Free Things To Do In Paris During The French Open

We have selected six free things you can do in the "City of Light" this summer
The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
The Arc de Triomphe de l'ÉtoileEric Isselee/

The French Open ends on June 9 and tennis fever will soon give way to Olympics fever. Known as the “City of Light,” Paris is renowned for its museums, architecture, art, fashion, sports culture, music and food scene, among other things. It is home to several United Nations agencies and international bodies, marking it as a truly global city.

If you’re in town for the next few months, here are six free things to do in Paris.

Watch The Eiffel Tower Light Show

The Eiffel Tower sparkling at night during the hourly light show
The Eiffel Tower sparkling at night during the hourly light showTourEiffel/Facebook

Every evening, the famous Eiffel Tower adorns itself in gold and sparkles for the first five minutes of every hour. The structure’s beacon is lit and starts to rotate at the same time as the golden lighting. This is followed by the lighting of the sparkles. The show takes place once night falls. For instance, if it gets dark by 8:30PM then the lights will turn on during the ten minutes that follow and the first sparkles will take place at 9PM. The final light show is at 11PM.

The best place to see the light show is at Champ de Mars with its lovely lawns and flowers. Bring a blanket, snacks and drinks, and make a picnic of this experience.

Tour the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre

Inside the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre
Inside the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de MontmartreBeautiful landscape/

The Sacred Heart of Montmarte is a 19th-century building with ornate ivory domes that soar into the sky. The basilica's interior glitters with France's largest mosaic depicting Jesus Christ alongside the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc. Take a stroll through the chapels to admire the mosaics and glass-stained windows. Light a candle if you wish and climb up to the dome to enjoy an amazing view of Paris.

The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre is open from 6:30AM-10:30PM.

Stroll Through Paris’s Largest Cemetery

The Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise CemeteryHeracles Kritikos/

The Père Lachaise Cemetery is Paris’s largest and the most-visited cemetery in the world. It opened in 1804 and is the final resting place of many French and international luminaries such as Colette, Frédéric Chopin, Édith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Marcel Marceau, Olivia de Havilland, Oscar Wilde, J. R. D. Tata and Jim Morrison. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a camera and water as you stroll through its gardens and tombs.

Opening hours are 8AM-6PM Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the Père Lachaise Cemetery is open from 9AM-6PM.

Smell The Flowers Of The Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des TuileriesLena Ivanova/

Situated between the iconic Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden opened to the public in 1667 and has since become a favourite place for Parisians to celebrate, meet, stroll and relax in. There are many zones for visitors to walk through like the Grand Carré, which has ponds and embroidery-like garden beds outlined by low boxwood hedges; the Grand Couvert which is a shady, wooded part; and the Octogone, an open area surrounding the octagonal Grand Bassin and the horseshoe-shaped ramps that lead to the terraces.

The Tuileries Garden is also decorated with statues and vases from the 18th century. Many of its groves are home to sculptures loaned by museums of modern and contemporary art including the likes of Antoine Coysevox, Auguste Rodin and Louise Bourgeois.

The Jardin des Tuileries is open from 7AM-9PM.

Visit Museums

At the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris
At the Musée d'Art Moderne de ParisMAMParis/Facebook

Paris is home to plenty of free-to-enter museums like the Maison de Victor Hugo, the writer’s residence turned museum where he lived for 16 years from 1832 to 1848. The Musée Cognacq-Jay contains an exceptional collection of fine art and decorative items from 18th century France like jewels and snuffboxes to paintings by Louis-Léopold Boilly, François Boucher, Jean-Siméon Chardin and Maurice Quentin de La Tour. The Petit Palais houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts, and has paintings and sculptures by Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Oscar-Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, among others. Don’t miss a trip to the Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris which is dedicated to modern and contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Walk Along The Seine

The Seine
The SeineBeautiful landscape/

One of the most famous rivers in the world, the Seine is an attraction unto itself. It flows from east to west, dividing the city into left and right banks. In 1991, the Seine River was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural significance. Take a walk along its banks where you will find Parisians selling local goods like books and handmade art. Cross its 37 bridges (like the Pont Alexandre III) and take postcard-worthy photos of Paris.  

Getting There

There are direct flights to Charles de Gaulle Airport from Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi.

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