Should you pay to see the Paris museums “a la carte” or buy the Paris Museum Pass? Is it good value?
The Paris Museum Pass can cover 2 days (42 Euros), 4 days (56 Euros) or 6 days (69 Euros) and is only a “deal” if you map out your days very carefully.
- The upside is that you can bypass lineups. It gives you free entry into more than 60 museums, monuments, and art galleries in Paris where the average cost of entry is 12 Euros.
- The downside of the pass is the urgency to “get your money’s worth” where you might rush through a museum and not truly enjoy the time spent there. Friends have used the pass and were very careful to plot out what museums they would be passing by.
In my niece’s guest blog post, she shared how she and her husband used the 2-day pass. This week I’ll be sharing how my friend used the 4-day pass on a recent trip to Paris.
Here are her comments:
DO Go to the website Parisinfo and decide what you want to see. Add up the entry fees to see if they are more or less than the 56 euros (4-day pass). It is a good idea to have a map handy so you can maximize the number of places to visit in one area.
DO Make a chart. I made a chart of the days of the week we would be using the pass (KEY ADVICE: The pass must be used on consecutive days and it starts on the day you sign and date the card. DO NOT sign the pass and then visit the first place mid-day. A half day will be wasted!)
DO read “How to fill out the pass” that is printed on the pass.
DON’T There is no reason to buy the pass online and pay the shipping charges. Check the website, but I believe you can buy it in the airport or at any Tourist office. We bought ours from the Tourist office in Montmartre. You can buy it as soon as you see an office. It isn’t valid until you print the date of your first entry into a museum.
DO Be sure to check the day each museum, etc. is closed. They don’t all close the same day.
DO The pass is a great way to avoid TICKET lines NOT security lines. Be sure to check which line you are in! Don’t get caught waiting in the wrong line! Ask!! We bypassed a long ticket line at the Arc de Triomphe and walked right up to the top.
DO You can pop into those museums you always wondered about, but didn’t want to pay the entrance fees … just in case.
DON’T You don’t have to spend a long time in each museum. We were in Les Invalides for 30 minutes or so…..long enough to take pictures and marvel at such a vast monument for such a little man!!
Here Was Our Plan For The Week
- Eiffel Tower (not included and didn’t go up it)
- Hotel National des Invalides
We could have gone to the Rodin because it was right across the street, but it was Monday and it was closed. We didn’t have any other day to do this area so we also missed the Musee D’Orsay which is closed Monday.
- Arc de Triomphe
- Versailles: the Museum Pass was worth it for this day alone. Just don’t go on a day when the musicals or fountains are on. You will have to pay, again, for the entry to the gardens.
- First thing, we went to the Chateaux de Trianon and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette (the hamlet is under construction so you couldn’t go into the buildings). All included.
- After a lunch at the Grand Canal cafeteria (good and reasonably priced), we went through the gardens and, by the time we got to the palace (4:30 or so), we had only a 20-30 minute wait for security. I believe the palace is open until 6:30. Most of the bus tours had left and it was far less crowed than I remember in the past. This was an entire day paid for by the pass. Rail and lunch were extra.
- If you have a pass and go early, be sure to check which line you are in. You don’t need Billets.
- The private apartments are a separate ticket and can be booked online. You go through a separate security and it is a guided tour. Be sure to ask where to meet so you don’t waste time in line.
- We would have gone to the Notre-Dame towers, but we were late and we decided not to wait in line. We did go to the Crypte Archeologique du Paris Notre-Dame because we could and it was very interesting.
- My friend wasn’t interested in waiting in line for Sainte-Chapelle because she wanted to do some shopping, but we could have gone there and the Conciergerie.
- The Louvre is open Wednesday night and, again, the pass lets you bypass the ticket line, but not the security line.
- Visitied the Pantheon and Musee de Cluny because they were, literally, in our backyard.
I will be honest. It helps if you know your way around Paris, but, planning ahead makes it reasonable.
1. Know what you want to see.
2. Know when each place is open and what day it is closed. Be sure to check if there are nights when something is open late … like the Louvre … and plan for an evening visit.
3. Group visits by area/arrondissement.
4. You don’t have to see everything in each museum. Our plan was to go to the Rodin, see a few of his most famous pieces and head to Musee d’Orsay for lunch and a quick visit to some of the most famous Impressionist paintings.
5. Buy your pass when you get to Paris.
6. You don’t need the Paris pass that includes transportation (it is a lot more money) unless you don’t like to walk.
I would buy it, again, so I can duck into some of the more obscure places or visit just an exhibit that interests me. On my own 2 days would be enough .
Merci à Laurie for her advice and comments!