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FREE Paris ATTRACTIONS

FREE THINGS TO DO IN Paris

Top Free Paris Attractions

FREE Things To Do in Paris - 2018

1. Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

Situated to the east of Paris, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the fifth largest park in the city. Officially opened in 1867, it was one of the many major parks created during the reign of Emperor Napoleon III. Prior to this, the park had a much less glamorous history. It was once the location of a city gallows and also a public waste ground. Occupying nearly 25 hectares, The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is now a much more attractive space of greenery and plant life.

Providing visitors with a lovely view of the Sacré Coeur, it is the perfect place to relax away from the hustle and bustle of central Paris. The winding paths offer an exhilarating walk up and around this area. Notable points of interest include: a 32 metre waterfall, a grotto and a long suspension bridge which is dubiously dubbed the 'suicide bridge'. The most popular attraction at Parc des Buttes Chaumont is the 'Temple de la Syblle', based on the Temple of Vesta in Italy. Located on a cliff above the central lake, it is a beautiful addition to the landscape of this park.


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2. Basilique du Sacré Coeur (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

The Basilique de Sacré Coeur or affectionately just 'Sacré-Couer', is a Roman Catholic Church in Paris. Construction began on the building in 1876, after donations were made by Parisian Catholics as an act of penance for the shame of the Franco-Prussian War. The building was then designed by Paul Abadie and completed in 1914. It was officially consecrated in 1919. The iconic white building is located at the summit of Butte Montmarte which is the highest point of the city. The panoramic views from this attraction are amongst the best you will find in Paris.

It is not just the exterior of the Basilique du Sacré Couer which is impressive. Inside the building you will find a ceiling adorned with the largest mosaic in Paris. Spanning 480 square metres, Luc-Olivier Merson's depiction of 'Christ in Majesty' will take the breath away of even the non-religious. The crypt is another interesting area to explore, but the basilica dome is what really draws in the crowds. Up 234 spiral steps, the basilica provides a view which looks out across the whole of Paris.

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3. Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

The largest in Paris, Pere Lachaise Cemetery spans a massive 44 hectares. Previously known as 'East Cemetery' it was the first garden cemetery and municipal cemetery in Paris. Containing over 300,000 graves, it is a beautiful walk through time. The winding pathways and vibrant foliage make it feel like a true celebration of life. Pere Lachaise Cemetery received its name from the confessor of Louis IV, Pere de la Chaise. It was not until 1804 however, that it was officially inaugurated by Emperor Napolean I.

Thousands of tourists flock to the site each year, to gaze on the many famous names who have found their resting place there. The graves of Chopin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde are all situated here. Due to the expansive breadth of this site, it is worth researching where notable individuals of interest are buried, so you can plan your route in advance. Several World War I memorials can also be viewed. The plentiful greenery makes Pere Lachaise Cemetery a truly beautiful place to explore. A walk up to the summit of the hill is also recommended, where you can gaze down upon the whole site.


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4. Carnavalet Museum (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

The Carnavalet Museum is a celebration of the history of Paris. Located in Marais district, it is an embodiment of the history this area is known for. Established in 1880, the Carnavelt Museum spans two mansions built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Hotel de Carnavalet was the original home of the museum, then as the collections grew, it took over the Hotel le Peletier de Saint Fargeau too. There are over a hundred rooms of exceptional art, which serve to educate visitors about the rich tapestry of Paris' past. The permanent collection boasts over 2000 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 2000 sculptures and 150,000 photographs. They also display a selection of furniture, ceramics and artefacts.

The rooms at the Carnavalet Museum have been tastefully designed to replicate the style of the 14th and 15th centuries. Tourists can peruse fascinating articles from the medieval collection which documents everything from the Hundred Years War and the Great Plague. They hold pieces from the French Revolution, which are a fascinating insight into this tumultuous period in their history. The Orangerie underwent a complete restoration in 2000 and it is always worth checking what exhibitions they have on there.

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5. Champs-Élysées (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Champs-Élysées is an avenue in Paris, which has been deemed by many to be the most beautiful in the world. Stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, it houses some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The Champs-Élysées initially consisted of a series of fields and gardens, until Marie de' Medici decided to extend the area with an avenue of trees in 1616. It did not receive its current name until 1709. Since then, it has undergone a series of renovations, including the widening of footpaths in 1994 designed by Bernard Huet.

Adorned with impressive monuments, a walk down the Champs-Élysées takes you past the Arc de Triomphe and the Obelisk of Luxor. It runs for 1.91 kilometres and has been used for several military marches. The strip includes a selection of shops, bars and restaurants. Abercrombie and Fitch, Vuitton and Hugo Boss all have a store here; for big brand shopping this is the place to be. The Champs-Élysées also boasts a colourful night-life. Popular clubs include the Queen, Showcase and Le Baron.


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6. Champ de Mars (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Nestled between the Eiffel Tower and Ecole Militaire, is one of the most stunning areas of green-space in Paris. Champs de Mars spans almost 25 hectares offering some of the best views of the capital there are. Opened in 1780 as it is known today, the space was originally intended as an esplanade for the Ecole Militaire. As with any attraction in Paris it has a colourful history. It was the site where King Louis XVI accepted the new written constitution in 1790. In 1889 Champ des Mars hosted the Exposition Universaille which led to the construction of the Eiffel Tower. In 2000, the Wall for Peace was erected in front of the Ecole Militaire. Inspired by the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, visitors are encouraged to leave messages of peace.

