"No ! Paris is not expensive"
Paris is like an amusement park : you can see and do a lot of things. If you are wealthy, you can pay guided tours, make expensive cruises, taste the French gastronomy.
If you are on a budget basis, the "amusement park" is also made for you and you can enjoy a visit to Paris, even with few money.
There are plenty of things to do or to see which are completly free. I say FREE, not inexpensive.
I can prove that...
"1- Sight seeing :"
# Montmartre : square Willette at the bottom of the Basilic of Sacré Coeur. A complete view on Paris.
# Samaritaine : quai du Louvre (M° Pont Neuf) - go to the last floor to have a scenic view on Paris (on the photograph). Take the lift to the 9th floor and climb by the stair to the 11th. At the 9th there is a tiny free museum on the Paris History.
Updating : unfortunately, the Samaritaine is now closed for an indeterminated time.
# Galeries Lafayette : 40 Bd Haussmann (M° Chaussée d'Antin) there is a terrasse at the 7th floor.
# Hotel NIKO à Beaugrenelle (M° Javel) : be discret and go at the last floor to have a look on the West Paris.
# Bastille day : if you are in Paris the 14th July, you can attend free fireworks. Some FW on 13th & 15th according to the calendar.
See the list of view points of Paris on the travelogue "Paris view points".
"2- Music (a) :"
# Fete de la Musique each 21 June. I recommend the 4° arrondissement (M° Hotel de Ville for example). See the program by district: http://www.novaplanet.com/html/bonplan/fetemus/html/fetemus/paris/bonft.html
# Festival de Paris - Quartier d'Ete : free music and spectacles in Paris (2002 : 14 July to 17 August)
For up dated info see : www.quartierdete.com
# Dance and fireworks at the Bastille Day (14th July) : the 13rd or 14th July, you can attend Freely a fireworks at the Trocadero and dancing parties organized in the firemen barracks.
# Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris : 14 rue de Madrid (M° Europe)
# Auditorium du Louvre : Pyramide - Cour Napoléon (M° Palais Royal)
# Ste Marie Abbay : 3 rue de la Source (M° Jasmin) Gregorian songs at the mass the Sunday 11AM.
# Several churches in Paris give free concerts (organ or orchestra) : see the OFFICIEL DES SPECTACLES (0.35 € by any newsagent)
# Radio France : Avenue du Président Kennedy (M° Mirabeau or Passy)
# Salsa and Tango : quai St Bernard near Jussieu University (M° Jussieu) - 15 July to 15 August - On the evening - Salsa & Tango dancers .
# Nuit Blanche : in late October, several places like museums or monuments (like City Hall) are open during the whole night and can be visited freely. The metro is on duty during the night.
"2-Music (b) :"
# In front of Centre Georges Pompidou there are always artists (musicians, jugglers, magicians).
# Paris Plage : in Summer, concerts are organised on the Seine banks. See the following chapter : 3-Things to do.
# Free shows : on the web site billetreduc.fr you will find free invitations for some Paris theaters. There are mainly comedies which need to understand French very well but there are also some musical shows. If there are no payment, the common habit is to leave some euros for the artists. Some others ask for a payment of 3 euros. The website is paid by a compulsory toll phone call.
"2- Music (c) - Magic"
# Christian and his "fan club" : the Sunday morning (11AM to 2PM, he sings together, with the crowd which surrounds him, ancient French ballads. A great and unique moment of Paris life (to understand why, see the travelogue "rue Mouffetard").
"2- Music (d)"
Free Jazz Festival between May to the end of July in the Parc Floral of Paris the Saturday and Sunday at 4:30PM.
In August, there is a classic music festival (same days and same hour).
The entrance of the park is not free : 1.50 € excepted for senior and children (0.75 €).
Metro : Chateau de Vincennes or RER-Vincennes
See the website : www.parcfloraldeparis.fr
"2- Music (e)"
# La Défense : parvis (M° La Défense) only in Summer (June) there is a jazz festival.
# AGAM Fountain at la Défense (on the Parvis): the water springs from 66 nozles according to the music. There are banks to sit. Concerts since the 15 April 12 to 2PM & 5 to 6PM each day excepted on Saturday, Sunday and ferial days : 3 to 6PM.
