Hi Frugalistas! In my France Travel Planning Facebook group (you can click on this link to join now) there are always questions about whether to buy the Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass. Or whether buying any Paris attractions ticket was worth it. While there are many Paris city passes available, such as the Paris Passlib and the Paris Visite Pass, I’m sticking with a comparison of the Paris Pass vs Paris Museum Pass. Which is the best Paris attractions pass, and should you buy a Paris tourist pass at all?
Important update: this post is new and updated and is current as at March 2022. Many sites, including the Louvre, now require a timed entry ticket. If you purchase a pass, you still need to go onto the official website and book a free timed entry ticket.
Paris Pass vs Paris Museum Pass: Paris Museum Pass review
The Paris Museum Pass includes less than the Paris Pass, however, that does not mean it is less value for money. The Museum Pass includes entrance to 60 tourist attractions in Paris, including skip the line entrance where it is available. The Museum Pass Paris tourist pass does not include the Eiffel Tower and neither pass includes attractions such as Disneyland, the Paris Catacombs, the Jacquemart-Andrée Museum and the Marmottan Museum. While the Paris Museum Pass does include most of the popular places to visit in Paris that are on your Paris bucket list, it does not include the Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse Tower or the Opera Garnier.
The Paris Museum Pass is available as a 2, 4 or 6 day pass. Each pass must be used on consecutive days. This means you need to plan your itinerary for Paris carefully to make the best use of your pass. If you only have one day in Paris, it is clearly better value to buy individual skip the line tickets rather than a Museum Pass, but buying a Paris Museum Pass can still make sense because you can skip the lines.
Click here to buy hop on hop off bus tickets
But what do you do if you have three days in Paris? Easy. Just plan your Paris visit to do all your Museum Pass activities with a 2 day Paris Museum Pass and then do your non-pass activities via individual skip the line tickets to the other attractions you want to visit.
Is the Paris Pass worth it? Paris Pass review
I never used to recommend the Paris Pass for most visitors to Paris, because it was just not good value for money. But fast forward to 2022 and the Paris Pass is now better value for money, and may be a good option for some visitors.
Like the Museum Pass, the Paris Pass must be used on consecutive days. If you purchase a 3 day Paris Pass you need to be aware that only a 2 day Museum Pass will be included in your pass.
If you have purchased a Paris Pass previously, you will note these prices are much cheaper than they used to be – thank the lack of the super pricy Travelcard for this.
Things to consider before you buy a Paris tourist pass
Before you buy any Paris card, there are some important things to consider. Many museums and galleries are free for children under the age of 18, and are free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month (although of course they are very busy on those days).
There are some popular attractions that are closed one day during the week. This includes the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and Versailles. Depending on when you are visiting Paris this may impact on whether a Paris visit card of any type is a cheaper option for you. The Rick Steves Paris guide book has a very handy table of popular Paris attractions which includes when the various attractions are closed. You can buy your copy here:
The other important thing to remember is that regardless of whether you have a Paris Pass, a Paris Museum Pass or individual skip the line tickets you do still need to queue for security. This is particularly true at the Louvre, Versailles, Ste Chapelle and the Musée d’Orsay where queues can be quite long.
Neither pass offers guided tours of any of the places you are visiting – except where the Paris Pass explicitly says it is a tour. While you can skip the line, once inside you are on your own. In some places you will be provided with an audioguide. If you want a guided tour of popular Paris attractions are you better off booking individual tours.
If you prefer a guided tour I recommend Take Walks for small group tours of Paris. You can click here to view your options.
How to work out the best Paris attractions pass for you
You should not buy any Paris day pass until you have an outline of your plans. Don’t plan to do more than two museums per day or you will be overwhelmed. Allow a full day for Versailles. This will help determine what length pass you need.
Once you have decided a basic Paris trip itinerary you can compare the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass. If you want to use the hop on hop off bus add that to the cost of your museum pass. Similarly if you are interested in visiting any of the attractions not covered by the Museum Pass you need to add that to your costs.
If you have subscribed to my special France Travel Planning email list you will have received a free downloadable calculator to enable you to easily do your own comparison.
For those interested in the Paris Pass Card or the Paris Passlib you can use exactly the same methodology to compare those cards with the Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass.
Where to buy a Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass
You can buy your Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass at Tourist Information offices in Paris. You can also buy them at most attractions that are covered by the cards. However, the easiest way to purchase your pass is online before you travel. Then you can just pick up at your chosen location when you arrive. Buying online in advance allows you more time to compare prices and make sure you are buying the right product for you.
THE ULTIMATE PARIS ADDRESS BOOK is your insider address book to Paris with 100 pages and almost 500 listings of places to sleep, eat, shop and see. Listed by arrondissement, and with a section at the back for your own special finds, The Ultimate Paris Address Book is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional guide book to plan your trip to Paris. From where to find a charming country lane in the middle of Paris to the latest hip eatery in a fashionable arrondissement. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE
A good guide book is important if you are planning on using either pass:
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