If you are planning a trip to Paris and plan to visit a number of the city’s top attractions, you may be able to save money and time by purchasing the Paris Pass. The Paris Pass provides free admission into over 60 of the top attractions in Paris (e.g., the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Seine river cruise), a free Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour ticket, and a Paris Travel Card. It also allows you to skip long entrance lines at some of the top museums and attractions to save you time on your trip.
Whereas the Paris Pass can be a great deal and save some travelers time and money, it will not be a good value for all travelers. We’ll help provide all the information you need to know to decide if the Paris Pass is a good deal for you, decide on which pass to buy, and how to get the most value out of your pass. We’ll also share our own experiences using the Paris Pass and provide an honest breakdown of our own cost-savings.
What Is Included in the Paris Pass?
The Paris Pass includes three separate elements:
- Paris Attractions Pass
- Paris Museum Pass
- Paris Travel Card
The Paris Pass includes free admission to a number of popular museums attractions in and around Paris, free 1 day use of the Hop-on Hop-Off sightseeing bus, a travel card for unlimited public transportation travel within central Paris, and some additional discounts that can be used for local tours and restaurants. The Paris Pass also comes with a free useful guidebook (make sure you get a copy!).
Also if you have questions not answered by this article, the guidebook, or their website, you can contact the company’s customer service team during business hours or send them an email. You can find out more about the Paris Pass on their official website.
Attractions Included in the Paris Pass?
Paris Pass holders are currently granted free admission to over 60 museums, tours, and other attractions in and around Paris. These include some of the most popular Paris museums and attractions such as:
- The Louvre
- Arc de Triomphe
- Musée Rodin
- Musée d’Orsay
- Notre Dame Towers & Crypt
- Centre Pompidou
- Château de Versailles
- Château de Fontainebleau
- Espace Dali
- Grevin Wax Muesum
- Paris Aquarium
- Montpartnasse Tower
- Seine river cruise
You can check out the full up-to-date list of attractions here. Fast track options are available at several attractions (which currently includes the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, and Musée d’Orsay), allowing one to enter a faster entrance line designed for pass holders.
Note that while the pass ensures general admission to the covered sites, the pass may not cover admission to special exhibits, audioguides, or special events. Reservations are recommended at a couple of the attractions (e.g., wine tasting, walking tours), but this information is clearly noted in the free Paris Pass guidebook that comes with the passes as well as on the website.
Although the Paris Pass covers a lot of attractions in and around Paris, there are several major attractions in Paris that are NOT currently included with the Paris Pass that you should take into consideration when planning your trip. These include the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, the Paris Catacombs, Jacquemart-André Museum, Luxembourg Museum, Disneyland Paris, Marmottan Museum, Musée de Montmartre, and the dome at Sacré Coeur.
Transportation Options included with the Paris Pass?
All Paris Passes come with a Paris Travel Card plus the option to collect a free 1 day hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus ticket.
The included Paris Travel Card is a Paris Visite Travel Pass that is valid for unlimited travel on all of the city’s public transportation networks within central Paris zones 1 – 3. Public transportation options include the city’s Metros, RER trains, buses, trams, SNCF overland suburban trains, and the Montmartre Funicular. The Paris Visite ticket has the same duration as your Paris Pass, so a 3 day Paris Visit ticket comes with a 3 day Paris Pass.
The Paris Travel Card will cover your travel to the vast majority of attractions included on the Paris Pass and almost all of the city’s most popular attractions. However, it does not include attractions outside of Paris. Notable places it does NOT cover are the Palace of Versailles (zone 4), Château de Fontainebleau, Disneyland Paris, Orly Airport, and Charles de Gaulle airport. You will need to purchase separate tickets to travel to these sites via public transportation or train.
For your Paris Visite travel pass to be valid, you must first write your first and last name on the travel pass, along with the starting and ending dates of validity (use European date format DD/MM/YY). The travel pass is activated the first time you validate it.