"3- Things to do"
# Skating rink : between December and February, according to the temperature, there is a FREE skating rink at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)(Metro : Hôtel de Ville). You can rent a pair of skates (it is not free).
An other rink is set up at la Défense on the "Parvis".
# Cycle and roller skate on the Right Bank of Seine : each Sunday and ferial days from 10AM to 4PM, the Right Bank motorway is closed to be invaded by bicycles, skateboards and roller skates. A pleasant and FREE way to discover Paris from Concorde to Bastille.
# Paris Plage : from Mid July to Mid August (2005 = 21/07 - 20/08) the Right Bank of Paris between Voie Georges Pompidou to Mazas is transformed into a beach (but swimming in Seine forbiden). The quay is covered by sand or grass. You can borrow freely a deckchair, or balls to play "Pétanque" or make climbing. You can make a picknick.
Pools for the kids.
# Gastronomy : Paris is one of the capital of gastronomy. If you visit it at the good date you can freely have a proof.
In April : Salon des Vins (Porte de Champerret)
In November : 2nd Salon des Vins of the year (Porte de Versailles)
In December (porte de Champerret) : Salon Saveur about food and wine.
In each Salon you can taste FREELY the products .
The entrance must be paid if you have not an invitation. Ask me some days before : I have always several tickets I do not use.
# Foire de Paris : the entrance worths 10 Euros ca but it is easy to get a free entrance coupon.
There are plenty of things in exibit and you can taste freely some food and above all, wine. Do not buy any thing there : it is definitively expensive.
# Free merry-go-rounds : for Xmas and New Year, the City supplies free merry-go-rounds in each arrondissement for the kids.
Often, the museums are free on the Sunday morning or the 1st Sunday of each month.
They are also free for youngsters (often under 18 ).
To read the following information :
- F = free every day
- SM = free each Sunday Morning (10AM - 1 PM)
- 1S = free the 1st Sunday of the Month.
- M° = metro (subway)
# National Archives (history) : 60 rue des Francs Bourgeois (M° : Rambuteau) 1S
# Dapper (African art) : 35bis rue Paul Valéry (M° Etoile) : last Wednesday of the Month
# Légion d'Honneur (history) : 2 rue de Bellechasse (M° Solferino) 1S
# Louvre (art & history) : see my travelogue -1S
# Maison Européenne de la Photographie (photographes) : 5 rue de Fourcy (M° St Paul) - free Wednesday 5PM - 8PM.
# Mémorial de la Libération de Paris - Musée Jean Moulin (history of WW II) : 23 allée de la 2° DB (M° Montparnasse) SM
# Monnaie (History) : 11 quai Conti (M° Pont Neuf) F all Sundays 12 AM- 5:30PM
# Musée du Moyen Age (history of the Middle Age) : 6 place P. Painlevé (M° St Michel or Odéon) 1S
# Orsay (19° Century Art) : 1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur (M° Solferino or RER Orsay) 1S
# Musée du Parfum (perfume) : 39 Bd des Capucines (M° Opéra) F
# Pavillon de l'Arsenal (architecture) : 21 Bd Morland (M° Quai de la Rapée) F
# Pavillon des Arts (Art) : les Halles - Porte de Rambuteau -Terrasse Lautréamont (M° Chatelet les Halles) Free on Sunday 11:30AM - 1 PM
# Petit Palais (art exibits) : Av Winston Churchill (M° Champs Elysées Clémenceau) SM (CLOSED UNTIL DECEMBER 2004)
# Musée de la Police (history) : 1bis rue des Carmes (M° Maubert) F , 9AM- 5PM, closed on Sunday and ferial days.
# Champs Elysees Harbor (Seine history) : right bank between Passerelle Solferino & Pont Alexandre III (M° Champs Elysees Clemenceau) F
# Hotel de Ville exibits (history & miscellaneous topics) : place de l'Hotel de Ville (M° Hotel de Ville). The matter of the exibit changes frequently. See the program. F.
