What can you do for free on a school trip to Paris?
17 Jan 2023, 14:48
by Kate Moore
The top 10 free visits for school trips to Paris
Paris is one of the world’s most popular school trip destinations, but the city does have a reputation for being expensive to visit. That’s why we called on our Paris-based animateur team to share with you some great excursions that are free for under 18s and visiting school groups.
Le Musée du Louvre
The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world and houses pieces from ancient history right through to the nineteenth century, including its most famous works – the Venus de Milo and, of course, the Mona Lisa. The vast collection is divided into eight departments and so plan your time carefully to get the most out of your visit.
Fun fact – The Louvre was once home to the French Royal family
Price: Free entry for school groups
The Catacombs of Paris
Looking for an unusual or ghoulish experience on your trip to Paris? The Catacombs might be just the ticket. This unique underground cemetery, housed in the caverns and tunnels of an ancient stone mine, has drawn in curious minds since its opening in 1874.
Fun fact – You'll get up close and personal with the real skeletons of six million people
Price: Free entry for students
In 1682 the flamboyant King Louis XIV decided to move the royal court from Paris to Versailles and construction of Europe’s most opulent palace began. From the opulent chateau, with Empire Rooms, Mesdames Apartments and famous Hall of Mirrors, to the expansive manicured gardens, grand fountains and parks, your school group won’t help but be impressed by the epic grandeur of Versailles. Download the Versailles phone app for a free audio-guide.
Top tip – Make the most of your dedicated coach by taking a trip outside of the city
Price: Free palace entry to students (charge to visit the gardens may apply in peak months, contact us to check)
Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur
Any trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to quaint Montmartre. Sitting atop a hill in the north of the city, the neighbourhood was famous home of artists such as Dalí, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso and van Gogh. Today, visit the famous artists’ square, Place du Tertre, to see caricaturists and street artists and be sure to climb the hill to be rewarded by the beautiful white basilica of Sacré Cœur with its gilded 150 foot mosaic, it is well worth the effort.
Don’t miss – the panoramic view of Paris as you leave the Sacré-Cœur
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a 1.9km long boulevard that connects the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. The beautiful boulevard is 70 metres wide and famous for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops, and for the military parade that takes place each year on the avenue on 14 July to celebrate Bastille Day
Fun fact – Champs-Élysées is the French name for Elysian Fields, the paradise for dead heroes in Greek mythology
Arc de Triomphe
Don’t miss one of France's most iconic monuments, the 50 metre high Arc de Triomphe, located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The massive arch is a symbol of honour to those who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. For most groups it's enough to marvel at and walk beneath, but you can pay to climb atop the monument too.
Photo op – A group photo in front of the Arc de Triomphe is one of the best souvenirs on a school trip to Paris
Price: Free to admire (optional €40 group ticket)
Head to Musée Carnavalet to learn the history of Paris. The museum is spread across two neighbouring mansions: the Hôtel Carnavalet and the former Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau, and tells the fascinating story of Paris and its inhabitants from prehistory to the present day.
It's back – this overlooked treasure has reopened after a €55 million makeover
Price: Free admission to permanent collections
Île de la Cité
A visit to the Île de la Cité at the centre of Paris is like a trip to the historic heart of the city of Paris. This natural island on the River Seine is the place to check out the reconstruction and restoration of Notre Dame after the catastrophic fire of 2019. While on the island, groups should visit the beautiful Gothic church of Sainte Chapelle, the Palais de Justice, the Prefecture de Police and the Hotel-Dieu Hospital.
Price: Free for under 18s
Bridging the gap between the classical art of the Louvre and modern art of the Centre Pompidou, the Le Musée d’Orsay is the home of late nineteenth and early twentieth century artworks featuring pieces by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugin and Van Gogh.
Fun fact – The museum was originally built as a railway station but the platforms were too short for the trains
Price: Free for school groups (optional €5pp audio guide)
Mémorial de la Shoah
A visit to the Memorial de la Shoah (Holocaust), located in the Marais district of Paris, is a powerful and moving experience for people of all ages – and has often brought visitors to tears. The memorial holds significant documentation and photographs about the Holocaust in France.
Price: Free (optional £6pp workshop / £50 group guide)
Start planning your school trip to Paris today
We’ve been organising school trips to France since 2008 and have our own Paris-based team of ‘animateurs’ to help your school group get the most from a visit to the city.
We offer a range of Paris trips including Paris Parle, a French language trip guided by our own French-native animateurs, curriculum-linked city tours, as well as student conventions and school trips to Disneyland Paris.