Paris Pass: Is It Right for You?

| September 28, 2014 | Reply

While planning our recent weekend in Paris, I came across the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass online, and decided to look into them before the trip and upon our arrival. The Paris Museum Pass is explicitly for museum entry, whereas the Paris Pass includes the Paris Museum Pass in addition to other benefits.

paris pass

Prices vary by length of time (2-, 4-, or 6-day pass) and are based on whether you need an adult/teen/child pass. I decided I would try out the Paris Pass for two out of the three days of the stay for me, my husband, and our 7-year-old daughter.

paris pass

A Paris Pass wallet comes ready with the Paris Museum Pass; a public transportation ticket valid for the metro, buses, train, and Montmarte Funicular cable car to the Sacré-Cœur; and an attraction pass that gains you entry into additional attractions (but not, for example, the Eiffel Tower).  Included in the book are additional discounts at restaurants and attractions.

The wallet is accompanied by a really helpful tour booklet in a variety of languages. I chose one in English/German/Spanish, and another in English/French/Portuguese. The book provides helpful city maps including street maps, attraction maps, and a metro map. There are also descriptions of the attractions available to you, along with hours and closures, and transportation options (metro stops, bus lines, etc.).  Because I did not study the book intensely in the beginning, I did not know about the transportation tips until the second day–it’s a huge help.

At the top: the Sacré-Cœur

At the top of the funicular: the Sacre-Couer

The pass provides not only admission, but the ability to skip the lines in some museums and attractions.

The pass provided entry into the Louvre

The pass provided entry into the Louvre

You can skip the lines to enter the Rodin Museum

You can skip the lines to enter the Rodin Museum

At other attractions, you still must collect a ticket at the ticket desk. The Hop On Hop Off bus ticket and the Bateaux Parisiens cruise tickets must each be picked up at their respective ticket offices.

Bateaux Parisiens river sightseeing boat

Bateaux Parisiens river sightseeing boat

View from the riverboat at night

View from the riverboat at night

 

What to ask yourself when considering a pass:

How long are we going to be in Paris? The passes are valid by calendar day, not 24-hour period.

What are we planning to visit?

We used our pass to enter the Sewer Museum, physically located in the sewers.  It stank.

We used our pass to enter Musee Des Egouts De Paris, physically located in the sewers. It was really cool down there (a great way to escape heat and humidity), but man, did it STINK.

How much public transportation will we use? We used it quite a bit.  Note: you can use the public transportation portion to take the train to the airport instead of taking a taxi if your pass is active.

The Metro pass really came in handy

The Metro pass really came in handy

We happened to make out on using our pass—we saved about 30 euro per adult (would have saved more, if not for Pentecost and Whit Monday holiday closures) and maybe 10 euro for my daughter; we also appreciated being able to skip lines, not having to deal with metro tickets from the start, and the very useful guidebook. We were there for three days, making it especially difficult to decide whether to get a 2- or 4-day pass. I opted for the 2-day pass. It was the right choice for us since there turned out to be museum closures for Whit Monday on our third day.

 

We used our pass to pop into Espace Dali Paris, the Salvador Dali museum.  Good stuff!

We used our pass to pop into Espace Dali Paris, the Salvador Dali museum. Good stuff.

No visit to Espace Dali Paris would be complete without a stop at the photo booth!

No visit to Espace Dali Paris would be complete without a stop at the photo booth!

 

The biggest down side to the pass: unless you have it mailed to you in time for your trip, there is only one pick-up point: a tiny candy shop, Les Delices at 33 rue Poissonniere
 75002 Paris, that opens at 10:00 a.m. The Paris Museum Pass is much easier to obtain, as there are venues throughout the city, including at the airport and some museums themselves. I waited for almost an hour in line to pick up my pass. You could say that you make this up in the lines you bypass at museums, but the museum lines weren’t too bad during our visit, so it seemed to be a wash. It is not very convenient to be halfway through the day before you’re heading to your first stop. That said, if you’re getting in one afternoon and plan to pick it up then but not activate it until the next day, that could work out well for you.

Make sure you know the full- and half-day closures of the Paris Pass office since a few of them coincide with holiday weekends that you might be considering a convenient time to travel.

You also have to show up to the Big Bus main office to pick up your Hop on Hop off ticket if you plan to use it, but there was only a few-minute wait. We personally used the bus to go only half of the route, see certain sights, and then hop off for good rather than take the full route.  We are quite aware of how long a full loop around a tourist city can take!

We were satisfied having used the pass and found ourselves wondering if they had similar ones for other cities we are planning to visit. If you do some quick math on how much you plan to see, do, and get around, you could find it’s a convenient money-saver for you.

Good thing her ticket was cheaper!

Good thing her ticket was cheaper!

 

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Category: Europe, FAMILY, Family Travel, France, In Germany A Broad blog, Travel, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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