Today, Champ des Mars draws tourists looking for beautiful views and relaxing surroundings. Thousands flock to the grassy plains for picnics and to gather with friends. There are playgrounds for children and you may even come across the odd local enjoying an early morning jog. Musicians can be found serenading tourists and as the evening draws in, the lights of Paris look simply sensational from this vantage point

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7. Parc André Citroën (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Parc André Citroën was developed over a former site of the car manufacturing brand, Citroën. Named after their founder André Citroën, it is one of the more modern parks in Paris. The park is situated on the left bank of the river Seine, spanning 35 acres. Officially opened to the public in 1992, it is the handiwork of two French landscape gardeners and three architects: Gilles Clément, Alain Provost, Patrick Berger, Jean-François Jodry and Jean-Paul Viguier. Parc André Citroën is centralised around a rectangular lawn and is a great contemporary space to relax in.

Parc André Citroën is divided into three sections: the Black Garden, the White Garden and the central park. It also boasts two greenhouse pavilions, which grow an array of exotic plants. The dancing fountains found at the east end of the park are a fun addition. There are plenty of facilities for children to play in; including playgrounds, slides and a table tennis area. The park has also played host to a moored helium air balloon since 1999, which enables tourists to rise up above the park and take in the spectacles of Paris.


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8. Marché d'Aligre (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

One of the most popular outdoor markets in Paris, Marché d'Aligre always makes for a vibrant and lively day. Located in the 12th arrondisement behind the Bastille, it is a cool purse-friendly day out. The area actually consists of two markets: Marché d'Aligré is the outdoor area and Marché Beauvau is the indoor section. The latter is in fact one of the oldest covered markets in Paris and a protected historic building. Expect friendly banter and bargains galore.

The majority of goods on sale at Marché d'Aligre are edible produce. The fresh fruit and vegetables on offer draw people from all over Paris. You will find every French delicacy imaginable and it is here you should visit for some fine foie gras. As a nation the French are known for their superior cheese, and here you will find it plentiful. Anticipate tantalised taste-buds and a rumbling stomach. Other stalls can be found selling everything from vintage clothes to hats and books. There is also a flower market where you can brighten up your day with blooms of any colour.


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9. Le Marché aux Puces de St. Ouen (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Le Marché aux Puces de St. Oeun, or as it is more commonly known: 'Les Puces', comprises the most popular flea markets in Paris. Dating back to 1885, there are now fifteen markets situated in this area, selling everything from low cost trinkets to extraordinary art. The sellers at Le Marché aux Puces de St Ouen mean business, with the majority opting for a three year lease. Spanning around seven hectares and attracting over a 100,000 per week it claims the title of the largest antique market in the world.

Tourists will find something for every budget at Le Marché aux Puces de St. Ouen. Each market sells a different selection of goods, so if you have something in mind, it is worth researching the most appropriate market before you go. Amongst the most popular is Marché Biron, which is one of the oldest and sells a considerable amount of beautiful antique furniture. Marché Dauphine is the newest addition and has already become loved for the quirky nature of its sellers. Marché Malassis, Marché Serpette and Marché Paul Bert are also definitely worth a look. Finally, don't forget that haggling is expected!


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10. Montparnasse Cemetery (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Initially known as the 'Southern Cemetery', Montparnasse Cemetery can be found in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. Opened in 1824, it is one of the three main cemeteries in the city. It began life as three individual farms which were transformed into the 19 hectare burial ground you will find today. It is the second largest of its kind in Paris and is a quiet retreat of historical importance. Divided into two spaces by the Rue Èmile Richard, there is the aptly named 'small cemetery' and 'big cemetery' to explore.

Over 300,000 people have been buried at Montparnasse Cemetery, and there are around 35,000 tombs that can be viewed. It is a non-denominational burial ground, housing the dead of many different nationalities. It is also the final resting place of a long list of notable figures. Just a few of the famous names that can be found include: philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir; car manufacturer Andre Citreon; and former French President, Paul Deschanel. Lined with over 1200 trees, Montparnasse offers a scenic stroll through time.


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11. Parc de la Villette (Free)

3.5 Free Tourist Attraction

Designed by Bernard Tschumi, the Parc de la Villette is hub of cultural activity. Tschumi won the opportunity to design this space in 1983, after competing against 460 other teams. The area was originally home to a large abattoirs which closed in 1974. The area was then designated to building: a musical complex, a national science and technology museum, and a large urban park. The park was finally completed in 2000 although several of the attractions on site were finished earlier. It spans 55 hectares and a whole holiday could be spent exploring what this site has to offer.

Parc de la Villette contains a series of themed gardens including 'The Garden of the Dragon' and the 'Bamboo Garden'. These are all decorated with unique follies; decorative ornamental buildings. The outdoor space is known for attracting artists and musicians seeking inspiration from this culturally vibrant area. The site also boasts the largest science museum in Europe, an IMAX theatre, a concert arena, an equestrian centre and a symphony hall. It is easy to understand how this lively park receives around ten million visitors annually.

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12. Arènes de Lutèce (Free)

3.5 Free Tourist Attraction

One of the oldest attractions in Paris, the Arènes de Lutèce dates back to 1AD. Paris was at that time actually known as Lutèce. Built by the Romans, the Arènes de Lutèce is one of the largest amphitheatres ever constructed. It is located in the Quartier Latin and was once capable of holding up to 15,000 people. The Romans used it to host gladiatorial competitions among other events. The landmark was in fact lost to history for many years, becoming a cemetery towards the end of the 3rd century. It was rediscovered in the 1860s during the development of a new tram stop. Victor Hugo led the campaign for restoration, which then gradually began to take place. Areas were still being excavated all the way up to the 1940s.

A visit to Arènes de Lutèce is a fascinating insight into Roman architecture. It originally spanned 132 metres long by 100 metres wide, although only parts of the stage and several animal cages are visible now. The site is mainly used for recreational activities. Football games and picnics are common along with the French sport boules.


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