10 Places To Visit In Paris For Free
The fusion of romance, art, and fashion drives crowds of tourists to the French capital. While a trip to Paris can be expensive, here's a list of ten tourist attractions that you can enjoy for free.
1. Rue de Steinkerque
Start your Paris tour by getting off at the Anvers metro stop on Line 2 and on to Rue de Steinkerque. As you step out of the metro station, you'll be greeted by this busy street of shops and trinkets. Walk straight ahead and you'll end up in the Sacre Coeur de Montmarte Basilica, another must-see in Paris.
2. The Basilica of Sacre Coeur Montmartre
Commanding attention with its towering presence, Sacre Coeur is one of Paris's most important landmarks. You can take the funicular to get there, but you might as well work those leg muscles and take the stairs. When you reach the basilica, you'll be rewarded by harp melodies in the background while you enjoy the great views of the city.
3. Arc de Triomphe
From the Basilica of Sacre Coeur Montmarte, take the metro to Charles de Gaulle - Etoile. Day or night, you'll enjoy the wonderful sight of the biggest arch in the world.
4. Champs-Élysées Avenue
From Arc de Triomphe, follow along one of Paris's busiest streets. I didn't buy anything when I strolled along Champs-Élysées, but it was fun to window shop and see the most famous fashion outlets in the world. If you're a fan of high fashion, this is your turf.
From Arc de Triomphe, you can take the metro from George V or Charles de Gaulle Etoile to Trocadero. You'll soon find yourself in a vast space with open views of the Palais de Chaillot (from where the iconic photo of Adolf Hitler with the Eiffel Tower in the background was shot and where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was convened in 1948) and Paris's most famous Eiffel Tower.
If you're looking for the best spot to take amazing photos of the tower, don't miss Trocadero!
6. Eiffel Tower
Go behind the Palais de Chaillot and across the River Seine to get to the base of the Eiffel Tower. You can ogle at its beauty from below, although there's also the option to take the lift to reach the viewpoint for a fee. Queues can get terribly long though, so I advise to get there early or buy your tickets online.
7. Alexander III Bridge
Facing the Eiffel Tower, take Quai Branly on your left and walk for around 20 minutes to reach the Alexander III Bridge near Quai d' Orsay. It is said to be Paris's first open-air museum, with art pieces gorgeously adorning the River Seine. Relish the art nouveau beauty of its street lamps and France's rich history represented in its sculptures and pillars.
8. Notre Dame Cathedral
From Alexander III Bridge, take the metro from Champs-Élysées - Clemenceau Line 1 and alight at the City Hall stop. Cross the river through Pont d'Arcole and you'll see the Cathedral of Notre Dame. You'll surely be captivated by its medieval and charm. You have the option to go to the very top (with moderate difficulty) for a fee and will have a bird's eye view of the Parisian city line. If you're not up for that, you can take a peek inside the cathedral for free and even just go around it and appreciate its flying buttresses and gothic architecture.
9. Quay de Montebello
Across the Notre Dame Cathedral, you'll find the Quay de Montebello - a long street that runs along the River Seine offering a pleasant and picturesque walk along with art finds and vintage items. It was one of the little surprises that Paris has to offer, and you'll surely be rewarded by the unobstructed views of the Notre Dame Cathedral from here.
10. Shakespeare and Company
You'll find Shakespeare & Company, one of the quintessential bookstores in the world, near the Notre Dame Cathedral on the left bank of the River Seine. It sells both used and unused books and offers free accommodations to budding writers and artists in exchange for their assistance in running the shop's daily operations. If you want to experience a touch of old Paris's literary flair, Shakespeare and Company is a must.
Where to stay
To do Paris on the cheap, you can opt to stay at Le Village Hostel and Budget Hotel strategically located near the Sacre Coeur Montmartre Basilica at 20 Rue d'Orsel. A single bed on a shared room can go as low as 28 euros/night. That's a great deal given that you're in one of the most expensive cities in Europe.
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