# Rodin : 77 rue de Varenne (M° : Varenne) The works of the famous sculptor . 1S
"4b- Musees de la Ville de Paris"
All the "Musees de la Ville de Paris" (museums onwed by the City of Paris) are free everydays (except for the temporary exibits) :
# Carnavalet (Paris History): 23 rue Sévigné (M° St Paul) - On the photograph - More on this museum on the Travelogue "Marais and Rue des Francs Bourgeois"
# Zadkine (scuptures & drawings) : 100 bis rue d'Assas (M° Vavin)
# Modern Art of the City of Paris : 11 av Président-Wilson (M° Alma Marceau)
# Balzac's House (litterature) : 47 rue Raynouart (M° Passy)
# Bourdelle (art) : 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle (M° Montparnasse)
# Cognacq-Jay : 8 rue Elzevir (M° St Paul or Chemin Vert)
# House of Victor Hugo : place des Vosges (M° St Paul)
# Vie Romantique : 16 rue Chaptal (M° St Georges)
# Cernuschi (art) : 7 av Velasquez (M° Villiers)
"5- Libraries :"
# Centre Georges Pompidou (on the photograph): place Georges Pompidou (M° Chatelet les Halles or Rambuteau), 12AM-10PM excepted Su 11AM-10PM - when the main entrance is busy, use entrances rue Beaubourg or rue du Renard - books, films, tapes, Internet, CD - Free
# Institut du Monde Arabe : 1 rue des Fossés St Bernard (M° Jussieu) 1PM -8PM - Closed on Sun & Mon
# Extrapole : Bd Montmartre (M° Montmartre) - In the -1 floor there is the book store and some armchairs to the public. You can rest and read.
# Corner of rues St Jacques & St Germain (M° Odéon or Maubert-Mutualité)a book store specialized in comics. No sit.
# Corner of rue Lafayette and rue Taitbout (M° Chaussée d'Antin) also a book store specialized in comics. Use the stair to read quietly in the basement.
"6- Monuments :"
Almost all the Paris monuments can be freely seen if you do not enter.
I reduce the list at the monuments you can enter for FREE.
# Basilic of Sacré Coeur : 25 rue du Chevalier de la Barre (M° Anvers + cable car) on the Montmartre hill - Free
# Madeleine (church) : place de la Madeleine (M° Madeleine)
# Notre Dame : the entrance of the cathedral is free but you must pay to climb in the towers.
Free guided tours in French and foreign languages.
# Sainte Chapelle : 2 & 4 Blvd du Palais on Ile de la Cite - 1 S (Oct to Mar).
Once a year, the 3rd week end (Sat & Sun) of September, there are the "Journées du Patrimoine". It is possible to visit freely (or for a reduced price) the monuments and the museums. Several buildings, closed to the public the year round, are open : Palais de l'Elysée (Salon des Ambassadeurs on the picture), Matigon ( the Prime Ministry), ...
"7a- Gardens :"
Generally, the Parisian gardens are free. Some of them are very beautiful.
# Jardin des Tuileries : place de la Concorde (M° Concorde)
# Jardin du Luxembourg : rue St Michel (M° Luxembourg) -see my travelogue
# Parc Monceau : Bd de Courcelles (M° Courcelles) -see my travelogue
# Parc des Buttes Chaumont (on the Photograph): rues de Crimée & Manin (M° Buttes Chaumont) - see the map on the travelogue "gardens of Paris"
# Jardin Atlantique : place des 5 Martyrs du Lycée Buffon (M° Montparnasse-Bienvenüe)
# Parc Montsouris : avenue Reille (M° Cité Universitaire)
# Jardin des Plantes : corner rues Cuvier & Geoffroy St Hilaire (M° Jussieu)- Marvellous flowers. Unfortunatly, there is a lack of finance and the quality of the garden is decreasing - Some parts of the garden and the zoo are not free. The National History Museum is here.
# Bois de Boulogne : located in the West of Paris, it is a huge park (do not think to visit it completly by foot)with ponds, a windmill and the survival trees of the December 99 storm. To avoid by night because some parts are frequented by drugdealers and prostitutes - Several areas are even forbiden - Metro : Porte Dauphine but there is a lot of way to go there.
# Bois de Vincennes : at the opposite of Bois de Boulogne, on the East side of Paris - Less pleasant than the previous one : it is just a forest. There is here the "Parc Floral" which is not free (Reduced price : 0.75 E . Full tariff : 1.50E) I am affraid - Metro : Chateau de Vincennes or RER Vincennes.
"7b- Gardens of Versailles"
You must pay the visit of the castle but the gardens and the fountains are completly FREE. You can enjoy the marvellous statues and the viewpoint on the garden + the pond or on the Castle.
