Paris holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it the first European city I ever visited back in 2000, but it is the city I have returned to the most throughout my travels! As the iconic Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.”
While I mostly agree with Audrey’s statement, Paris is not always a good idea when you are traveling on a budget! I won’t lie, there are far better options for cheaper destinations in Europe, but Paris is the third most visited city in the entire world for crying out loud, and for good reason. So is it worth the money? In my opinion, yes.
Fear not, my fellow travelers, for I am here to share with you my #1 money saving tip: The Paris Museum Pass. No, I am not being paid to write this post nor did I get any blogger discount whatsoever. As a travel blogger, I am actually embarrassed to admit that it took me five trips to Paris before I even decided to use this pass! I usually find city passes to be complete rip offs or only useful if you are staying for awhile (5 days or more).
Here’s what their website promises: “With the Paris Museum Pass, you gain free entry, without queuing and as many times as you wish, to over 50 museums and monuments in and around Paris. The more you visit, the more you save.” Other than the “without queuing” bit, this statement is entirely accurate. You certainly don’t have to queue (wait in line, for us Americans) to buy tickets since you just flash them your pass, but there are certain places where you can’t skip the security lines, of course. I just have to point that out because at Versailles, which is included in this pass, there is no getting around that long security line. But trust me, it moves quickly! I remember being in line with over 200 people in front of me (at least) and I was inside the palace gates within 30 minutes.
There are also three options to choose from which include the 2-day pass for €42, 4 days for €56, and 6 days for €69. Honestly, I think the best deal is the one for 4 days but my friend and I were only visiting for 48 hours so we purchased 2-day passes. Let me break down for you each place we visited with the pass and the normal entry prices.
1. Palace of Versailles:
The Paris Museum Pass gives you access to the “Grands Appartements”, the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Bedchamber, the Queen’s Bedchamber, the apartments of “Mesdames” Louis XV’s daughters, exhibitions, the Trianon Castle and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette. You have the benefit of skipping the lines to purchase tickets but you do still have to stand in the security line that I mentioned above. The normal entry price is €18.
2. Louvre Museum:
With your Paris Museum Pass, you will gain fast entry into the Louvre which is a HUGE time saver. After all, this is the most popular museum in Paris! Also, the number of times you visit while the pass is active is unlimited! The normal entry price is €15.
3. Musée d’Orsay:
The Paris Museum Pass also gives you fast entry into the city’s second most popular museum, the Musée d’Orsay. The number of times you visit is unlimited as well. The normal entry price is €11.
There is no fast-track entry with the Paris Museum Pass into the Conciergerie, a former royal palace and prison where Marie Antoinette was held, but the line goes quickly! I would recommend visiting in the morning when it opens for shorter lines. The normal entry price is €8.50.
Even with the Paris Museum Pass, there is no getting around the security line at this medieval, Gothic chapel. However, the incredible 800 year old stain glass you will see is completely worth waiting in line for. I’d recommend visiting in the morning for shorter lines. Normal entry price is €8.50.
In the end, the total cost without the Paris Museum Pass would have been €61, therefore, we saved €19 each. €19 might not seem like a lot but the amount of time we saved because of the pass was invaluable. Also, we ambitiously wanted to visit Versailles during our quick 2-day trip so keep in mind that over half a day was spent outside the city center. If you choose to use the Paris Museum Pass for two days and only stay in the city, you can visit several more sights and save even more money than we did.
I would highly recommend this pass to anyone visiting Paris for the first-time, or for people like me who are returning for their 5th time but traveling on a budget! Overall, I think you will get the most value out of the 4-day pass or the 2-day if you plan on staying in the Paris city center the whole time. Are you a fan of city passes? Have you used the Paris Museum Pass before? I’d love to know in the comments below!