Paris is always a good idea they say and it’s true, it’s never the wrong time to go. Every season is different and every month is special. Autumn is a time to enjoy warm sunny days and wrap up for chilly nights to drink hot chocolate on a terrace and something stronger in a cosy bar. It’s a time where there are loads of exhibitions on for those indoor days. But being in Paris in autumn doesn’t need to cost a fortune. These five free things to do in the city are brilliant – from a glass of Champagne on your birthday to all night art festivals and more…
Free Champagne and a boat ride on your birthday
If you’re in Paris on your birthday, head for the Vedettes de Paris who run sightseeing boat trips on the Seine. They’re based at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and if it’s your special day, show them your passport or ID as proof. In return they’ll offer you a free sightseeing ride and a glass of Champagne or a pancake and soft drink. I promise it’s true – Bon Anniversaire in Paris as you enjoy the autumn colours of the trees while you drift along the Seine! Of course this is available all year round. Website: www.vedettesdeparis.fr
Arty-party all-nighter – Nuit Blanche
For one night only at the beginning of October each year Paris becomes an open-air museum. There is nothing quite like this truly astonishing night of art, culture and surprises. As dusk falls, the city springs to life as an extravaganza of luminous installations and sensory experiences astonish audiences. The deliciously deranged art fest that is Nuit Blanche hands the city over to contemporary artists. It’s their chance to reimagine its streets and buildings and the public are invited to join in. This is an exceptional night of art that will thrill, provoke and amaze from dusk to dawn.
European Heritage Days
Every mid-September, France joins in with the European-wide Heritage Days initiative. In Paris this sees monuments, museums, sites and public buildings such as the Palais Royal (above) open their doors for free to the public, It’s a spectacular weekend of celebrating the city’s heritage. Join in free workshops, guided tours and behind the scenes visits galore – this is an unmissable Paris cultural event.
The fabulous Paris Wine Festival
Each October the Fête des vendanges de Montmartre celebrates the art of food and wine. It’s one of the most popular events with Parisians. You’ll enjoy dozens of free concerts, exhibitions, parades and tastings in the heart of the city. There’s even a quirky “singles” event in which single-dom is celebrated. It’s called a non-marriage ceremony and couples may state their love and be declared engaged for eternity.
Museums free on first Sunday of the month
Around 20 out of the 200 or so museums in Paris are free all year round. Many more on the first Sunday of the month and even more, including the world’s favourite museum – the Louvre, from 1 October to spring.
Enjoy Autumn in Paris!
More on Paris
5 Brilliant free museums in Paris
3 tips to discover authentic Paris on a budget
Top ten Paris visits
Rue Mouffetard, the oldest street in Paris
More things to do in France at uk.france.fr