To use the Paris Visite travel pass, all you need to do is validate (scan or stamp it) before starting each journey. You must always validate your travel pass when you enter the metro, bus, tram, or RER, and each time you pass a ticket gate or validation machine while traveling on the Paris transportation network.
Check out the Paris Transport website for detailed information about the transportation networks, maps, and more info on the Travelcard.
PARIS PASS TRAVEL TIP: Remember that like the Paris Pass, your Paris Travel Card is valid for consecutive days. So if you do not plan to use much public transportation on your first day in the city, you may want to wait to activate it until later in your trip. The use of your Travelcard does NOT activate your Paris Pass or vice versa.
All Paris Passes also come with the option to collect a free all-day 1 day ticket for the Big Bus Paris sightseeing Hop-on, Hop-off bus. The bus route stops at 9 different stops (e.g., Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Trocadéro) and the buses stop every 8 to 15 minutes at each stop. Audio commentary is available in over 10 different languages.
The free bus ticket can be collected from staff at any of the noted Big Bus Paris bus stops (just wait for the bus to come by if there are no staff there). You can get on and off the bus as many times as you like in a single day.
PARIS PASS SIGHTSEEING BUS TIP: Start using the bus in the morning to get the most out of your ticket. Note that there are several hop-on hop-off bus companies in Paris, so look out for the Big Bus Paris logo so you get on the right buses included on your ticket.
Other Paris Pass Inclusions?
The pass includes fast-track access to a handful of attractions (e.g., Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grevin Wax Museum, and Musée d’Orsay) where you get to skip the lines although it does not allow you to skip security lines. Check this list for the most updated list of attractions that allow fast track entry with the Paris Pass.
The Paris Pass also enables visitors to take advantage of a limited number of discounts (often 10% to 20% off) on things like meals, cabaret shows, and tours which are noted in the Paris Pass Guidebook (you can also download the guidebook online before your trip).
Types of Paris Passes?
There are Adult passes (anyone 18 years or age or older), Teen passes (children age 12 to 17) and Child passes (children age 4 to 11). All the Paris Passes include the Paris Attractions Pass and include the same travel benefits. however the lower priced child and teen Paris Passes do NOT include a Paris Museum Pass.
The Paris Museum Pass is not included with the children and teen passes because most museums covered by the Paris Museum Pass give free entry to children under age 18 accompanied by an adult. Currently there are only 6 of the over 50 museums and monuments that do not provide free entry to children (e.g., Museum of French Cinema, Interactive Science Museum) and these are noted as such in the Paris Pass Guidebook.
Children under age 4 get free entrance to most attractions in Paris and ride for free on public transit with an adult so they do NOT need a Paris Pass.
The only decision you need to make is which length of pass do you want to purchase. The Paris Pass is currently sold as 2-day, 3-day, 4-day, or 6-day passes. Passes are activated after your first usage and must be used on consecutive days. So if you purchase a 4-day pass with your first visit to an attraction on July 10th, it will be valid from July 10th through July 13th.
Cost of the Paris Pass
You should check the website for the latest prices, but as of February 2019 here are the Paris Pass prices:
Adults (anyone 18 years of age or older):
€139 for a 2-day pass
€174 for a 3-day pass
€209 for a 4-day pass
€259 for a 6-day pass
Teen (any teen age 12 to 17 years of age):
€84 for a 2-day pass
€104 for a 3-day pass
€114 for a 4-day pass
€141 for a 6-day pass
Children (any child age 4 to 11 years of age):
€46 for a 2-day pass
€53 for a 3-day pass
€59 for a 4-day pass
€79 for a 6-day pass
How do I Decide if the Paris Pass Will Save Me Money?
So now that you know what the Paris Pass is, what it includes, and the cost, the next step is deciding whether it is a good value for you and your trip to Paris. Deciding whether the Paris Pass will save you money is a bit complicated because unlike many other passes, the travel card is included in the pass and is not optional. Further, as mentioned earlier, the pass includes three separate passes or cards with each card having it own value.
We’ll try to break it down into steps to help you decide if the Paris Pass will save you money.
Step 1: What Attractions do you want to Visit?
