Sights that are sometimes free—often on the first Sunday of the month—in Paris

Free in Paris:
Always free
Sometimes Free
Churches

Parks
Markets

From the Louvre to the Pompidou, the Rodin Museum to the Picasso Museum to the Musée d'Orsay, dozens of Paris's top sights are free of charge—you just have to know when to go.

Many waive admission charges on the first Sunday of the month; others are free only in winter. Here's a cheat sheet on how (or, rather, when) to get into the biggies for free. 

Free on the first Sunday of each month

Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum★★★ The Louvre — Quite simply one of the world's greatest museums, from ancient statuary—much more than just the armless Venus de Milo—to Renaissance paintings—Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is but the beginning... » more

Musée d'Orsay - Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles★★★ Musée d'Orsay — French art from 18th to early 20th centuries in a converted rail station; this includes the world's greatest and largest collection of those crowd-pleasin' Impressionists and post-Impressionists, like Monet, Degas, and Renoir... » more

The George Pompidou Museum★★ Centre Georges Pompidou (Pompidou Museum) — A stellar collection of modern art in a giant building that must have looked cutting edge in the 1970s and bears a striking resemblance to a hamster's Habitrail set... » more

Unicorn tapestry at the Musée de Cluny, Paris Musée National du Moyen Ages - Thermes de Cluny - This museum to the Middle Ages in Paris—including the famous medieval "Lady and the Uncorn" tapestries—is partially installed in the city's ancient Roman baths... » more

Musée Picasso, Paris★★ Musée Picasso[CLOSED UNITL SUMMER 2013] A charming mix of the great artist's works and personal effects—even the master's paint-spattered chair... » more

Musée Rodin, Paris★★ Rodin Museum — The sculptor's studio and home, the house and its surrounding gardens filled with his greatest masterpieces... » more

Monet's Waterlillies in the Orangerie Museum, Paris Musée de l'Orangerie — One of my favorite hidden sights in Paris, packed with Impressionists paintings and preserving in its basement two rooms fitted with 360 degrees of Monet waterlillies... » more

Musée du quai Branly — Combining the old Museum of African and Oceanic Arts with indigenous cultural collections from Asia and the Americas, this ethnographic museum that opened in 2006 near the Eiffel Tower offers a nice break from the wall-to-wall European art, architecture, and history that you are subjected to by almost every other Paris institution. (www.quaibranly.fr)

Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet — One of Europe's greatest collections of Asian art make for a nice break from all those Western masterpieces. (www.museeguimet.fr)

Musée National Eugene Delacroix — A museum devoted to the works of 19th-century Romantic master Delacroix in his former studio and home (www.musee-delacroix.fr)

Musée Gustave Moreau —Museum devoted to a frankly forgettable 19th-century symbolist painter. Still, if you're into it, the place is free this one day a month. (www.parisinfo.com)

Musée de l'Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris — Celebrating the glories of French medical care, from the Middle Ages to modern socialized medicine in a 17th century mansion, with a courtyard garden of medicinal plants. (www.aphp.fr/site/histoire/musee.htm)

Musée des Plans relief — One of the collections within Les Invalides, this is a weirdly delightful gathering of teensy models—at 1/600th scale—of fortified towns and palaces from the 17th to 19th centuries. (www.parisinfo.com)

Château de Fontainebleau — Not in Paris, technically, but this is one of the best châteaux in the surrounding region and well worth a day trip... » more

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