Excluding the flight from London to Paris the “City of Lights” can be an expensive place to visit. However, for travellers who are curbing costs due to the current difficult economy, it is possible to spend several days there at little cost. On the Boulevard St. Michel or in front of the Pompidou Centre visitors to the city can enjoy the skills and antics of various street entertainers. Unless travellers enjoy the show enough to tip the entertainers, this is also free. Cheap flights to Paris help cut the costs of a holiday visit as well.
A late evening, or after dark stroll along the Seine River walkway, especially in the area behind Notre Dame Cathedral offers fascinating views of the city lights reflecting off the water. Visitors can call out to the river cruise ships asking where the riders are from. Often the answer will be close to home from someone on board. Sitting on the benches or walls provides a comfortable—free—way to spend a warm summer night.
Some famous landmarks in Paris may not be free all the time, but are on certain days and times. For anyone 26 and under, the Louvre is free on Friday evenings and is free to everyone the first Sunday of each month. Notre Dame provides tours exploring the cathedral’s façade, then the choir, Gothic vaults and stained glass windows inside at no cost three times weekly. Free concerts/vespers are usually listed on the notice boards at various churches throughout the city.
Budget airlines take visitors into the city. While there, check at the rond-point of the Champs Elysees for an exquisite gold-trimmed mansion. A discreet sign indicates “Artcurial” (Auction House.) There is no charge to enter and view the items that will be up for auction and also see the inside of a gorgeous Paris mansion.
One of the latest activities is the Friday evening “Skate Around Paris.” Local residents, along with anyone who has brought his skates, travel through the streets of the city, skating throughout the evening and into the night. This is a really fun way to see the backstreets at night in the safety of a group.
Paris is a city filled with fascinating museums. The Carnavalet Museum offers an understanding of the city’s complex history. Two Renaissance-era mansions: the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau house the museum items. Contained within 100 rooms are archaeological artefacts, art works, scale models, furniture and other items—especially from the French Revolution—which vividly reconstruct the city’s history. A series of temporary exhibits highlight different aspects and times of Paris’ heritage.
There are many more gardens, museums, art exhibits, musical and dance events, among other activities that are free to enjoy in Paris.