Using the Paris Museum Pass: Worth the Cost?

If you are headed to Paris and plan to do some sightseeing, one of the most useful items out there you can consider purchasing is the Paris Museum Pass. Yes there are several different passes out there like the Paris Pass, The Paris Turbo Pass, and a few others, but in my opinion, they are not worth the money. Here are my thoughts on the 4 day pass I used when I was in Paris.

The Pass Basics

The Paris Museum Pass is sold in the 2,4 and 6 day increments and ranges in price from 48 to 74 Euros. It will allow you access one time to every museum on its list. The full list is available on the official website here and includes the biggies such as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Musee D’Oray, Orangerie, and Versailles.

The pass is not activated until you officially visit your first site. From there you have exactly 48, 96 or 144 hours to use the pass. The Paris Museum pass must be used on consecutive days. It is very easy to use and can save you time and money if you are able to visit at least 2-4 museums in a day.

Note!! Free Entry Based on Age

Remember that if you are under the age of 18 many museum sites are free or charge and only require an ID card. If you are an EU citizens and under 26, you are also free to many places. If you are a senior citizen, the discounted rates at many museums will be a better deal than the Pass.

Many museums are also free to the public on the first Sunday of the month!

Obtaining A Pass

The Chateau of Versailles

I thought it would be easy to order the pass online and have it shipped to my home; to my surprise, the Paris Museum pass would cost about $25 dollars to ship to me and take a few days. I had no intentions of spending more money than I needed to and decided it would be easiest to just buy the pass when I reached Paris. I wanted to narrow down the list of museums I was going to try to see to work out if I wanted the 2 or the 4 day pass.

If you are flying into Paris’ Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport, you can purchase the pass at the Tourist Information center near the arrivals hall. Another option is to purchase it from a museum on the list or at one of the visitor information centers within Paris or the surrounding area. The full list of places is available here.

I do not recommend buying the pass at the Louvre or at the Musee D’Orsay. Those lines can be rather long. I personally picked mine up at the Visitor Information center near the Louvre on the Rue de Rivoli. It was helpful to pick up a map and figure out what pass would work best for me after speaking to a visitor information concierge.

The Pros

Saint Chapelle

For my needs, I am a person who really enjoys flexibility and being able to fit in as many sites and museums as possible. I ended up purchasing the 4 day pass and found that I easily recouped my money by day 3.

When I was visiting the Orangerie and Cluny Museums, I was sad to find that the majority of the permanent galleries were under renovation and there was very little to actually see. If I had paid the full amount of a ticket to get into the museum, I would not have been a very happy tourist. With the Museum Pass, I just scanned in, took in what was available and headed onto my next destination.

The Museum Pass does not require you to wait in the ticket line at most locations and can act as a “fast track” pretty much everywhere except for Versailles.

The Cons

The largest con I found came up on my first night in Paris. I wanted to try to get into the Louvre Museum as it was open late on Tuesday evenings. Unfortunately, very recently the Louve began requiring Museum Pass holders to make a free timed reservation to enter the museum with the pass. For my desired time and day, the slots were sold out. I ended up buying a ticket. The Museum Pass website didn’t mention this, but the Louvre site does.

The pass also only allows for one entry and does not allow for in and out privileges into the museum. I didn’t finish seeing the Louvre in one day and decided to head back on a different date and time to finish my viewing. The reservation on the Louvre website was easy to make, but make sure you make one as soon as you obtain your pass.

The Paris Museum Pass does not allow the holder to see any special exhibits at various museums. Tickets must be purchased separately. If you are visiting the gardens of Versailles on a date they are hosting the musical fountains, you will be asked to buy a separate ticket.

Museum Pass Versus Other Passes

Arc de Triomphe

The largest difference between the Paris Pass and Turbo Pass is the cost of the passes. The Museum Pass does not come with the fancy “extras” such as a Metro card, Big Bus tour, and Seine River cruise. Unless you plan to buy the 4, 5, or 6 day pass, you really will not have the time to maximize everything in those passes. The passes start at 131 Euros!

I found myself using the carnet (book of 10 Metro tickets) for about about 15 Euro perfect for 4 days of use. I didn’t plan to use the Metro extensively and really preferred to walk around and explore Paris. The Metro card that comes with the Paris Pass is not valid for travel to the Airports or to Versailles. You will need a separate ticket.

I did see a lot of Big Buses and it can be helpful to understand the layout of the city that way, but the Big Bus tour will kill an entire day. The traffic in Paris is awful and it really can take 2-3 hours to complete one loop around the city. I also noted that many of the busses were crowded and did turn away some tourists and advise them to wait for the next bus.

Lastly the the Seine cruise, I found that the a lot of the major companies offered competitive rates! I only paid about 10 Euros for my nighttime cruise with the Vendettes du Pont Neuf company. I made my reservation about a half hour to 45 minutes before the tour and was just fine.

I travel on a budget and for me, the “extras” are not worth spending the money, but worth buying on their own. With that being said, you may prefer having a pass that offers these features and may get more use out of the metro pass and other items than myself. All I can advise you on is what I know based on my own experiences.

Other Thoughts and Information

If you are hoping to having a relaxing trip to Paris, you may not even want to purchase a pass. You may find it a better option to buy tickets separately based on where you are interested in going. Just ensure that you use the pass around your plans and not the other way around.

I would highly recommend that wherever you are hoping to visit that you check their opening and closing times ahead of time. You do not want to activate your pass and find that the Museums you really want to see are all closed on Monday or a gallery is closed. Do a little research and it will really make your experience less stressful and more exciting! Hope this post helps you! Until next time, happy travels.