First, you should make a list of all the attractions you want to visit during your time in Paris and specifically note the ones that are included on the Paris Pass. Try to come up with a realistic list based on the amount of time you’ll be in Paris as you don’t want to spend your entire trip going from attraction to attraction. Once you come up with your list, check the normal entrance fee cost for each online or using a recent guidebook. Add up the costs to come up with a total.
Note the examples below:
Example A: Let’s say from the Paris Pass sites I want to visit the Louvre (€15.00), Musee d’Orsay (€12.00), Versailles (€18.00), Musee Rodin (€10.00), Notre Dame crypt (€7.00), Notre Dame towers (€10.00), Sainte-Chapelle (€10.00), Centre Pompidou (€14.00), and do a Seine river cruise (€15.00). The grand total of normal adult entry fees for all these attractions would be €111.00.
Example B: Let’s say from the Paris Pass sites I want to visit the Louvre (€15.00), Arc de Triomphe (€12.00), Musee d’Orsay (€12.00), Versailles (€18.00), Notre Dame towers (€10.00), Sainte-Chapelle (€10.00), Conciergerie (€8.50), The Army Museum (€11.00), Pantheon (€8.50), Centre Pompidou (€14.00), Château de Vincennes (€8.50), Espace Dali (€11.50), Opera Garnier tour (€15.50), Paris Aquarium (€20.50), Montparnasse Tower (€15.00), Paris movie walking tour (€25.00), wine tasting (€30.00), and do a Seine river cruise (€15.00). I also want to take advantage of the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour (€33.00) to connect some of these sights on one of my days of sightseeing. The grand total of normal adult entry fees for all these attractions would be €293.00.
Step 2: How many days do you need to visit all the included attractions?
Next, you’ll need to decide how many days it will likely take you to visit all the attractions you want to visit. Remember it can be easy to be too ambitious and think you’ll take in three museums, a castle, an aquarium, and a boat tour in one day. Try to leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t get exhausted and overwhelmed. Try to be realistic.
Example A: On my first day I want to visit Sainte-Chapelle in the morning, followed by the Notre Dame cathedral, crypt, and towers, and then explore the Centre Pompidou after lunch in the afternoon. In the evening I plan to go to the Eiffel Tower (not included on the Pass, see our Eiffel Tower guide). On my second day I want to visit the Louvre all morning, have lunch, and then spend the afternoon at the Musee d’Orsay.
On my third day, I want to head out to Versailles to explore the palace and gardens, return in the afternoon to visit Musee Rodin and then do an evening Seine river cruise. This means I would need 3 days so a 3 day Paris Pass would likely be the best fit.
Example B: On my first full day I want to get oriented to the city using the Paris hop-on, hop-off bus and use it to visit some of the sites included on the pass (Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay, Opera Garnier tour) plus a stop at the Eiffel Tower (not included on the pass). On my second day I want to get up early to visit Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, and the Conciergerie before lunch, explore Montmartre and visit Espace Dali in the afternoon, and then do some shopping.
On Day 3, I want to visit the Louvre in the morning, do the wine tasting after lunch, then visit the Paris Aquarium. On Day 4, I want to head out to Versailles for the morning and afternoon and return to visit the Centre Pompidou which is open late.
On the next day, I want to visit the Army Museum, the Pantheon, and go up the Tour Montparnasse. On Day 6, I want to do the Paris movie walking tour, visit the Chateau de Vincennes after lunch, and then do a Seine river cruise to finish up my last night in Paris. This means I would need 6 days so a 6 day Paris Pass would likely be the best fit.
Step 3: Add in the cost of the Paris Travel Card.
Now that you know how many days you need to see all the attractions, you can find out the cost of the travel card portion of the matching pass. As mentioned earlier, the included Paris Travel Card is a Paris Visite travel pass so you can check the cost for the pass.
Here is the cost if you purchase the Paris Visite travel passes separately (as of November 2017):
- 2-day: €19.50
- 3-day: €26.65
- 4 day: €38.65
- 6-day: €50.35
Example A: If I purchase a 3 day Paris Pass then the 3 day Paris Travel card is approximately €26.65 of my pass worth.
