Don’t be scammed! How to know which Parisian churches are free


When strolling the streets of Paris, it is hard not to miss the stunning old churches that dot the city. They are magnificent works of art in their own right and often have gorgeous frescoes painted by famous artists.

Unfortunately, Paris is known for the abundance of scam artists so it is important to know which churches have free entry like at Notre Dame and which churches have paid entry like at Sainte Chapelle. Once when I was visiting the Abbey of Saint Germain des Pres, a free entry church, a very official looking man tried to get me to pay to enter.

So that you aren’t scammed, here is how you tell the difference…if the church is “active” meaning the church still holds services and provides ministry to the people, it is a free church. Notre Dame is still an active church holding Mass and other services so entry to the church itself is free. There is a fee to visit the bell tower. Sainte Chapelle, however, is no longer an active church which is why there is a fee to enter.

You will find that most of churches in Paris are free entry and are a great budget friendly way to view the history, art and charm of the city.

Bises (kisses),

Pro tip: Not glamorous but sure functional. When touring around Paris, I always wear a money belt with a little extra cash and a credit card in case I get pick pocketed.  Buy yours here (affiliate link).*

*Disclaimer: The Paris Itinerary is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If you decide to purchase anything through the affiliate links on this post, I will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting The Paris Itinerary.

Finding FREE (and mostly clean) restrooms in Paris


Finding a restroom in Paris when you need to go can be tricky. Unlike in the United States, you can’t just walk into any place in Paris and use the restrooms. Restrooms are reserved for patrons and are sometimes hidden in the back of the establishment or down in a basement.

Luckily, there are a few places where you can use the restrooms for free.
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Why the Paris Visitors Center should be your 1st stop in Paris


The Paris Visitors Center on Rue des Pyramides

Despite being blurry eyed from jet lag, you are likely eager to hit the streets of Paris to see all that there is but before you get started, I recommend your first stop be a quick visit to the Paris Visitors Center on Rue des Pyramides.

First, they have the BEST FREE metro/city map out there! Yes, you can get a free metro map at the metro ticket windows but the map provided by the Paris Visitor Center has so much more information. On one side is a metro line map with site indicators while the other side also has site indicators, as well as, street names and metro stops. It is extremely helpful to have both when trying to find where you are and where you are going. I’d advise picking up two! (RATP – the Paris public transportation company – does offer a free metro app but I always like to have a paper one, just in case.) Continue reading