Free Things to do in Paris on Your Birthday
Birthdays in Paris… but make it budget!
Most of the major public landmarks around Paris are free for public viewing. Not to mention all of the parks and plazas that are also free of charge to enjoy.
In attempt to keep things “off the beaten track” as they say, let’s look at a few alternative free activities one can enjoy in Paris on their birthday. Try remember that at the end of the day, you’re celebrating a birthday in one of the most beautiful cities in the world — that in itself is priceless.
Swim in the Bassin de la Villette in Paris
The Bassin de la Villette is the largest artificial lake in all of Paris. It was constructed and filled with water many, many years ago back in 1808.
It was only recently, however, that the City of Paris constructed actual pools within the lake so that the public could make use of safe swimming facilities within the water. There are two giant suspended concrete pools placed next to one another that are absolutely free for the public to enjoy.
Pack your towel and pool toys and head through to the Bassin de la Villette for a day in the sun. Of course this birthday excursions depends largely on the weather of the day — and those born in winter will unfortunately not be able to take advantage of these facilities.
You’ll find it in the north of Paris, near the 18th arrondissement just east of Montmartre. I recommend taking the metro all the way up to the Laumière stop and climbing off here. This stop is closest to where the pools are situated on the water.
Enjoy a Free Seine Boat Cruise With Vedettes de Paris in Paris
A boat cruise down the Seine is one of the most magnificent ways to explore the city of Paris without the use of a car or your feet . Sit back, relax and watch the world quite literally float by.
The boating company Vedettes de Paris offer a generous birthday special to all patrons. On your day of birth, your boat ride with them is absolutely free.
The tour begins at the Eiffel Tower and will make its way down through the rest of the city from here. In addition to riding for free, you will also be offered your choice of a glass of wine or champagne, or a French pancake or other sweet treat.
You can book in advance or show up on the day. Be sure to bring some sort of identification to prove you are in fact turning another year older. Anyone who would like to accompany you on the experience will need to purchase a ticket for €20.
Visit the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in Paris
11 Avenue du Président Wilson
Museum lovers who find themselves in the city of Paris over their birthdays should be able to enjoy that exact thing that they love most. Luckily the city caters to museum lovers who may not have the admission fee to spare despite their love for the arts.
The Paris Museum of Modern Art is situated on the Right Bank somewhat across from the Eiffel Tower. It actually forms part of the eastern wing of the Palais de Tokyo, however this venue is not free to enter so head straight to the museum instead.
The Museum of Modern Art is divided into permanent and temporary collections. The permanent collections are the ones that are free to visit, whether it’s your birthday or not.
Why I enjoy this particular permanent collection at this particular museum is because the exhibit is so extensive it takes a good two hours to properly work through. In Paris, this is somewhat unheard of for a free exhibit — they usually last just a few minutes.
The artwork is composed mostly of pieces from the 20th century and is highly enjoyable to view, even if you aren’t entirely sure what it going on. No need to worry about guided tours or information headsets in this museum.
Just take note that this museum is closed on Mondays — sorry if your birthday falls here!
Picnic in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris
1 Rue Botzaris
The Buttes-Chaumont park in Paris marks the center of the 19th arrondissement of the city. At present, most free guided walking tours make their way through the 18th, and you can easily head directly into the 19th by foot upon completion.
A birthday picnic is a cliche of its own in Paris, I know. But the Buttes-Chaumont park is so vastly different to every other picnic spot in the city that it seems most fit for a memorable birthday.
I actually really dislike trying to put the beauty of the Buttes-Chaumont into words. For starters, there is a lake… with a waterfall.. and a cliffside… with an iron railway bridge… and the most beautiful trees you can imagine… and wildlife everywhere… rolling hills… a panoramic view over Paris…
Let’s leave it at that. Entry into the park is free, you will only need to bring along your picnic goods to sustain you through the day. The park is open until 9pm every day of the week, a sunset here is highly recommended.
Get a Free Haircut on Your Birthday in Paris
01 43 46 05 00
I only recently found out about this fabulous offer in Paris. Turns out you can have your hair cut and styled absolutely free through the Franck de Roche Académie of Paris.
This hair styling college needs subjects on which to perfect the various techniques that come with cutting and styling hair. You are essentially volunteering to be one, but you’ll receive salon quality treatment.
You’ll need to call the number listed above to set your appointment date and then head over to the Franck de Roche Académie website to print out the “coupe coiffage gratuit” coupon — be sure to take it with you on the day.