Paris may seem like an expensive city, but it's possible to find free concerts, museums, and walking tours if you look beyond the obvious landmarks.
Paris Zero Euro is the brainchild of author and editor Jacques Seidmann. Check out the website (www.paris0euro.fr) or order the Paris 0€ guidebook. Both are in French, but you can use Google Translate for the site. In the book, you won't have trouble figuring out words such as concerts, musées (museums), sports, and internet.
To get you started, here are some of the best free activities and attractions in Paris:
No matter what your taste in music -- jazz, rock, world, or classical -- you can hear it for free. In the cafes and bars, there's often a one-drink minimum. That's not the case in churches, town halls, and other interesting locations.
J4ZZ - Mairie du 4e (2 place Baudoyer; tel. 01/44-54-75-04; www.mairie4.paris.fr; 4th arrondissement, Metro: Hotel de Ville or St Paul)
On the last Thursday each month at 8pm, hear great free jazz at the Town Hall in the 4th arrondissement, presented by Laboratoire de la Création (www.laboratoiredelacreation.org). Concerts are held in the "Salle des Fêtes" room, Staircase A, 2nd Floor.
"D'une Rive à l'Autre" Concerts - Petit Palais (Ave. Winston Churchill; tel. 01/53-43-40-00; www.concertsdunerivealautre.com; 8th arrondissement, Metro: Champs-Élysées-Clémenceau)
Every Thursday at 12:30pm from October to May, free classical, pop, and jazz concerts are presented by Radio France in the Auditorium at the Petit Palais-Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris. Line up for complimentary tickets at least an hour in advance.
Piano Concerts - Pianos Pleyel (252 bis, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; tel. 01/45-61-53-00; www.pleyel.fr; 8th arrondissement)
On the first Thursday of each month at 7:30pm, enjoy delightful classical piano concerts in Pleyel's showroom. (Reservations are required, call or e-mail: email@example.com).
Free Museum Visits
Paris Municipal Museums: Entrance is always free at all of Paris' municipal museums (www.paris.fr). My personal favorites are: Musée Carnavalet (www.carnavalet.paris.fr) and Maison de Balzac (www.balzac.paris.fr).
Paris National Museums: On the first Sunday of every month, there's free admission to all of Paris' national museums (www.en.parisinfo.com). Among many others, that means: the Louvre (www.louvre.fr); Musée d'Orsay (www.musee-orsay.fr); and the Quai Branly (www.quaibranly.fr). Get there first thing in the morning; lines tend to form around the block.
Anyone 18 years old and younger (26 or under from an EU country) gets in free every day and also on a "late night" -- Thursdays at Musée d'Orsay; Fridays at the Louvre; and Saturdays at Quai Branly.
Free Sightseeing Tours
Free Walking Tour - Sandeman's (www.newparistours.com) Daily, 11am & 1pm
This three-hour walking tour (in English or Spanish) covers the main historic sites of central Paris. It meets in front of the fountain at Place Saint-Michel (6th arrondissement, Metro: Saint-Michel) and ends at the Grand Palais, just off the Champs-Élysées. Look for guides wearing red "New Europe" T-shirts. No need for a reservation; just show up early.
Free Self-Guided Tours - The Paris Heritage Strolls (www.paris.fr)
The Mayor of Paris has a gift for tourists -- six fascinating walks that will enhance your knowledge of the history of the city. Go to the website to view online or print out the itineraries (in English).
Pass Paris Wi-Fi (www.paris.fr)
There are now some 400 Wi-Fi Hotspots throughout Paris in parks, gardens, libraries, and some museums. The tricky part is figuring out how to log on:
Step 1: Look for a Wi-Fi Zone sign, white with purple dots
Step 2: On your laptop or other device, select "connect to network" (se connecter au réseau) and choose the Wi-Fi Orange network
Step 3: Once connected, open a browser and type in any URL
Step 4: A log-in page should appear; click on Sélectionnez Votre Pass
Step 5: Fill in your last name (nom), first name (prénom) and e-mail; accept the conditions and click me connecter
Step 6: You should get a confirmation message for a two-hour session (when the time expires, just reconnect). The service is available from 7am-11pm.
If that doesn't work, simply head to the nearest McDonald's for free Wi-Fi (pronounced wee-fee) internet access.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our France Forum.
Check out our Free Sightseeing Tours in New York City story for more money-saving tips.