• Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011
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Top 20 free things to do in France

Paris: Walk across the Pont des Arts

Nice: Climb up Castle Hill

Top 20 free things to do in FranceCastle Hill or Colline du Chateau is one of Nice’s top free attractions and a great place for breath-taking views of the area. The hike up the side of Castle Hill is a great way to take in all this attraction has to offer. There’s an old cemetery, castle ruins, a manmade waterfall and a beautiful square at the top where you can take in some spectacular views. The climb is well worth it just don’t forget your camera.


Cannes: Visit the Église Orthodoxe Russe St-Michel-Archange

Top 20 free things to do in FranceYou will not fail to recognise this beautiful Russian Orthodox Church in Cannes due to its very distinctive blue onion-shaped dome that takes pride of place at the top of it. The Église Orthodoxe Russe St-Michel-Archange is a reminder of the heavy Russian influence that used to be prominent in Cannes.


Lourdes: Check out the famous Lourdes Grotto

Reims: See the Basilique Saint-Remi de Reims


Strasbourg: Explore La Petite France

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThis popular area of Strasbourg is a popular attraction for visitors to Strasbourg. Here you will find the Île River split into a number of canals as well as half-timbered houses. It really is a popular tourist area so you will also find a number of restaurants and souvenir shop in the area of Petite France.


Toulouse: Visit Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThis stunning French cathedral was constructed over five centuries – from the 13th to the 17th century resulting in the architecture of the church being a mix of many tastes and eras. Two of the most prominent styles you can see in the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse are a southern gothic style alongside a northern French gothic design. A visit to the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Toulouse is a great free thing to do in Toulouse and make sure to check out the beautiful stained glass windows, paintings and fantastic suspended organ.

Montpellier: Get outdoors with the Promenade du Peyrou

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThis elevated park dates back to 17th century and lies across two levels. It’s the perfect place to go for some amazing views of the Montpellier scenery. Promenade du Peyrou is where you will find an equestrian statue of Louis XIV, which dates back to 1828 and at the western end of the terraces is a water-tower. This water tower leads to a huge aqueduct. On either side of the water tower there are steps which will bring you to the Boulevard des Arceaux where a market is held.


Lyon: Visit Parc de la Tête d’Or

Top 20 free things to do in FranceLyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or or Park of the Golden Head is a beautiful urban park. Here you will find an amazing large lake where you can take a boat out during the summer.  On a good day in Lyon you will find this park full of locals and tourists to the area. In the Parc de la Tête d’Or you will also find a small zoo, the botanical gardens and sporting areas.



Carcassonne: Learn about the Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThis Medieval City dates from pre-Roman times and is recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. A visit here is a great free thing to do in Carcassonne as you can access this site and see this amazing example of a medieval fortified town.


Biarritz: Sunbath on La Grande Plage

Top 20 free things to do in FranceBiarritz is known as a prestigious beach-side resort as well as a popular French surfing paradise. This beautiful French coastal resort is the ideal French destination to relax by the sea in. The most popular Biarritz beach is La Grande Plage and if you get a sunny day in Biarritz there really is no better way to spend it than on La Grande Plage.


Bordeaux: Check out the Museum of Aquitaine

Top 20 free things to do in FranceYou can access the permanent collection of the Museum of Aquitaine in Bordeaux for free and get to see an amazing collection of work depicting the history, archaeology and more of the region.  The museum is laid out over four levels and includes objects ranging from the locality as well as further afield including Africa.

Lille: Explore the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (Lille Palace of Fine Arts

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThis Lille museum is regarded as one of the most important, as well as largest museum in France after the Louvre. The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille dates back to the beginning of the 19th century and offer free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Here you can view works of art from artists such as Goya and Donatello.


Perpignan: Take in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist of Perpignan

Top 20 free things to do in FranceIn the heart of Perpignan you will find the Cathédrale de Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Perpignan. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built over two centuries and was built in a Catalan Gothic style. The cathedral is spectacular to look at both inside and out.


Paris: See the glow of the City of Lights

Top 20 free things to do in FranceParis is often referred to as the City of Lights and in order to fully appreciate this title you need to check out Paris in the dark. When night descends on Paris a great free thing to do is to walk around the city taking in some of the top attractions. All of Paris’ top attraction are lit up at night time and look even more breath-taking. Make sure you take in The Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and of course the Eiffel Tower and its spectacular light show.


Nice: Walk along the Promenade des Anglais

Marseille: Visit the Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde

Top 20 free things to do in FranceMany people will remark that the best thing to do in Marseille is to just walk around the city and soak up the atmosphere. There are lots of great attractions in Marseille but one that you will notice as you stroll through this fabulous French city is the Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde that towers over Marseille. This 19th century cathedral sits upon Marseille’s highest point and features an impressive bell tower as well as a domed basilica.


Nantes: Be contemporary at l'Ile de Nantes

Top 20 free things to do in FranceIn the heart of Nantes you will find the l'Ile de Nantes by the Loire. This new project was designed to become a modern urban centre in Nantes. It houses some great art and design including the popular "Grand Eléphant". It’s a great area to explore so don’t miss out on getting a look at it when visiting Nantes.


Paris: Get some culture

Top 20 free things to do in FranceThere are a whole host of great museums on offer around Paris, and many of these offer free admission. Make sure you check out free museums such as the permanent collection at the Musée Carnavalet to see an impressive collection dedicated to the history of Paris. If you want to see some of Paris’ collection of fine art and decorative items make sure to visit Musée Cognacq-Jay. And if you want to get free entry into what is probably Paris’ most famous museums, the Louvre, then make sure you visit on the first Sunday of the month.


Lyon: Climb to Fourvière

Top 20 free things to do in FranceWhen wandering the streets of Lyon if you look up you will see that the city is overlooked by a beautiful white church that sits atop a hill. The church is the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the hill leads you up to Fourvière. At the top of the hill you find ruins of a Roman city. There is a cable car that travels up Fourvière but on a nice day a climb up here is a great free thing to do in Lyon.


There’s our pick of 20 free things to do in France so if you are planning a tour of France make sure to stop off at some of these great free attractions. And if you have any free things to do in France to add to the list please leave them in a comment below.

By: Tracy Lynch


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