But bring a bottle to drink because here everything you buy is expensive.
My usual program tells 3 € but I am sure to have not paid in February 2002.
"8- Special sights :"
# Clock with automaton - The Time Defender (on the photograph) : 8 rue Bernard de Clairvaux (M° Rambuteau) Just the small street hidden on the left of Centre Georges Pompidou - a man fights with a foe each hour but do not miss 12AM, 6PM & 10PM, he fights with his 3 foes.
# Christmas frontwindows : the departments stores Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps are decorated and lighted. A small platform is put in front of each frontwindow in order to allow the kids to see the automatons.
# Flower market : place Louis Lépine (M° Cité) close to Notre Dame - 8AM - 7PM- see the travelogue City Island
# Bouquinistes : left bank : quai de la Tournelle to quai Malaquais - right bank : from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre - booksellers installed along the Seine vending books, engravements, cards.
# Pet stores : quai de la Mégisserie (M° Pont Neuf) (excepted on Su PM) - Several shops selling poppies, kittens, birds and some odds animals (snakes, lezards, etc)(see the travelogue City Island).
# Flea market of Clignancourt (very large) : M° Porte de Clignancourt or Porte de St Ouen - to visit early in the morning - Warning : be aware of the pickpocketers and do not gamble (they cheat).
# Flea market of Montreuil (smaller than the previous one and more focused on clothes) : M° Porte de Montreuil
# Ancient papers market (ancient and used books in a covered market) : Parc Georges Brassens, rue Brancion (M° Convention)- See my travelogue dedicated to the market.
# Louvre des Antiquaires : Rue de Rivoli (M° Palais Royal or Louvre) - all the geat antique dealers of Paris have a shop in this mall for savety purpose. They put here their best items.
# Auction Hall : rue Drouot (metro : Richelieu-Drouot). The morning you can visit the exibit of objects to purchase. On the afternoon, you can attend the auctions. Mainly antique (see photograph on travelogue "Paris when it is raining").
Several stores in the neighborhood have in exibition in their shopwindow art works bought at "Drouot".
# Palais Royal Gallery : place du Palais Royal (M° Palais Royal) - the French Revolution started here - The shops under the Arcads are often odd : music boxes, tin soldiers, medal, ... (expensive if you buy, free if you look at) - In the neighbor court : the Burren Columns, the ugliest monument of Paris (nobody wants to pay to see that).
# Père Lachaise Cemetary : Bd de Menilmontant (M° Père Lachaise) graves of authors, musicians, painters, historical caracters, singers + monuments and scuptures. Some odd graves. You can buy at the entry a map with the names and locations of the most famous occupiers. See the travelogue "Père Lachaise Cemetary".
# Roller race : each Friday at 10PM, the roller amateurs gather in Place d'Italy to do an itinerary in Paris. They can be very numerous (highest number : 22.000 persons).
# Cycling, skating along the River Seine : each Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM, it is possible to ride a bicycle or to skate on the Quais which are closed to the traffic.
# Lighted fountains : Rond-Point des Champs Elysées (M° Champs Elysées Clémenceau) - to see at night. Behind, the Avenue des Champs Elysées and the Triumph Arch.
# Place de la Concorde (M° Concorde) : recently cleaned. The Obelisk with its golden top. The 2 fountains gorgeously restored in green bronze and gold The Parliament behind the bridge, on the left bank. The Tuileries Garden. And if you go there a working day at 6PM, the famous traffic jam (the unruly Parisian drivers are a spectacle).
# Rue du Chat qui Pêche (Fishing Cat street) : between Quai St Michel & Rue de la Huchette (quartier Latin). One the smallest streets of Paris (length : 20 m, large : 1.5 m), no number. (M° St Michel)
# The oldest (or the 2nd oldest) house of Paris : 3 rue Volta (M° Arts & Métiers) to see how was shops in the early 1300'. The real 1st oldest is rue de Montmorency (House of Nicolas Flamel)
"9 - Canals"
# Bassin de la Villette : Quai de Seine and Quai de Loire (M° Jaurès or Stalingrad) - On the North- An interesting walk (on the photograph)
# Canal St Martin : quai de Valmy and quai de Jemmapes (M° Jaurès or Stalingrad)- On the South West- See the boats passing the locks. Some gardens.