Example B: If I purchase a 6 day Paris Pass then the 6 day Paris Travel card is approximately €50.35 of my pass worth.
Step 4: Compare your total cost versus the cost of the Paris Pass.
Now, add together the total attraction costs plus the total travel ticket cost together. Then compare it to the cost of the needed Paris Pass. This should tell you your cost savings.
Example A: OK, so it would cost me €111.00 to visit all the places on my list plus €26.65 for the Paris Travel card for a grand total of €137.65. I think I need 3 days and the cost of the 3-day Paris Pass is €169. So even though the Paris Pass offers additional features than cost savings (ease of use, fast track entry, discounts), it would probably not be a good value in this case unless I wanted to visit a couple more of the included attractions.
Example B: OK, so it would cost me €293 as an adult to visit all the places plus €50.35 for the paris Travel card for a grand total of €343.35. I think I need 6 days to visit all the attractions and the coast of the 6 day Paris Pass is €239.00. The cost savings with a Paris Pass would be €104.35 for one adult. In this case I would have ample cost savings and it would keep me from waiting in line at a couple of attractions. In this case, the Paris Pass is probably a very good value.
Note: I would also be sure to check for current sales of the Paris Pass as 5% to 20% discount sales are run occasionally each year. A reduced pass price can significantly increase your cost savings!
Step 5 (optional): Paris Pass versus separate Passes
The next step is optional and requires some more calculations. For some people, the above will be enough as it shows the Paris Pass will either save them money (answer: buy the Paris Pass) or doesn’t save them money (answer: don’t buy the Paris Pass). But you can find out more information by digging further in the numbers if you wish.
For example, if the Paris Pass does not provide cost savings based on Step 4, you can figure out if purchasing some of the components separately may still save you money. Alternatively, if your calculations showed Paris Pass cost savings in Step 4, you can also check to see if the Paris Pass is a better value than purchasing separate passes.
Understand the 3 Paris Pass components
As mentioned earlier, the Paris Pass is made up of 3 separate passes explained below:
1.) Paris Museum Pass
The Paris Museum Pass is a popular museum pass in Paris that allows free entry into a number of the city’s most popular museums and monuments. It also includes priority line entrances at some of the included sites. This is a pass I have long recommended you can read my full review of the Paris Museum Pass in an earlier post. Museums include:
- Arc de Triomphe
- Musée Rodin
- Musée d’Orsay
- Musée de l’Orangerie
- National Museum of Asian Arts
- The Army Museum
- Quai Branly Museum
- Centre Pompidou
- Château de Versailles
- Château de Fontainebleau
- Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis
2.) The Paris Pass (Paris Attractions Pass)
This is the unique pass that is part of the Paris Pass package. It can not be purchased separately, only as part of the Paris Pass. It includes free entry into a number of Paris attractions, museums, and tours. Attractions include:
- Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus tour
- Espace Dali
- Musée Grévin
- Opera Garnier tour
- Paris Aquarium
- Paris Chocolate Museum
- Montparnasse Tower
- Paris Story
- Paris movie walking tour
- wine tasting
- Seine river cruise
- Petit Train de Montmartre
3.) Paris Visite Travel Card
The Paris Visite travel card is a travel pass designed for visitors to Paris. It is valid for unlimited travel for a certain duration of days on all of the city’s public transportation networks, including the city’s Metros, RER, buses, trams, SNCF overland suburban trains, and Montmartre Furnicular, within central Paris zones 1-3.
Calculate the Cost of each of the 3 Paris Pass components
Next you need to find out the value of each component of the Paris Pass. You can look up the cost for the Paris Museum Pass and Travel Card online. Then take the Paris Pass price and then subtract the Paris Museum Pass price and the Paris Visite travel card price to get the Paris Attractions Pass value.
