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 Light. 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.
What you’ll find in this article:
– cool workshops & lessons that are FREE
– where to get amazing city views without fees
– buildings with amazing architecture with free entry
– free art and culture museums
– best places for window-shopping in Paris
– free seasonal events in Paris
Free things to do in Paris: Free workshops and lessons
1. 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!
Perfumery Workshop at Musée du Parfum
Address: 3-5 Square de l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet, 75009
Metro: Opéra (Line 7 / 8 / 9)
2. 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.
3. 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
1. 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 Notre Dame cathedral where many Parisians’ have gathered to mourn the loss of this beloved cultural landmark.
Institue du Monde Arabe
Address: 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
Schedule: open from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday
2. 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. This is definiftely one of our favorite spots in our Opera District Map!
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Rooftop
Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Schedule: open from 9:30 am-8:30 pm daily (from 11 am-8pm on Sundays)
Metro: Chausée d’Antin La Fayette (Line 7 / 9)
|INSIDR Tip: You can receive free gifts whenever you shop at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann! Some gifts you can receive are from L’Occitane and Kiehl’s! Click the links to get your gift vouchers.|
At Esplanade 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 pavilion 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.
Esplanade du Trocadéro
Address: in the 16th arrondissement
Schedule: open 24/7
Metro: Trocadéro (Line 6 / 9)
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.
1. Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève
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.
Address: 10 Place du Panthéon, 75005
Schedule: open from 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday
Metro: Maubert – Mutualité (Line 10)
2. Saint Eustache Church
This magnificent church is one of the best alternatives to visiting the Notre-Dame. Located in the 1st arrondissement, this imposing Gothic church towers over the Les Halles area and surrounding neighborhood. It is Paris’ second largest church and has a magnificent gothic structure and vaulted ceilings combined with Renaissance architectural details. 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
Address: 2 Impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001
Schedule: open to the public from 9:30am to 7pm Monday to Friday and weekends from 9am to 7:15pm
Metro: Les Halles (Line 4)
3. 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
Address: 2 bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005
Schedule: open from 9am to 6pm Saturday to Thursday
Metro: Censier – Daubenton (Line 7)
Free things to do in Paris: learn about arts and craftsmanship
1. Musée du Parfum
At Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum, 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.
|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!|
Perfumery Workshop atMusée du Parfum
Address: 3-5 Square de l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet, 75009
Metro: Opéra (Line 7 / 8 / 9)
2. 59 Rivoli
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.
Address: 59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Schedule: 1-8pm Tuesday to Sunday
Metro: Chatelet (Line 1)
3. Lafayette Anticipations
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. Pay them a visit and get immersed in Paris’s up and coming art scene.
Address: 9 rue du Plâtre
Schedule: open daily from 11am-7pm; closed on Tuesdays
Metro: Hôtel de Ville (Line 1)
We have more info on museums in Paris!
Free things to do in Paris: window shopping at local markets
1. Rue Mouffetard
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.
2. 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.
2. Riverside bouquinistes
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
1. Nuit des Musées
When: May 16, 2020
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!
2. Fête de la Musique
When: June 21, 2020
On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Paris will host its 39th 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!
3. Nuit Blanche
When: October 3 – 4, 2020
Nuit Blanche is a once a year event where art installations are set up across the city. This 2020, on the evening of October 3rd until the early hours of October 4th, 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!