*If you’re under 26!
Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities with an endless list of stunning attractions and delicious cuisine. And it’s so easy to reach, with the Eurostar and plenty of cheap flights to Paris from the UK. What could make it any better? Well, I’ll tell you. If you’re under 26 years old and from the EU, you can get into lots of museums and monuments for free!
You should definitely pay these places a visit however old you are, because what are a few euros when it comes to seeing some of the most beautiful art and architecture in the world? If you can get in for free though, bonus! That’s why I’m spreading the word to our readers rather than being bitter about my advancing years. Go forth, youngsters, and get some Parisian culture!
Here are just some of the places you can experience absolutely free.
With over 8 million visitors every year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. Located on the Right Bank of the Seine, it’s one of Paris’s central landmarks and is well worth a visit. It’s famous for housing Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but that’s just one of the 35,000 or so works on display. Art lovers will be interested to know that a second museum has just opened in the northern village of Lens, not far from Lille, with the catchy name of Louvre-Lens. You can find out more on their website.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe, one of France’s best-known landmarks, lies at Place Charles de Gaulle at the top of the Champs-Elysées. It’s a symbol of the nation, honouring France’s war dead and linking old and new Paris, standing on the highest point of the line between the Louvre and the Grande Arche de la Défense. Be extra careful crossing the road though; there’s an urban myth that no car insurance companies will cover driving around the Arc, because of the sheer number of collisions. Faites attention!
You just can’t go to Paris without seeing Notre Dame de Paris. It’s among the largest and most well-known churches ever built, and is widely considered one of the world’s finest examples of French Gothic architecture. After exploring the main part of the cathedral, visitors can climb to the top of the two towers, home of the Hunchback, for breathtaking views over Paris.
The Musée d’Orsay is housed in the former railway station Gare d’Orsay and still features the original station clocks. It holds the world’s most extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art by artists such as Monet, Degas, Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh and many more. The view from the upper galleries is incredible; on a good day you can even see the Sacré Coeur.
© ilker canikligil
The Panthéon is a stunning neoclassical building with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. Formerly a church, it is now where a large number of distinguished French citizens are buried, such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Pierre and Marie Curie. It can be found in Paris’s Latin Quarter, where you’ll never be short of things to do. The area is home to several universities including the Sorbonne, and contains no end of bistros, cafés and bars full of students and general merry-makers.
© Jerric Ramos
The Sainte-Chapelle is an amazing sight inside and out. It’s a beautiful example of Gothic architecture and has one of the most extensive collections of thirteenth-century stained glass anywhere in the world. You can find it on the Ile de la Cité in the middle of the Seine. Though from the outside it’s slightly dwarfed by its neighbours Notre Dame de Paris and the Palais de Justice buildings, it’s a real jewel that’s not to be missed.
© Stefan Ataman
Did you know that in a corner of the public Tuileries Gardens sits a gallery with an amazing collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings? The Musée de l’Orangerie is most famous for housing Monet’s Water Lilies murals, but there is also an impressive display of works by Cézanne, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and many more. You can find it between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, the biggest public square in Paris.
© Zoran Karapancev
The Musée Rodin (not be confused with the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia) houses the world’s most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin’s works of art. Though it’s in the centre of Paris, it’s surrounded by vast, beautiful gardens that display some of the 6,600 sculptures in the collection. There are even some sculptures on the platform of the nearby Varenne Métro stop! The museum is very popular, welcoming 700,000 visitors every year, and it’s easy to see why.
© Corepics VOF
The Centre Georges Pompidou was built in the 1970s in a high-tech architectural style and has been incredibly popular ever since, with over 150 million visitors since it opened. Inside you’ll find the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the largest modern art museum in Europe, as well as a huge public library and a music research centre. Modern architecture is rare in Paris so this is one building you really shouldn’t miss.
You can find a full list of these museums and monuments here.