Paris offers beauty, fun for free

by Katie Bell
Ramstein High School

Nowadays it seems so hard to have any fun without spending a fortune. Then again, money isn’t everything. In fact, some tourist attractions can be absolutely free.

Paris, France, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and a lot of its tourist activities are free.

The easiest way to get around Paris is the metro system as it is extremely cheap. One ticket on the metro costs €1.60, but there are several package deals for buying tickets in bulk. A metro station can be found at almost every street corner in the city.

Everyone knows of the Notre Dame Cathedral from the children’s classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Along with being very old and very pretty, entry to this church is also free, and with its stained glass windows, towering pillars and gargoyles, a person could spend hours exploring. The cathedral is located right alongside the Seine River with its shops, restaurants and music from the street performers.

Another great sight is the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. Construction for the church began in 1875 and the church is now an interpretation of Byzantine architecture that was extremely unusual and ahead of its time when it was being built. The tallest dome of this basilica is the second highest viewpoint in all of Paris, trumped only by the Eiffel Tower.

One of the most widely known tourist attractions in Paris is the Louvre. This famous museum has many excellent works of art, a few of which are the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Coustou’s Horses of Marley. Although this museum may not be free every day, it still offers some good deals. Anyone under 18 can get in free any day of the week. The Louvre is free to everyone on the first Sunday of every month, so if you don’t mind a crowd, that would be the day to go. Regular admission can be anywhere from €6 to €14, depending on the day, time and what you want to see. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Now, the main event: the Eiffel Tower. The best way to get to the Eiffel Tower is to walk from the Louvre. Take a stroll through the gardens along the Champs Elysées with the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. The best time to see the tower is at night, when it’s all lit up. After all, Paris is “The City of Light.” It may be expensive to ascend the Eiffel Tower, but it doesn’t cost anything to stand under it. Under the tower there are all kinds of different street vendors selling souvenirs, paintings and crepes. It may seem frivolous, but eating a crepe under the Eiffel Tower will really make you feel like you got the true Paris experience.

Paris doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, once in the city it can actually be pretty cheap. Now all you have to do is get there.