Cathedral de Notre Dame
The Cathedral de Notre Dame is one of Paris’ most iconic sights, and one of the most famous Gothic churches in Paris (if not the whole of Europe!). A simply beautiful building, both inside and out, it’s sculptures and stained glass are a sight to behold. The main areas of the church are free to enter between 7.30am-7.30pm in winter, and 7am-9pm in summer, although there is a small fee if you would like to climb the belfry towers or enter the crypt.
Head to Trocadéro Square for one of the most photographed views of the Eiffel Tower. Located on the on the opposite side of the Seine to the Tower in Paris’ 16th Arrondissement, the raised platform at the end of the gardens makes for the perfect foreground to you Eiffel Tower shot. It’s easily one of the top free things to do in Paris.
Parc du Champ de Mar
Still looking for the perfect Eiffel Tower shot? Head to the other side of the tower into the Parc du Champ de Mar. Providing a different angle, you’ll find scores of people lined up at ‘the perfect spot’ to capture the ultimate Eiffel Tower Selfie. This is also a great place to base yourself for a picnic, with sunrise or sunset adding a little something extra. However, don’t plan on a pouring a glass of wine here. Public drinking is not permitted, and the police will ask you to put it away.
Basilica du Sacré-Coeur
The Basilica du Sacre Coeur is another of Paris’ top sights, located at the top of the 180m high hill in Monmarte. Entry to the ground floor is free from 6am to 10pm every day, however a small fee will need to be paid if you want to climb the 300 steps to the top of the dome. The views from outside the church spreads across Paris, and as dusk descends, the street performers entertain the crowds who are waiting to watch the sun set over the Paris.
Watch the lights of the Eiffel Tower Sparkle
One of the prettiest things – and one of my favorite free things to do in Paris – was watching the lights of the Eiffel Tower Sparkle. This is one thing that is totally free – and happens every night, on the hour, every hour. As the Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris – you’re not likely to miss this event, but I’d recommend grabbing a seat on the steps at the Sacré-Coeur, or in the Parc du Champ de Mar for the best views of the city!
Before or after a visit to the Sacré-Coeur, wander the bohemian streets of Montmartre. Once the home of the creatives and artists, this area of Paris has retained it’s unique village feel – although this can sometimes get lost under the ‘touristy’ side of overpriced creperies and gift shops. Although bargains are to be had – keep an eye out for the Plat du Jour menus that most restaurants offer which offers a set meal at a discount price, one of the most expensive attractions can be found at the base of the hill: The Moulin Rouge. A truly Parisian experience – if your budget isn’t too strict, watching the show here is extremely enjoyable and will be something you never forget!
Printemps Rooftop Cafe
Known as one of Paris’ best kept secrets (ssh, don’t tell anyone!), the Printemps Rooftop Cafe and Terrace provides you with incredible 360 degree views of Paris. Take the elevator – and then the escalator – to the top floor of the Printemps Department Store the Deli-Cieux serves cafe food and stunning views. Be prepared to feel like you a right in the heart of the city.
Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and located on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the Jardin du Luxembourg were created upon the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612 and are a combination of French and English styles. Within the grounds there is also an orchard with a variety of old and forgotten apples, an apiary for you to learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses with a collection of breathtaking orchids and a rose garden. Entrance is free and the gardens are open between 7.30am and 8.15am and close between 4.30pm and 9.30pm dependent on the season.