Cost breakdown (based on November 2017) pass prices:
- 2 Day Paris Pass: €48 (Museum Pass) + €67.50 (Attractions Pass) + €19.50 (Travel Card) = €135.00
- 3 Day Paris Pass: €48 (Museum Pass)* + €94.35 (Attractions Pass) + €26.65 (Travel Card) = €169.00
- 4 Day Paris Pass: €62 (Museum Pass) + €98.35 (Attractions Pass) + €38.65 (Travel Card) = €199.00
- 6 Day Paris Pass: €74 (Museum Pass) + €114.65 (Attractions Pass) + €50.35 (Travel Card) = €239.00
*NOTE: The 3 Day Paris Pass includes a 2 Day Paris Museum Pass. There is no 3 day Paris Museum Pass.
Check the Paris Pass savings per component
Next with the information from above, use your particular Paris itinerary (see an example 2 day Paris itinerary here) to calculate your cost savings for each of the three Paris Pass passes. This step can take a while as it requires you to sort the attractions you want to visit by whether they are covered by the Paris Museum Pass or Paris Pass. You can check the Paris Museum Pass website for the list of museums and monuments covered by that pass and then check this list for the attractions covered by the Paris Attractions Pass.
Example A: I had determined that I would need 3 days to visit all the attractions on my list. I have already determined that the Paris Pass as a whole does not represent any cost savings, so it is time to check the components. However, an extra problem in this example is that there is no 3 day Paris Museum Pass, so I would need the 4 Day Paris Museum Pass if I still want to visit all the relevant attractions.
So my relevant information I need is €62 for a 4 Day Paris Museum Pass and €26.65 for 3 day Travel Card.
Paris Museum Pass – In Example A, almost all of the attractions that I want to visit are included on the Paris Museum Pass. The value of the attractions I want to visit are €96 based on normal adult entry fees. In this case, the 4-Day Paris Museum Pass would be providing a significant cost savings of €34 (€96 – €62) even if I used it for only 3 days.
Paris Attractions Pass – In Example A, the only attraction on the Paris Attraction Pass I really wanted to visit was the Seine river cruise. With a value of €15.00, I would not be getting a good deal with the Paris Attraction pass of any length, whether it be a 3 Day or 4 Day pass. So this is an attraction I should pay for separately.
Paris Travel Card – The 3 day travel card is €26.65. Calculating whether the Paris Visite travel card is going to save money is difficult as it requires you to know what types of public transit you plan to take and how many times. But generally I would calculate that each one-way travel trip is worth about €1.90 (the cost of 1 t+ metro ticket). So in this case it would be equal to about 14 tickets or 4.6 trips per day.
For an idea of how much you might use public transport, when we are actively sightseeing in Paris, we normally take public transportation between 3 to 8 times per day. If I think that I am going to take an average of 4.6 or more trips per day, this would save me money.
Example B: I had determined that I would need 6 days to visit all the attractions on my list, and that the Paris Pass would provide cost savings.
So my relevant information I need is for the 6 Day Paris Pass: €74 (Museum Pass) + €114.65 (Attractions Pass) + €50.35 (Travel Card) = €239.00
Paris Museum Pass – In Example B, I wanted to visit a number of museums and attractions included on the Paris Museum Pass which would cost €127.50 with normal adult entry fees. Given that a 6 Day Paris Museum Pass costs €74, I would have a significant cost savings of €53.50 with the pass.
Paris Attractions Pass – In Example B, I wanted to visit a number of attractions included on the Paris Pass which would cost a total of €165.50 with normal adult entry fees. Given that the Paris Attractions Pass cost me approximately €114.65 in the 6 Day Paris Pass, I would have a significant savings of €50.85.
Paris Travel Card – The 6 day travel card is €50.35. As noted, calculating whether the Paris Visite travel card is going to save money is difficult. But if you estimate that each trip is worth €1.90, the value is equal to about 26.5 total trips, or 4.4 one-way trips per day over 6 days. So if use public transportation at least 4.5 per day on average you would save money.
Finally, Decide What you Need to Purchase
Now, you can take all the above information you calculated to determine if you should buy the Paris Pass or not. Or whether it would make more sense to buy individual components from the Paris Pass or no passes at all for your trip.
