Let’s get real for a second. Is anything in life really free? Love and laughter perhaps. However, day to day living expenses are unavoidable. It’s like I said in the title, an almost free day in Paris. You will need money for transport (I recommend using the metro), food and a tip for your tour guide. Other than that, put on a comfortable pair of shoes (you will be walking a lot today), keep your camera handy and enjoy the iconic sights of The City of Light in the next twelve hours.
9h00 – Notre Dame
Start your day at the Notre Dame, the most famous cathedral in Paris (Metro stop: St-Michel Notre Dame). Marvel at the intricate gothic architecture. The best views of the Notre Dame can be found from across the river.
Be sure to go inside the church, it’s completely free. If there is a queue to get inside, don’t be alarmed. It usually moves quickly.
Make your way to the starting point of your free tour of Paris, the fountain at Place St Michel, a short walk from the Notre Dame.
10h00 – Free tour of Paris
Start your free tour of Paris! (I recommend using New Europe Tours and booking your ticket ahead of time on the website). Hear the fascinating history of Paris as you walk along the banks of the Seine River, crossing many bridges, including the Pont des Arts.
Along the way you will get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Stop for coffee and lunch and keep your ears open for valuable tips from your tour guide. Make your way to The Louvre and walk underneath the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The tour concludes at the Luxor Obelisk. The duration is approximately 3 to 4 hours.
14h00 – Arc de Triomphe
Take a leisurely stroll in the shade of the Horse-Chestnut Trees that line the Champs-Elysees. Slowly make your way toward The Arc de Triomphe. Snap away from every angle as the traffic swirls around the arch.
16h00 – Sacre-Coeur
Take the blue metro line from the Arc de Triomphe (Metro stop: Charles de Gaulle Etoile) to the Sacre-Coeur (Metro stop: Anvers). This is the place to be at dusk (the timing here will differ depending on which season you visit Paris).
Get a crepe and something to drink, grab a seat on the steps in front the Sacre-Coeur and enjoy the incredible view as the sun sets over Paris. There will be loads of people but the atmosphere is amazing.
Make your way up the steps to the Sacre-Coeur and be sure to explore the inside of this beautiful church (entrance is free).
This is the starting point as you explore Montmartre (my personal favourite neighbourhood in Paris). Within walking distance from the church you can find Clos Montmartre, the only remaining and functioning vineyard left in Paris (350 m, 5 min walk), Le Moulin de la Galette, the last standing windmill in Montmartre (550 m, 8 min walk) and Van Gogh House (850 m, 13 min walk).
As you make your way down the hill, pass Cafe des Deux Moulins (the Amelie cafe) just around the corner of the Moulin Rouge!
Make your way to the symbol of Paris! Timing here is very crucial. Take the blue metro line from the Moulin Rouge (Metro stop: Blanche) to Charles de Gaulle Etoile (the same station as earlier today). Change to the green line and travel to the Eiffel Tower (Metro stop: Bir-Hakeim). Walk 750 m (9 min) to the Eiffel Tower. The journey from the Moulin Rouge to the Eiffel Tower takes approximately 35 min and you want to make sure that you arrive exactly on the hour.
20h00 – Eiffel Tower
Although the tower is illuminated at night, every hour on the hour until 01h00 in the morning, there is a light show that lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.
Enjoy the spectacular light show at the Eiffel Tower and have your camera ready to capture the moment.
This is the end of your almost free day in Paris!