9 Free Family-Friendly Attractions in Paris, France
It’s no secret that Paris, France is one expensive destination. Here’s a list of 9 free family-friendly attractions in Paris to help stretch those vacation Euros. That’s right, these won’t cost you thing!
9 Free Things to do in Paris, France with Kids
1. People Watch at the Rue Mouffetard Market
In his novel, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway described Rue Mouffetard as a “wonderful, narrow crowded market street.” The description is apt. The bustling morning market fills the lower half of the street daily. Crammed with colorful stalls of gourmet goods, assorted cheeses and baked items, it’s a treat for the senses. Wander the cobblestone street and watch as the bartering begins. This not a Farmer’s Market like you’ll find in the U.S. Historians have traced the origins of this market back to at least 1350 AD.
2. Take a Walk in Père Lachaise Cemetery
It’s not as spooky as it sounds. In fact, it’s a unique history lesson. The tree lined avenues of Père Lachaise Cemetery have famous residents your kids should know about. Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Chopin are all buried there. Literary greats like Proust and Balzac are also interned in the cemetery. Doors front man Jim Morrison’s grave is quite a sight. The inspiration for many pilgrimages by devoted fans, it is barricaded for protection but it’s still festooned with many mementos and items visitors leave behind.
3. Snap Some Stunning Selfies
Make your way to the roofs of the iconic Printemps or Galaries Lafayette department stores for rooftop selfies that include the magnificent old Opera district as a back drop. Both rooftops are open to the public. As an added bonus, you can get a closer look at the amazing stained glass dome on the roof of Galaries Lafayette.
4. See the Statue of Liberty
Yes, there is one in Paris too! You’ll find the French version of Lady Liberty on the Île aux Cygnes (Swan Island), not far from the Eiffel Tower. She’s smaller than the one in New York but just as symbolic. Enter the island from the middle of Pot Bir Hakeim, then follow the gravel path to end then continue underneath the bridge.
5. Check Out Madame Curie’s Lab
Located in the Institut Radium, Musée Curie houses the physics and chemistry labs run by Marie Curie. She was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize; she is the only person to win the award in two different fields, physics and chemistry! Trace her pioneering work in radioactivity, check out instruments she used in experiments that produced the world’s first artificial radio-elements, and see her Nobel prizes. The experience is far reaching and educational, even today! After all, the efforts of Marie Curie and her husband Pierre lead to the discovery of polonium and radium and the further development of X-rays.
6. Visit a Royal Garden
Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries is not only one of the loveliest walks in Paris, it also holds a rich history. Stroll the manicured rows of trees and gravel paths set out in its current format when landscape designer André Le Nôtre reworked the garden for Louis XIV in 1664. Enjoy views of the Louvre, the Obélisque and the Arc de Triomphe as you walk. Originally the royal gardens of the Tuileries Palace, they became a public park after the palace burned to the ground in 1871.
7. See Where Les Misérables Was Written
Much of Victor Hugo’s five-part novel the world has come to know as the musical many refer to as Les Mis was written in his second floor apartment at the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée. Located in Le Marais neighborhood, a tour of Maison de Victor Hugo includes displays of his furniture and memorabilia.
8. Visit the Basilique du Sacré Coeur
This magnificent white marble church sits atop the Montmarte District, an area where artists like Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh once had studios. The climb to it may leave you breathless but not much as the sweeping city views you’ll spot from Sacré Coeur’s front step! Explore the interior; you simply have to see its amazing stained glass windows, gold mosaics, and striking statues. If you’re lucky, as my family was, you may even be treated to a heavenly concert from a choir of nuns! Note: While visiting the basilique is free, there a charge for ascending into the dome or exploring the crypt.
9. Stop in on a Famous French Novelist
If you’ve followed this list through, you’ve already stopped by his grave at Père Lachaise. You can visit Maison de Balzac, the last famous Parisian novelist’s house to exist today! Located in the old Passy village in the 16th arrondissement, this is where Balzac wrote La Comédie Humaine.
You may also enjoy:
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- 6 Fun Things to do in Paris for Teenagers
- See all of our Hilton hotels in Paris, France
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Know Before You Go
- The Jardin des Plantes is the most popular garden in France, housing over 200 species of plants. The garden also has a zoo that is open daily.
- There is another Statue of Liberty on the Ile aux Cygnes (also known as Swan Lake).
- The Pere Lachaise Cemetery holds the graves of the famous Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Frederic Chopin. A stroll through this cemetery is a nice free escape from the chaos of the city.