Example A: In this case, I would probably want to individually purchase a 4-Day Paris Museum Pass and the 3-Day Paris Visite Card. I can purchase a ticket for a Seine river cruise separately.
Example B: In this case, I would want to purchase the Paris Pass as it represents a significant cost savings across all its three components.
How to Buy the Paris Pass?
The Paris Pass can currently be purchased in person or be purchased online. If you purchase it in advance online, it is valid for 12 months after date of purchase, and you have the option to then collect it in person once in Paris or have it mailed to you before your trip.
In Person. You can purchase the Paris Pass in person at a single location in Paris. It can be purchased at the Big Bus Ticket Shop located at 11 Avenue de L’Opera, 75001 Paris. The office is open 7 days a week from 9:30am (09:30) to 6:30pm (18.30). Any discounts offered online will not apply to in-person purchases.
Purchase Online with Home Delivery: You can purchase the Paris Pass online and have it delivered before your trip to your home. However, you will have to pay shipping costs (currently €3.95 – €9.95 for standard delivery) that will decrease the cost savings of the pass.
The shipping cost is the same whether you buy 1 pass or 6 passes. Advantages to buying it online are that you won’t have to pick up the pass in Paris, will have the printed guidebook ahead of time, and can start using your Paris Pass as soon you arrive in Paris.
Purchase Online with In-Person Pick-up: To avoid shipping costs, you can purchase it online and collect it for only €2.00 per order at the Big Bus Ticket Shop located at 11 Avenue de L’Opera, 75001 Paris. Just be sure to print the Paris Pass confirmation voucher sent by email and also bring along your ID and credit card used for the order to collect the passes.
Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Paris Pass
- Plan ahead. Do a little research and figure out what attractions are included with the pass and which ones you plan to visit so you can make an informed choice of whether the Paris Pass makes sense for you or not. Use the information and examples above.
- The Paris Pass is valid for 12 months after purchase so you can purchase them up to a year before you plan to activate them.
- The Paris Pass is going to be of the most value for those coming for longer stays as the longer the Pass duration, the greater the potential value. So a 4 day pass will likely lead to greater cost savings than a 2 day pass. Similarly, the value multiplies by the number of travelers in your group so even if each person only saves €20, that is a saving of €80 for a family of 4!
- Note that the Pass may not offer as much savings for those who are eligible for concessions (e.g., seniors, EU citizens under 26, young children) as they may get reduced entrance fees at some attractions and some sites grant free admission. Many museums in Paris grant free admission to younger children, particularly children under age 12. So if you are traveling with those who qualify for reduced entry fees, check out the prices before buying a Paris Pass.
- If you are considering a 3 Day Paris Pass, note that the 3 Day Paris Pass only comes with a 2 Day Paris Museum Pass. I’d recommend considering the 4 Day Paris Pass instead which is a much better value.
- Read through the Paris Pass guidebook BEFORE your trip. The more you know and the more prepared you are, the more value you can get out of your pass.
- Remember that once you first use the pass, the time begins and it is only good for the next 2, 3, 4, or 6 consecutive days. When we had the pass, we thought about our days in Paris as either Pass days (focused on Pass attractions) or non-Pass days (focused on free things and attractions not covered by the pass).
- The Paris Pass has three separate components (for adults) and you’ll want to have each of these on you throughout your trip. I would find a handy place to store them (perhaps a designated pocket or purse compartment) as you’ll be using them a lot. You’ll also need your guidebook (either a physical copy or digital copy) to let you know which pass you need to show at each attraction. The guidebook also provides a lot of other helpful information such as opening hours, addresses, closest public transit stops, and contact info.
- The Paris Passes for children and teens do not include a Paris Museum Pass as they get free entry into almost all of Paris’s museums and monuments if accompanied by an adult. Teens should carry a photo ID showing their birthdate as proof may be required to get free entry or receive age-related discounts.
