In a city like Paris, with SO many historic things to see, amazing museums and incredible monuments, it can get very expensive very quickly to visit them all. On our visit to Paris we read about the Paris Museum pass and decided that it would be a great option to allow us to see a ton of stuff and save some serious cash during our 8 day stay. Here is a little bit about the Paris Museum Pass:
With the PARIS MUSEUM PASS, you gain free entry, often without waiting in line, and as many times as you wish, to over 50 museums and monuments in and around Paris. You can currently use the pass at the following attractions:
Arc de Triomphe
Musée de l’Armée – Tombeau de Napoléon 1er
Centre Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne
Musée national des Arts asiatiques – Guimet
Musée des Arts décoratifs
Espaces Mode et Textile
Musée Nissim de Camondo
Musée des Arts et Métiers
Musée du quai Branly
La Cinémathèque française – Musée du Cinéma
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – universcience
Musée national Eugène Delacroix
Visite publique des Égouts de Paris
Palais de la Porte Dorée – Musée national de l’histoire de l’Immigration
Musée de l’Institut du Monde arabe
Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme
Musée du Louvre
Musée national de la Marine
Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine – Musée des Monuments français
As you can see from the list, currently the Paris Museum Pass includes admission to over 50 of the most popular Parisian attractions including the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Musee Rodin, Musee d’Orsay, and Sainte-Chapelle, along with other popular sites that are near Paris like the Chateau de Versailles. (While the museum pass includes general admission to these sites, there may be additional costs if you wish to see special exhibits or take audio tours, although we had several audio tours included when we visited)
Passes are available in 2-day, 4-day or 6-day lengths, and are good for an unlimited number of visits to each attraction. The time on your pass starts with your first visit to an attraction. So, for instance, if you purchased a four day pass on June 22nd, and visited your first attraction on June 23rd, the pass would be valid June 23-26th.
All you need to do to begin using the pass is to write your name and the date of first use on the back in pen. Some places will just take a look at it and others will scan the barcode when you enter.
Will the Paris Museum Pass Save Me Money?
Well, the answer to this question really depends on two things:
-What attractions are you planning on visiting during your stay in Paris?
-What is the admission cost for each of these individual attractions?
It helps to make a list before your purchase a pass of what attractions you actually plan on visiting. Be realistic. While there are SO many amazing museums and pieces of art to see in Paris, you are probably not there to spend all day, every day lost in a museum. Part of the beauty of visiting Paris is wandering the streets, sitting at sidewalk cafes, and soaking in the everyday life of this gorgeous city. I say, make a list and then plan on actually seeing 80% of what you put on your initial list. There will inevitably be things that make it so you don’t hit everything on your list. So, also prioritize your list according to what is most important to you.
For your information, here are a few access prices* to some of the museums and monuments included in the PARIS MUSEUM PASS :
Current Paris Museum Pass Pricing for 2018:
2 Day Pass: €48
4 Day Pass: €62
6 Day Pass: €74
In Paris: This is the easiest and least expensive way to purchase a pass. You can buy the Paris Museum Pass at locations throughout the city, including at many of the museums and monuments that accept the pass, several of the visitors centers in Paris, tourist information desks at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports and the Gare du Nord train station. You can see the full list of where to buy passes on the Paris Museum Pass website. We purchased ours at the visitors center at Gare du Nord upon our arrival by train from Belgium. Lines for passes can get long at the attractions themselves, so I would suggest purchasing the passes in advance at a place where you won’t have to stand in line such as a visitors center, FNAC store, or airport information desk. There was no line at the train station when we arrived.
There are other options for purchase, including online before you go with home or hotel delivery, or by ordering a voucher online for pick up, but I think that complicates things and can the fees involved can get expensive and seriously increase the cost of your pass. You can find out more about all of the ticketing options here on the Paris Museum Pass official website.
How we used our Paris Museum Pass and our Cost Savings
Since we were traveling with the kids, we knew that over-doing museums and tourist attractions would be a concern. As Ashley so eloquently stated after visiting a few museums, “Mom, all they have in these museums is men on horses and naked people on couches.” Oh, the world through a child’s eyes. 😉 We opted for a 2 Day pass knowing that we would want to spend time doing and seeing other things not included in the pass, as well as spend time just enjoying the city during our 8 day visit.
We visited the following places with our pass over a two-day period:
Musee de Orsay
Arc de Triumphe
Chateaux de Versaille
The total for these attractions individually would have been €77, so the €48 pass price was a clear savings, not including the skipping the line benefit! We were able to bypass the ticket buying lines which were LONG. However, for a couple of the places we still had to wait in security lines. The security line for Sainte-Chapelle was about an hour, but had we not had the Museum Pass, we would have had to wait in an even longer line. While it is advised that you arrive at Versailles first thing in the morning to guarantee quick access, we didn’t have any problem when we arrived at about 2pm.
Overall, we were so glad we had our passes and would highly recommend the pass to save both money and time. The last thing you want to do while you are on vacation is spend hours waiting in line! If you have already seen may of the places that the Paris Museum Pass gives you access to, and you aren’t interested in seeing them again, then maybe it is not a good value for you. Now that I have seen the top spots and pieces of art, I may decide that on our next visit, it doesn’t make sense financially to purchase a pass, but this time it definitely did.
Don’t try to see too many museums in one trip! Even with only seeing these few spots, we felt exhausted and the kids were overwhelmed. We really didn’t enjoy our first few days in Paris as much as we could have because we tried to do too much in two days. Paris has so much to offer that is not in a museum, and it is important to take time to wander and explore the city itself. Sunset cruises on the Seine, shopping in the Marais, splashing in a fountain at a beautiful park, or lingering at a cafe watching the world go by, are all worthwhile activities that will help you fall in love with Paris.
Tips for Using your Paris Museum Pass
- Planning is important to get the most out of your pass. Make a list of the attractions you want to see and note which are included with the pass so you can decide if the cost of the pass makes financial sense for your visit.
- The pass includes unlimited entry to all attractions, so if the Louvre is hot and crowded and you want to come back another time during the days included in your pass when it is less crowded, you can!
- The entrances for pass holders are often not clearly marked. Don’t get in a line without asking a museum worker or security guard where the line for pass holders is. It is crowded and confusing at many of these attractions and many pass holders end up standing in long lines unnecessarily. Sometimes a museum won’t have any priority access lines open, but always check! It may save you some precious vacation time.
- Remember to research whether or not the pass is a good idea for your kids. With the usually reduced or free entrance for children under 18, it is often not a good value. If you are traveling with your kids, definitely look into the individual museum’s policies on admission for children and do a cost comparison before buying a pass for the kids. We purchased passes for our kids when we probably could have saved the money.
- Remember to check on the free admission days at the museums and attractions you want to visit. If you purchase a 2 day pass for Wednesday and Thursday, but you will also be in the city on a Sunday when the Louvre is free, it may make sense to use your pass for other attractions and visit the Louvre on the free day. But remember to weigh how important skipping the long lines is to you, and include that in your equation of when to visit attractions and the cost of the pass.
- There are lots of tips and suggestions about which entrances to use for pass holders, best hours to visit etc., available on the Paris Museum Pass website. It is definitely worth a read.
- Many attractions are closed one day a week. Make sure you check with the individual museums you want to visit to find out when those days are so you make sure to plan your visit to avoid those days.
Most importantly, enjoy your visit!! I hope you are excited for your trip to this magnificent city.
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