• Melissa Kartini

#MyCutiCuti: Free Things to Do in Paris, France

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Free! It’s free!

Since I have only ONE day to explore the city of Paris, my colleague and I decided to walk around and explore the city. We stayed near Villepinte because it was only 10 minutes’ walk to the exhibition hall (work...) but far from the city, about 30 km away. I asked the receptionist how much would it cost if we were to take a cab to the city center and she told me it’s about €60. That’s crazy, so we decided to take the metro. It took us about an hour to reach our destination.

We visited Palais Royal followed by Musee du Louvre, Quai D Orsay, Eiffel Tower and Parc day Champs de Mars. We walked from a place to another, wanted to rent a bike but we did not download the app on our phone.

Palais Royal

Originally named the Palais Cardinal, this was built in 1692 by Cardinal Richelieu, and is located about 300 away from Musee du Louvre. The palace was bequeathed to King Louis XIII after Richelieu’s death and was his childhood home before moving to the Louvre and eventually to Versailles Palace. It now hosts the Conseil d’État and the Ministry of Culture. The courtyard and the beautiful gardens are open daily to visitors.

Palais Royal consists of 280 black and white striped truncated columns of various heights which add a sense of distinctive modernity to the palace. Tourists often visit to enjoy the beautiful gardens, and sit or stand on the black and white columns for insta-worthy photos.

  • Time to spend: 30 mins

Musee du Louvre (Louvre Museum)

Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre has embraced the history of France for eight centuries. It is currently the world’s most visited museum. There are collections featuring works that are admired throughout the globe from room to room, such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the raft of the Medusa. The architectural design with the medieval fortress of the 12th century and glass pyramid by Pei attract visitors from all over the world. The undulating glass canopy covers the Visconti courtyard and flood the 2,800 m2 new wings with light. Hence, visitors are able to enjoy the stunning night view of Pei’s glass pyramid at night.

We spent about 30 minutes here walking around without entering the museum and took a mandatory shot of each other. You’ll see most of the tourists doing the same pose!

It’s worth visiting the Musee du Louvre collections if you have more time during your trip. The best time to visit is in the early morning or on the night openings. The ticket gives you the same day access to the temporary collections and free admission to the Musee Eugene-Delacroix within 48 hours. We did not have much time so we skipped all these.

The admission is FREE for all visitors on the first Sunday of the month, however, be prepared for crowds!

  • Time to spend: 2-3 hours (if you plan to enter the museum)

  • Opening Hours: 9 am – 6 pm (Closed on Tuesday), 9 am – 9:45 pm (Wednesday & Friday)

  • Price: €17 (online purchase for quick entry) / €15 (purchase at the museum) – Free for all visitors under 18 years old

Quai D’ Orsay

Passed by while walking to the Eiffel Tower. There were plenty of walkers, joggers, and roller skaters along the Quai D’ Osay. Cafes by the river were full of tourists enjoying the view and evening drinks. The view was amazing.

Another art museum to visit: Musee d’ Orsay

Eiffel Tower

La Tour Eiffel, the iconic Parisian landmark, constructed with lattice wrought iron which cost about $1.5 million has 108 stories with 1,710 steps. The 324 meter tall tower comes with 3 platforms, which you can go up on by stairs or by lift. There are shops on the first floor; you treat yourself to a gastronomic meal at 125 meters above ground on the second floor; and enjoy the spectacular 360° view at cloud level on the third floor. Soak yourself in the breath-taking, unique views of Paris from every floor and experience the incredible ascent by stairway or lift.

There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower; they are activated upon nightfall by the sensors.

  • Time to spend: 2-3 hours (if you plan to go up to the Eiffel Tower)

  • Opening Hours: 9.30 am – 11.45 pm

Again, we did not go up, but we did walk around the Eiffel Tower.

This photo was taken at one of the streets – RUE DE L’UNIVERSITE for insta-worthy photo.

Champs De Mars

The best spot to view the capital’s landmark - Eiffel Tower. This extends from the École Militaire to the Eiffel Tower. Parisians and tourists gather on its expansive lawns to picnic, chill, chit chat and play music. This is also a popular place to watch the city fireworks and light shows from the Eiffel Tower. My colleague and I were here to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

Beware of salesmen who lure naive tourists to buy their overpriced wines. Unless of course, you’re really good at negotiating.

Don’t forget to watch the spectacular light show during nightfall too. Unfortunately, we left before sunset.

  • Time to spend: 1 hour

  • Opening Hours: 24 Hours

  • Price: Free access

Stroll around the city

Paris is best explored on foot. That’s what we did! It leaves you awestruck whether you’re in a tiny neighborhood of shops, historical center or street-side cafes. Stop by a cafe to grab a drink, stop by a bookstore to pick the funniest postcard and get your stamps at a nearby tobacco shop. There is a lot more to do and explore...

P.S: I've posted this on my blog. (https://www.megantsy.com/2018/10/free-things-to-do-in-paris-france.html)

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