosquée de Paris is located at 2 bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite and is open Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 6pm.
Free things to do in Paris: learn about arts and craftsmanship
Musée du Parfum
Located in the 9th arrondissement is Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum. It’s one of the coolest places to visit if you’re looking for free things to do in Paris. Here, you can take a free guided tour of the museum where you’ll learn about the history of French perfume and how it’s made. The museum displays a rare collection of objects related to perfume from ancient Egypt until the 20th century. At the end of the free tour, you’ll get a chance to put your newfound knowledge to the test and identify different flower scents! Guided tours begin every 20 minutes and are offered in many languages. The museum itself is situated in apartments designed during the Second Empire of Napoleon. The interior has been renovated to serve as a modern museum complete with a perfume atelier.
This is also where you can also take a perfume making class and become a perfume apprentice! During the class, you’ll learn all about how perfumes are created, from choosing natural ingredients to bottling the final product. You’ll also learn how to create your own signature fragrance from your favorite scents and ingredients which you can take home with you after the class! The perfume making workshop usually costs 95€ per person, but right now you can attend the workshop for free by signing up with INSIDR. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll handle the rest!
INSIDR Tip: Musée du Parfum sells Fragonard perfumes at factory prices so this means they are much cheaper than if you buy them at Fragonard boutiques. This would be a great souvenir to bring home for friends, family, and yourself! There are 2 more exclusive INSIDR vouchers you can use:
*Vouchers may not be used at the same time.
No list of free things to do in Paris would be complete without 59 Rivoli. 59 Rivoli is an art gallery and multi-purpose center located in the 1st arrondissement. The gallery was created by an artist collective in 1999 who wanted to give new life to the then-abandoned and decaying building at 59 rue du Rivoli. Today the center is a popular art space that hosts exhibitions, workshops and concerts. As soon as you step inside, you’ll see that art covers everything from the floor to the ceiling! Currently, 30 artists have studios in the building which are open for public visitation. Entry to 59 Rivoli is always free. You can check out the multi-purpose art center from 1-8pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Situated in the heart of Le Marais is Lafayette Anticipations. This multi-purpose building aims to help up and coming artists gain exposure within Paris and beyond. The Foundation offers artist in residence programs, studios, and supplies for their affiliated artists. The Foundation displays works completed by their artists in their public gallery located at 9 rue du Plâtre. The gallery is open everyday except Tuesdays from 11am to 7pm. Pay them a visit and get immersed in Paris’s up and coming art scene.
For something very high end and exuding luxury, why not discover the delicate savoir-faire of hand painting gold-embossed porcelain? Every Thursday afternoon, the Laure Selignac atelier near the Champs Elysées, one of only 4 stores around the globe boasting the finest in Limoges porcelain, hosts savoir-faire demonstrations by a certified. Every piece of French porcelain is made by hand by a dedicated artist and is numbered and signed.
We have more info on museums in Paris!
Free things to do in Paris: window shopping at local markets
Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement is one of the lesser-known Paris street markets that is still mostly occupied by locals. Here you can browse a charming assortment of some of the best wine caves, boulangeries, boucheries and local produce stalls. You’ll also find the odd modern cafe or salon favored by younger Parisians located along the road. This winding street takes you through a less-travelled section of the 5th arrondissement and gives you an eclectic mix of traditional Parisian shops, markets and retailers.
Saint Ouen Flea Market
Saint Ouen is one of the largest Flea Markets in Europe with thousands of visitors each year. Located in the 17th arrondissement, this market specializes in furniture and antiques from around the world at a range of price points. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, a visit to the market is well worth the visit to take in the spectacle of hundreds of stalls and customers who gather there. Saint Ouen Flea Market is open Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 5pm. For a full guide to visiting the market, take a look at our Saint Ouen Flea Market Map.
If you’re planning on visiting Paris, make sure you pay a visit to the bouquinistes of the River Seine. Located along edges of the river throughout the 5th arrondissement, the bouquinistes are an important part of Parisian heritage. The small, green booths are stacked with vintage books, paintings, posters and other souvenirs that are sure to make a great addition to any collection. Travellers from all over the world look for unique Paris souvenirs here. Take a walk along the Seine and window shop your way through les Bouquinistes, open every afternoon from 12-7pm.
Seasonal events that are FREE
Nuit des Musées
For more than 10 years, on the 3rd Saturday of May, the museums of France open their doors to visitors free of charge. Organized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, Nuit des Muées aims to make culture accessible for everyone. During this event, in addition to presenting their permanent collections, some Parisian museums offer special events such as conferences, shows, readings and concerts.
For one night only you can visit Paris’ major museums including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Center and smaller museums like the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Museum of Decorative Arts or the Palace Discovery. Nuit des Musées takes place in thirty different countries in Europe throughout the year. It’s the best time to enjoy an immersive cultural experience free of change! The 2019 Nuit des Musées will be on May 19th.
Fête de la Musique
On Friday, June 21, 2019, Paris will host its 38th Fête de la Musique. In every arrondissement, different concerts will be held with free admission for all. You find musicians, bands, and DJs playing on the streets, in cafés and restaurants. Every variety of music is present, from classical to house music, so there’s something for everyone. Pack a bag and spend the entire day going from show to show. It’s always a huge celebration!
Nuit Blanche is a once a year event where art installations are set up across the city. This 2019, on the evening of October 5th until the early hours of October 6th, various locations around the city will be turned into public galleries where visitors can experience immersive art installations free of charge. The theme of Nuit Blanche changes every year and is designed by a rotating cast of artists and curators. It’s a unique event where you’ll get to experience art in an unusual, fun way!