Paris is one of the most romantic, adored, and instagrammed cities on the planet. From the glittery Eiffel Tower to quaint bakeries to world-class museums, it’s hard not to love the city.
I have a theory that when people say they hate Paris, the problem is with them, not Paris. I mean, do they also hate sunshine, puppies, Santa Claus, and Girl Guide cookies?
I first visited Paris with my family when I was 16 and became hopelessly infatuated. I came home and redecorated my bedroom in a Parisian theme, and have since acquired an unnaturally large collection of Eiffel tower figurines.
When Sam and I were planning a 4-day stop in Paris on our recent two-week Europe trip, I was ecstatic. Not only would I finally return to my favorite city, but I would also be able to share the experience with my husband who’d never been before.
But as we scoured travel blogs and our Lonely Planet guidebook, we quickly realized the cost of visiting all the museums, cathedrals, and cultural sites would put a serious dent in our travel fund.
Though we try to be frugal when we travel, we also like to make the most of our experiences. After all, how often do we have the chance to visit Versailles?
In the end, we decided the Paris Museum Pass was the way to go.
Benefits of the Paris Museum Pass
The Paris Museum Pass allows entry to many of the best sites in the city, and can be a much better value than purchasing each ticket separately. An added bonus is that it allows you to skip many of the ticket lines, which saves time (another limited commodity).
We chose to purchase the 2-day pass, and these are the sights we visited:
- Arc de Triomphe
- Musee du Louvre
- Musee d’Orsay
Price without the pass? 67€
Price with the pass? 48€
Total Savings: 19€
Drawbacks to the Paris Museum Pass
Though we found the Paris Museum Pass to be a good value, it wasn’t without drawbacks:
1. The only options are to purchase a 2, 4, or 6-day pass. We were visiting Paris for 3 days, which meant we either had to spend 1 day in the city without the pass or pay for a day we wouldn’t use. We ended up buying the 2-day pass and planning to visit sites not included in the pass (Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur) on the 3rd day.
2. The pass must be used on consecutive days. With many of the museums closed on different days of the week (mostly Mondays or Tuesdays), it became a logistical challenge to plan our itinerary so we could see everything we wanted within 2 consecutive days.
3. Though the pass allows you to skip the ticket line in many cases, you still have to wait in a security line which is sometimes just as long. Even with the pass we waited an hour to climb Notre-Dame because the ticket line and security line were part of the same queue.
4. Using the pass can lead to a “gotta get my money’s worth” mentality. Since entry to so many places are included in the pass, it can be tempting to try to see way too much since it’s “free” anyway. However, that can lead to rushing through a lot of churches and museums without actually enjoying the experience.
For us, purchasing the 2-day Paris Museum Pass was definitely the right choice. Not only did we save 38€ between the two of us, but we also saved time waiting in line and the hassle of purchasing each of our tickets on-site.
To determine if the pass is the right choice for you, we recommend planning your itinerary beforehand to determine what your actual savings will be (rather than buying the pass and then running around trying to “get your money’s worth”).
Where to purchase the Paris Museum Pass
The pass can be purchased online, but an expensive shipping fee will be added (which defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place!).
We recommend buying the pass after you arrive, either at the airport or at one of the many sites throughout the city where they are sold (A comprehensive list can be found here).
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