For the closing afternoon of our Live & Invest in France Conference this week, we invited our daughter, Kaitlin Yent, 21, who lived in Paris for four years and graduated high school here, to introduce our assembled group to some of the fun things you can do in this city at no cost.
Living here as students, Kaitlin and her friends were motivated to seek out every opportunity to make the most of their Paris experience…while operating on student budgets.
As Kaitlin explained to our group Friday afternoon, she and her friends learned that you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a big experience in the City of Light. Sometimes, you don’t even have to spend a little. Some of the best experiences this city has to offer come absolutely free.
For example, Kaitlin explained…
- One day every month and every Bastille Day, most all museums in Paris offer free admission. Every Wednesday, for example, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie (5-7 rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris; tel. 01-44-78-75-00) and La Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (2 impasse Lebouis, 75014 Paris; tel. 01-56-80-27-00) offer free evening admission.
- Every Thursday, galleries in the 3rd, 7th, and 8th arrondissements offer vernissages–that is, free openings with wine. Often, you can often meet the artist or the gallery owner.
- Right now through the end of August, Paris Plage, the beach built from sand trucked to Paris and deposited along the bank of the Seine in the 4th arrondissement, offers free access to riverside fun, live music, games, even free water aerobics (not in the river but in the public swimming pool that’s part of the annual Paris Plage venue).
- You can take a free guided tour of the Fragonard Perfume Museum (Le Musee du Parfum), housed in a Napolean III townhouse.
- Galleries Lafayette, one of this city’s grands magasins, offers free fashion shows every Friday at 3 p.m.
- Several restaurants in the city provide complimentary plates of food when you can order cocktails. In the 11th arrondissement, La Cordonnerie (142 rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris; tel. 01-40-28-95-35) offers couscous with your drinks every Thursday and Saturday starting at 8.30 p.m. In the 10th arrondissement, the Tribal Café (3 cour des Petites-Ecuries, 75010 Paris; tel. 01-47-70-57- 08), one of the pioneers of this “formule,” serves fried mussels every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 p.m. on, and couscous Friday and Saturday nights.
- Meantime, wineries around the city offer free tastings in the hopes that you will be tempted to buy bottles of your favorites to take home with you. The prestigious Caves Taillevent (199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris; tel. 01-45-61- 14-09) gives tastings every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché, (38 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris; tel. 01-44-39-81-00) does tastings Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and almost every day during the annual wine festivals; and Petits Bouchons (105 rue Cambronne, 75015 Paris; tel. 01-47-34-89-31) organizes tastings practically every weekend, often with the wine makers themselves.