- Try to begin using your Paris Pass on the morning of the first day you want to start using it so you can the get the most of it! Remember that once you first use the pass, the time begins and it is only valid for the next XX consecutive days. So if you have a 2 day pass and start using it on Monday (whether it is 8am or 8pm), it will be good for Monday and Tuesday only.
- Note that activating one component of the Paris Pass does not activate the other two. So if you start using the Paris Museum Pass, it does not activate your Paris Attractions Pass or Paris Travel Card. Each is activated upon first use. For each of the passes, you need to write your relevant information on it (e.g., names, dates, signatures) for it to be valid before activation.
- Prioritize attractions you want to visit with higher entry fees if your pass does not cover your entire time in Paris. Use your Paris Pass to get you into those places you want to visit that are more costly (and have skip the line access) such as Versailles, the Louvre, Hop-on Hop-off bus, the wine tasting, and the Seine river cruise to get the most value of your pass. If you don’t have time to visit lower cost places with your pass, then you can always visit them at your own expense later in your trip.
- When planning your time in Paris, be sure to consider attractions you want to visit that are not covered by the Paris Pass such as the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, or Catacombs. Don’t forget to factor in things like wandering around the city’s parks, shopping, comparing macarons, and sipping coffee or having a fancy afternoon tea. Plan your days so that you can maximize your Paris Pass days, and group together attractions by geographical location so you can minimize time spent traveling around the city.
- If you plan to use the Paris hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus, start using it in the morning so you can use it for the full day. You can get on and off as many times as you like in that time.
- There is a small metro map in your Paris Pass guidebook which is helpful, but I would also recommend picking up a copy of a larger Paris map for your trip. You can probably get a free one at your hotel or tourist information office. I personally love the detailed laminated Streetwise Paris Map produced by Michelin and always have it with me in Paris.
- The Paris Travel Card has a magnetic strip which can be damaged by mobile phones or other technology. Try to keep it away from your cell phone and other electronics. If it does get damaged and is still valid, you can get it replaced by taking it to a Metro ticket office.
- The Paris Travel Card does NOT include travel to Versailles (take RER C towards Versailles Château / Rive Gauche), Paris Disneyland, or the Paris airports. You will need to buy separate Metro or bus tickets for these destinations if you plan to visit. Tickets are easy to buy at Metro self-service stations, Metro ticket windows, or from bus personnel. Getting caught without a valid ticket can get you an instant fine, so be sure to always keep your ticket on you until your journey is completed.
- The Paris Museum Pass allows unlimited entry into the museums during your Pass days so if you want to make 3 visits to the Louvre, you can! However, the Paris Attractions Pass is only good for one visit so be sure you have enough time to experience each attraction before you visit as you can’t return again with the pass.
- Paris is the most visited city on earth so be prepared for some crowds and lines pretty much any time of the year, but summers can be particularly crazy. Try to visit the most popular attractions (e.g., Versailles, Louvre, Orsay) in the mornings near opening or alternatively later in the afternoons for the best experience. Also check for evening hours as many museums have late opening hours on certain days of the week which are often less crowded times to visit. Evening hours can also make it easier to see more attractions in a single day.
- For some of the attractions it is recommended that you book ahead. These currently include the wine tasting experience and the Paris movie walking tour. The guidebook will have the information you need to make any reservations. I would organize these tours as soon you know when you plan to visit to ensure you get a spot on your desired date as they are both popular.
- Most attractions in Paris shut down for at least one day per week. Smaller attractions may have limited hours and may only be open a few days each week. Also attractions may be closed or partially closed for long periods of time for restoration work. It is always a good idea to check their website or call ahead before setting out.
- Check ahead in the Guidebook or on the Paris Pass website to see which attractions you plan to visit provide Skip the Line access to pass holders. If you get to one of these attractions and are not sure if you are in the correct line for pass holders, ask a security guard or museum personnel so you can be sure.
- Note that although you get to skip the ticket lines at most places, you can’t fast-track security lines. Several places with tighter security still require that you wait in the same security line as everyone else. These include the Notre-Dame tower (ticketing and security line the same), Sainte-Chapelle (only priority access for ticketing, not security line), and Versailles (can skip ticketing line but must wait in same security line). For these three busy attractions (especially Versailles), I would suggest trying to get there around opening to avoid a long wait.
