Paris is known for romantic allure but also for being touristic and pricey – let native Parisians guide you to the coolest local free activities.
Although you can easily spend a ton of money in Paris, there is plenty to enjoy for free. Follow these tips of the best free things to do in Paris, from native Parisians.
1. Couscous at Le Grenier
The couscous is complimentary for drinking patrons at this bar. Enjoy it all while listening to jazz or manouche in this lovable dive bar. Its location in the lively Oberkampf neighborhood makes it a good starting point for checking out the local scene.
152 rue Oberkampf, 11e | T: +33 (0)1 4805 1352
2. Student concerts at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris
The Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris is one of the most prestigious music conservatories in Europe, and its students stage free concerts throughout the year.
209 avenue Jean-Jaurès, 19e | T: +33 (0)1 4040 4647
3. Organ concert at the Saint-Eustache Church
Housing one of the largest organs in the world, Saint-Eustache is where Mozart held the funeral for his mother. Free concerts are held every Sunday at 5:30 pm.
2 rue du Jour / impasse Saint-Eustache, 1e
4. Musée Carnavalet
Housed in two mansions in the trendy Marais district, this gorgeous Carnavalet museum chronicles the history of Paris from its founding to modern day. Admission to the permanent collection is always free.
23 rue de Sévigné 23, 3e | T: +33 (0)1 4459 5858
5. Rock and electro concerts at La Flèche d’Or
This bar/restaurant/club is in an old train station with windows overlooking the defunct tracks. La Flèche d’Or was one of the first venues to open in the Ménilmontant neighborhood, and it still may be the coolest. Free admission from 8:00pm to 2:00am.
102 bis, rue de Bagnolet, 20e | T: +33 (0)1 4464 0102
6. Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is one of the oldest squares in Paris, where you can lounge on the grass, listen to street musicians, browse the art galleries and even visit the home of Victor Hugo where he wrote many of his works, including Les Misérables. Admission is always free.
6 place des Vosges, 4e | T: +33 (0)1 4272 1016
7. Le Showcase
Le Showcase is a hot new nightspot with live jazz and rock, in the unexpected location under the stunning Alexandre III bridge. President Sarkozy has reportedly already had a few parties there. Admission is free before midnight.
Pont Alexandre III, Port des Champs Élysées 82 | T: +33 (0)1 4561 2543
8. Fashion shows at Galleries Lafayette
To many, Paris is synonymous with fashion and the quintessential Paris department store, Galleries Lafayette, has a free fashion show every Friday at 3:00pm on the 7th floor.
40 boulevard Haussmann, 9e | Reservations are a must: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +33 (0)1 4282 3640.
9. Père-Lachaise Cemetery
Wander around the grounds of the most famous cemetery in the world and pay your respects to Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Colette, Molière, Modigliani, Georges Seurat, Sarah Bernhardt, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison and many, many more.
16 rue du Repos, 20e | T: +33 (0)1 5525 8210
10. Radio France concerts
Radio France presents free classical concerts on Sunday afternoons at the Petit Palais auditorium. Tickets are distributed 30 minutes before concerts.
116 av. du Président Wilson, 16e | T: +33 (0)1 5640 1516
Alessandra is a photographer and writer who has lived on three continents and visited more than 40 countries. She founded one of the web’s first travel magazines, FAR-and-NEAR.com, where she now shares entries from her travel journals. When not on the road, she can be found reading the Michelin Guide or watching films in languages she hopes to learn one day. Thumbnail credit: Benoît Derrier (La Flèche d’Or).