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Free Things to Do in Paris, France
- Eiffel Tower - No visit to Paris is complete without taking a stroll through the Champ de Mars and checking out La Tour Eiffel. The Champ de Mars is a huge sixty acre park full of gardens and trees. The park stretches from the Ecole Militaire, a military academy that Napoleon Bonaparte once attended, to the Seine River. Standing at the end of the park by the Seine, is the Eiffel Tower. Built for the 1889 World's Fair, standing 1,063 feet tall, the tower is the tallest building in Paris. There is a fee to go up in the tower, €3-11.50 depending on the level you want to go to, but walking around the base of the tower and enjoying the park is free.
- Notre Dame de Paris - The famous 700 year old cathedral with its twin 200 foot-tall, gargoyle topped, bell towers. Walk around the outside and look at the ornate facade then go inside to see the light coming through the beautiful stained glass windows. There is a fee to go up in the gargoyle towers, €7.50. The lines for the towers are long. I was there at the end of March when most of the attractions were free of tourist crowds, but there was still a huge line here.
-When you're done at the cathedral, cross the bridge over the Seine and browse the book stores and shops along the river.
- Arc de Triomphe - A huge monument honoring the French who fought in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz. The names of French generals and victories are inscribed in it. It's 164 feet tall and 148 feet wide. 284 stairs lead to the top of the Arc de Triomphe where you can take in great views of the city. The outside is free and the inside is free for kids, but €8 for adults.
-If your legs aren't to tired after the climb to the observation deck of the arc, take a walk down the famous Champs-Elysées Boulevard. This grand boulevard is lined with luxury stores, elegent cafes, and restaurants.
- Sacré-Couer Basilica - A 130 year old byzantine-looking Catholic church located in the Montmartre district of Paris. It's built on the city's highest point and affords some great views. It's a steep walk to basilica, but well worth it. The neighborhoods surrounding the church are colorful and lively. There's lots of people selling stuff in the streets, including art, clothes, trinkets, and just about anything you can think of.
- Père Lachaise Cemetery - A city of graves of past Paris residents like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Frédéric Chopin to name a few. Free to roam around. You can buy maps of the maze-like 110 acre cemetery at nearby shops for €2.
- Take a walk through the Tuileries Gardens
- Check out the outdoor markets
- The Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and the Centre Pampidou are all free on the first Sunday of the month. M. d'Orsay and Centre Pampidou are free to kids under 18. The Louvre is free on Bastille Day. Other times, the Louvre is €8.50 for adults and a couple Euros for kids, but well worth it. You can spend a whole day at the Louvre and not see everything.
*The prices I'm quoting are from ticket stubs and info from my trip to Paris in 2009, so they might have changed a little.