Paris Museum Pass
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
I am still trying to wrap my head around how amazing of a time we had in Paris! I still haven't been able to put it all into words because of how emotional the trip was considering we got engaged out there *super girly squeal* haha! So this post is about how/why we were able to see basically everything we planned on seeing. There is an ongoing debate online on whether the Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass is either worth it or which one you should pick and I just want to give my take on the subject! If you need help planning your days out, feel free to reach out to us and we can give you advice and tips and help you put together an itinerary!
We only had 4 days to spend in the city of love and neither Ryan nor myself had ever been. We had an unrealistically long list of all the monuments, museums, views, artwork, and random things we had read about, that we wanted to see. We knew we were spending the first day in Montmartre and did not need the pass that day. The last day was the day we were leaving and we didn't want to feel rushed, so we opted for the 2 day Paris Museum Pass. We chose this pass because we did not want the extra features that came with the Paris Pass such as metro rides (we wanted to walk) and the hop off/hop on bus tour (we prefer to self explore and again we wanted to walk). We realized we only wanted the fast track option at the sites we were trying to see and the museum pass not only gives you access to over 60 monuments and museums in and around Paris, but it puts you in the fast track line at places like the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe! If you have limited time in the city, you definitely want to be in the shorter line. You will still wait a bit, especially at places like the Louvre but I promise, you will not wait as long. In my opinion, when you buy the pass, you are buying yourself time. You get more time inside the museums and more time to see other places. Trust me, when you unfold that map for the Musee de' Orsay and see how much there is to admire, you will be glad you got inside quicker. Also, there are over 200 steps on the spiral staircase leading to the top of the Arc so trust me when I say, you don't want to spend any energy just standing in line. You will need that energy haha!
We spent June 5-6 using our passes around the city and easily fit in all we wanted to see without feeling rushed at any of the venues. The pass actually saved us the day we went to the Louvre because we were running behind schedule, but waiting in the shorter line helped us get back on track. While I do wish we had all day to spend at the Louvre because it was massive, we were still able to get in and see all the specific pieces we had planned on seeing without missing our visit to Notre Dame afterwards. My mom and brother met us at the Louvre and also got inside in record time using their passes and were able to explore before we all headed out. The Orsay, while not as big as the Louvre is still a massive museum built inside of an old train station. The architecture alone is something to marvel at. When you see the massive building from across the water, you're going to want to get inside and explore right away!
To get the most use out of your pass you'll want to start using it first thing in the morning, because day one starts the first time you use it, no matter what time of day that may be. For example, if you decide to use it at four in the afternoon that counts as day one. Most things will be closed pretty soon after that and now you've wasted a whole day of your pass. Basically, you have a "2 day" pass not a 48 hour pass, which is another reason we didn't use it on our first or last day there. Get the most bang for your buck by using it only on the full days you have in Paris, not half days. The pass itself gives you information on all the museums and monuments you have access to, such as addresses, operating hours and fun facts about the locations. You can either have the pass mailed to you or pick it up when you get to Paris. When we visited, you were able to pick up your pass from the tourist information center and that's what we opted for. My parents picked theirs up from the airport but at the time of this article, you can pick it up from the Big Bus Ticket Shop if you don't want it mailed to you. The website https://www.parispass.com/ has all the information you need about what attractions each pass covers and how/where to get your pass.
Why didn't we pick the Paris Pass you ask? Well again, we only had 2 full days to use our pass and we didn't want to spend some of that time on a hop on/hop off bus tour which the Paris Pass includes. Now don't get me wrong you do get an additional 13 attractions, tours and experiences including a guided wine tour at the Louvre (that almost swayed me to be honest) but we just did not have time to fit all of that in. The other perks include a free guidebook and unlimited rides on the metro. If you have more days to spend there and want to ride the train around, I would recommend the 3 day Paris Pass because it includes a 2 day museum pass. We were perfectly happy with just the museum pass however and were able to see every single thing on our itinerary. To determine which pass, if any, is right for you, I recommend listing out the places you want to see and adding up the entry fee for your chosen sites. When we did that, we realized the pass really was saving us money and it definitely saved us time so we say it is 100% worth it!
One last piece of advice I have for you, is about a site that truly helped make our trip amazing. We used visitacity.com which is an extremely helpful site with an itinerary feature that I highly recommend using when planning a trip. It not only helps you figure out which day is best for which activity, but it will give you information for popular sites such as hours of operation, which saves you time on hopping back and forth between tabs. It will let you choose your mode of transportation between activities and add the appropriate amount of travel time between the two, and it will show you a map view of everything you're planning. Pay attention to the map view so you can make sure you are going in an order that makes sense travel wise and not wasting time going back and forth across the city. One of my favorite features was that it warns you if you have something planned outside of the hours of operation so you can move things around. We were also able to share it with my parents who were meeting us out there on day 3 of our trip, so that we could coordinate activities with our museum passes. It was a life saver and we wouldn't have been able to organize our trip without it. Now order that pass and get your sightseeing on!