- Make note if any of the attractions you want to visit offer a free admission day during your visit. If they do, you could always visit them on a non-pass day. For instance, we’ve visited the Louvre, Château de Fontainebleau, and Musée Cluny on free admission days without needing to have a pass. Just be warned that they tend to be much more crowded on free days!
- Don’t try to see all the included attractions (or even half) in one visit. Some people get their Paris Passes and go down the list visiting as many as they can squeeze into their trip. We certainly know the feeling of wanting to see everything, but if you do this, you are going to be exhausted. Paris has so much to offer that is not on that list and you’ll want to take time to slow down and soak up the city whether it is lingering over a cup of coffee at a café, sitting in a park, watching the sunset over the Seine, or dancing at a club. Hopefully you’ll be back again in the future to catch those attractions you miss, but don’t go through Paris as if it is one big checklist of famous places.
Our Experience Using the Paris Pass & Our Cost Savings
Laurence and I often use city passes and museum passes in cities to save money and time and although we had both visited Paris before, we hadn’t been to a number of the attractions offered by the Paris Pass.
In fact, Laurence had never been to a few of the city’s most famous attractions (e.g., the Louvre, Versailles, Sainte-Chapelle) despite a number of prior visits and I wanted to revisit some of these attractions. We had been sent a voucher online for our Paris Passes and then picked up the Paris Passes at the Big Bus Ticket desk in central Paris. We had no problem getting our Paris Passes and we were also able to pick up a sightseeing bus map.
We were in Paris for 6 days total and so we used our Paris Pass for four of those days. During our 4 day Paris Pass period, we ended up visiting 13 attractions covered by the Pass plus the Hop-on Hop-off bus. That is about 3.5 attractions per day. In some attractions we spent a long time (e.g., Versailles, Louvre) whereas we spent much less time in other attractions (e.g., Espace Dali, Arc de Triomphe, Museum of Decorative Arts).
We were able to skip the ticket line at most attractions and three of the attractions we visited (Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grevin Wax Museum) allowed Pass holders to join priority lines with the Fast Track Entry privilege. This definitely saved us time at the Louvre which had long lines when we visited although we still had to wait in the security line.
As far as cost-savings, here is how things worked out for us:
So as you can see we ended up with a savings of €74.15 each for a total of €148.30 for the two of us. This is definitely a considerable cost savings for four days of sightseeing!
We also broke down the cost savings by each Paris Pass component. We saved €28.00 each with the Paris Museum Pass or €56.00 for the two of us, and €46.15 each with the Paris Attractions Pass or €92.30 for the two of us. We didn’t keep track of our public transportation usage but we probably either saved money or broke even as we used public transit a lot during our trip.
So the Paris Pass was definitely the best fit for this particular trip to Paris!
We would highly recommend that all visitors to Paris consider purchasing the Paris Pass. It is not a great fit for everyone, but it can potentially save you a lot of money on attractions. The pass is particularly good for first time visitors, active sightseers, those who plan to use public transportation, and those interested in doing the activities (e.g., sightseeing bus, walking tour, river cruise).
However, it is probably not a good fit for those on a tight budget, those who don’t plan to visit a lot of attractions, those who do not plan to use public transportation, those visiting Paris for only 1 day, or those primarily interested in visiting attractions not covered by the Pass. Check the official website for the Paris Pass and see if the travel pass is a good fit for your next trip to Paris.
We hope this Paris Pass review is helpful to anyone planning a trip to Paris. Feel free to leave us any questions you have about the Paris Pass below and we are happy to try to answer them! Have you used the Paris Pass? We’d love to hear from others who have also used the pass.
**Disclosure: We were provided complimentary Paris Passes by The Paris Pass managed by The Leisure Pass Group, Ltd. in order to write a review and provide feedback; however, this article contains only our own honest thoughts and opinions. We specifically chose to visit Paris and all the stated attractions on our own. **