Top 10 free things to do in Paris in summer

Paris during the summer is full of surprises! The warm weather puts everyone in a good mood. Even though some of the locals are still working, they are much more relaxed. At the end of they day, everyone gathers in esplanades, hang out with friends, have a few cold drinks and appetizers while enjoying the sunset.

If you’re traveling on a budget and are wondering what are some of the things you can do for free while in Paris in the summer, read on and find out my top 10 free things to do in Paris in summer! You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun, enjoy the city and create great memories. You just need to enjoy the simplest things and what life brings to you. There is no happiness greater than contentment.

Have a nap

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You haven’t experienced the Parisian lifestyle until you’ve taken a nap in one of Paris parks and gardens! Parisians love to meet up with friends in parks. To relax, rest and have a nap in a park is very soothing. It allows us to have a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Plus, it is free! So, it definitely is one of the best 10 free things to do in Paris in summer.

The weather in Paris can get very hot, so the best thing you can do is, for instance, to have lunch and then head to a park or a garden to have a peaceful nap in the shade. I recommend you to read this article to find out and learn about the best spot to have a nap in Paris!

Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral

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Summer in Paris can be a little tough, because it can get very hot! There is one specific landmark I thoroughly enjoy and think it will help you freshen up during the hottest days.

No matter the time of the year, the Notre Dame Cathedral is always a must while in the city of Paris. But visiting this majestic landmark during the summer feels even better than usual. The stone walls of the cathedral keep the place cool.

If you plan on visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, check this article. It will provide you plenty of useful information, such as its history, its opening times, tickets prices for the towers or the treasure of the cathedral, and many more!

Visit a free museum

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Going to Paris without visiting at least one museum would be a crime! Paris has some of the most famous museums in the world, such as the Louvre Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Orsay Museum, the Picasso Museum. Some of them are free during the first sundays of each month, so go for it! Parisians museums are culturally rich, but more than this, they also are the perfect way to cool off during a hot summer day in the city.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you should that there are a few museums that are free the whole year! The Petit Palais, for instance, which is located next to the famous Grand Palais. This little museum is unfairly unpopular due to this proximity. Most tourists and Parisians overlook it! But it’s really a shame because its collections are delightful. Poussin, Doré, Courbet and some Impressionists works are exhibited in the Petit Palais.

Another great free museum is the Modern Art Museum (Musée d’Art Moderne). It contains more than ten thousands artworks and you’re more than welcome to go and discover them! At the museum, you will find paintings of Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Yves Klein. The access to the permanent collections is totally free. While you’re there, take the time to admire the architecture of the Palais de Tokyo.

Go to the Saint Ouen flea market

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Would you like to time travel? If you do, I recommend you to go to a flea market while in Paris, especially Les Puces de Saint-Ouen which is the largest flea market of the city! As you walk through the different stands, you will travel through many periods of time. From furniture to vintage clothing, you will get to see many real treasures.

If you’re into high fashion brands, you will be able to get vintage Chanel purses, Louis Vuitton wallets, Hermes scarves for much cheaper prices than the last models at the official stores. In this flea market, you will find the real deals! These authentic items are sold by antique dealers. Time travel through all the last decades at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen!

You need to be aware, because this flea market is a real maze, so you might have a hard time finding your way through the different stores. You will probably feel more at ease in the company of a local guide. If you’re interested, learn more about our flea market tour here!

Enjoy an open air cinema

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During the summer, as soon as it gets dark, the Parc de la Villette turns into an Open Air Cinema! From July to August, one of the greatest parisian events is happening. Starting at 7 pm, movies in their original language (with French subtitles) will be broadcasted in Parc de la Villette. How cool is that? From classic movies to best releases from recent years, this is a chance to spend a great moment in front of the big screen showing all time high-rated movies. Bring a blanket, a bottle of wine or some popcorns for example. It is an uncommon wonderful way of spending a summer night in Paris! Plus, it’s totally free!

Enjoy music on the streets

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Summer officially starts on June, 21st. On this day, the Music Day also happens! Let me introduce you to the most fun event in Paris: the Music Day! It’s basically a huge party happening all around the city of Paris. If you love music, nice and friendly atmospheres and to spend a great time, you will love this day! There are free concerts all over Paris, bands playing at every corner and Parisians celebrating all day and all night in public places, on the streets, in bars and nightclubs.

Discover Paris hidden gems

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Next on my top 10 free things to do in Paris in summer is to discover Paris hidden gems!

While in Paris, you will obviously visit the main landmarks of the city. But if you can, take the time to discover and explore the hidden gems of Paris and its non-touristy neighborhoods! Walking in Paris is an on-going flow of surprises. Try to visit its secret places, the ones that are not listed in travel guides.

If you want to experience the more authentic aspects of the Parisian culture, history and lifestyle, I suggest you to join our hidden gems tour. I also recommend you an article I think you will like if you enjoy visiting a new city off the beaten track, away from the crowd and touristy places, read it here.

Admire the sun set along the banks of the Seine

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There’s nothing more soothing than watching a pink mauve or an orange sunset on the horizon. Fluffy clouds, bright pinks, luminous orange stripes turn the sky into a real masterpiece. Everyone enjoys the sunset, and as Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, everyone gets captivated and amazed when the sun sets in the horizon behind Paris greatest landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.

One of my favorite places to enjoy the sunset in Paris is along the banks of the Seine, thanks to the reflections on the water. At the end of the day, bring a little snack, a bottle of wine or a pack of beers and admire the landscape in the company of your friends, family or lover. I am sure this moment will be very unique, intimate and romantic – if you’re with your lover.

Visit the 59 rue de Rivoli

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If you are interested in art and Parisian artists, you should go to the 59 rue de Rivoli. This place used to be a squat, but thanks to the increasing popularity of the artists, it is now a building where many artists live and work together and exhibit their works as well! Feel free to visit 59 rue de Rivoli, because it’s totally free! And worth the visit! You will be able to take a close look at the artist’s creations and actually meet them and share your thoughts.

Walk the city and its most lovely neighborhoods

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While in Paris, you will surely walk a lot since there is so much to discover and visit. One of the best things to do in Paris in summer is to walk around its most traditional neighborhoods. These areas are the ones that will enable you to truly experience the Parisian lifestyle and culture. I’m thinking of the Marais and Montmartre, for instance.

If you want the walk to be even more special, join one of our tours. During these tours, a real Parisian will guide you through the neighborhoods, show you the best places and introduce you to the history of these places. These walking tours are the opportunity to experience aspects of the city most travelers miss. Enjoy! I have one last advise for you: while in Paris during the summer, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Always bring a bottle of water, or frequently stop at the many water fountains you will find around the city, which are also free!

My top 10 free things to do in Paris in summer is now over! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that it has inspired you! Feel free to share in the comments your own suggestions, so we can grow as a community! If you’re not sure what to pack for your summer holidays in Paris, read this article that will provide some useful tips! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything. See you soon in Paris!

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