Is the Paris Museum Pass Worth it?

Paris Museum Pass value

Opinions on the value of city passes vary widely, with some people viewing them as tourist scams and others seeing them as huge savings. When I was planning my visit to Paris, I did a lot of research to find out if the Paris passes were worth it and decided that the two-day Paris museum pass offered more for our money. The transportation, cruise, and Eiffel Tower add-ons that come with the Paris city passes for sale didn’t provide the same value as the museum passes alone did based on our travel plans.

Paris, France from the top of Notre Dame - Is the Paris Museum Pass worth it?

View from the top of Notre Dame

Are they right for you?

 

The potential value of the passes depends a lot on the way you like to travel and how you plan your itinerary. I’m a go-getter who’d be out the door first thing in the morning and going non-stop until everything closes if it were left to me. I’ll happily pack in four or five attractions in a single day. The museum passes are ideally suited to someone with my touring style because I can hit a bunch of locations in the same day for way less money than I would’ve spent otherwise. If you’re into slow travel and spending leisurely afternoons at cafes, the Paris museum pass probably isn’t for you.

The chief argument I see against the Paris museum passes is the fact that no one will ever be able to visit all of the locations in that amount of time. And that’s true, at least if you want to have a meaningful visit. Sure, you could probably visit all of the sites for five minutes if you wanted to, but that would be kind of pointless because you’d be running from one to the next, showing your pass, snapping a picture, and then moving on. You can, however, have a good visit by selecting the top places you want to see and visiting a few each day.

The key to determining whether the Paris Museum Pass is worth it or not is to pick out the places you want to visit and decide how much time you want to dedicate to them. If you plan on devoting an entire day to the Louvre, the Paris Museum Pass probably isnn’t a good value for you. If you’re content with seeing the highlights of the Louvre over the course of 2-3 hours and moving on to something else, the pass might work out well for you. If you’re going to be in Paris for a week and want to take your time just soaking up the atmosphere instead of running from attraction to attraction, the pass probably won’t work out in your favor. On the other hand, if you’re like us, and only had about three days in town, the passes are ideal.

Greek statue in the Louvre - Paris Museum Pass value

You can’t go to Paris without visiting the Louvre.

Calculating the value of the Paris Museum Pass

 

We paid 48 euros/person for our 2-day Paris Museum passes, and I felt that we got a lot of value for our money. 4-day museum passes are available for 64 euros and 6-day passes cost 72 euros each. You can view the full list of attractions that the museum passes cover here and we used that as a basis for deciding whether or not to buy them. We made a list of our top places to see in Paris and came up with: Versailles, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Pantheon, and Sainte Chappelle. We paid separately for our tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tower (the Paris city pass includes an Eiffel Tower visit, but you need to pay extra for the elevator to the top, which we wanted to do), our river cruise (we paid for a nicer one that included drinks and crepes) and transit passes (we wanted ones that covered different zones because of our itinerary).

 
Attraction
Cost (updated April 2018)
Versailles
18 euros (specific admission times are 27 euros)
Louvre
15 euros
Orsay
12 euros
Notre Dame
10 euros (to climb to the top – visits to the church itself are free)
Arc de Triomphe
8 euros (to climb to the top)
Pantheon
9 euros
Sainte Chappelle
10 euros

If we had paid for admission to all of these places, we would’ve spent 82 euros per person. We saved 34 euros each, which was more than 40% savings, by using the  Paris Museum Pass. Granted, we probably wouldn’t have climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe if it hadn’t been included in the passes, but even subtracting those 8 euros, we’d still come out ahead. Having the passes freed us from the “is it really worth 8 euros?” debate and we just went for it with no hesitation, and I’m glad we did.

We managed to fit Versailles, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe in on day one and then did the Pantheon, Sainte Chappelle, and the Orsay on day two.  Read about how we managed that in my 3-day Paris itinerary post. Both days were very manageable time-wise, although we didn’t spend as much time at Versailles as we would’ve in nicer weather. Notre Dame could easily have been done on day two, as we walked right past it on the way to Sainte Chappelle and we had plenty of time for leisurely meals that day.

Upper level of Sainte Chappelle - Is the Paris Museum Pass worth it?

The upper level of Sainte Chapelle is a must-see.

 

Saving time with the Paris Museum Pass

The other great benefit of buying the Paris Museum Passes was that we didn’t have to stand in a single ticket line the whole trip. We ordered our passes online beforehand and they were mailed to us at home, so all we had to do was walk right up to the entrance at our first attraction to activate them. Visiting in the off-season meant that the lines were shorter, but it still saved us close to an hour of time over the course of our two days.

When deciding whether or not to purchase the Paris Museum Pass, it’s best to do your research beforehand and take into account your travel style – you know yourself and your group better than anyone else. The passes can be a great value if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, but lose their appeal on a slower paced trip. Even if you do the math and find out that you’d only break even or come out a few euros short, they add the time savings of not having to stand in lines, which I think provides value in and of itself.

Read more about our trip to Paris:

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips

Are tourist passes like the Paris Museum Pass and Paris City Pass worth their cost? We used ours to see top Paris attractions like Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Pantheon while saving over 40% compared to individual admission. If you're looking for how to save money in Paris without missing out on iconic attractions, this may be the key. | Things to do in Paris | Paris budget tips | #Paris | #France | #BudgetTravel | Paris City Pass | Paris tips
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About

29 Comments

  • Tanvi Rastogi (@Tanviidotcom) March 15, 2017 at 11:45 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Most of the times if you are doing more than two attractions the pass is often the better deal. Next time I am in Paris I will check this pass out.

    ❥ tanvii.com

  • Melai March 15, 2017 at 11:47 am Reply

    This is informative. We also bought a museum pass when we were in Paris, and though the number of museums we were able to go in just breaks even to the cost of the museum pass – we were able to save a lot of time by not having to queue. So for us, it still worked and I recommend it. Just have to plan wisely. 🙂

    • nomadbytrade13 March 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm Reply

      Absolutely! The time savings themselves were worth buying the pass. We were there during a relatively slow time, but I still wouldn’t have wanted to wait in some of those lines.

  • Find Your World Girl (@findurworld) March 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm Reply

    So helpful having someone actually break down the math! I only visited the Louvre during my stay but it sounds great for museum-lovers!

  • Jessica March 15, 2017 at 8:28 pm Reply

    This is a great breakdown! I so often come across sites that say “You MUST buy this pass” for different cities but since we are traveling with our son, the fast pace to make it economical just doesn’t work very well. When we visited Paris when I was a teenager it totally would have made sense.

    • nomadbytrade13 March 15, 2017 at 9:10 pm Reply

      It’s so important to take your own travel style into account when planning things like this. A bargain for me could be a waste of money for your family, but as long as you do the math beforehand, you can make sure you come out ahead.

  • laurencocking March 16, 2017 at 1:47 am Reply

    I’m not waht you’d call a museum fan, but I think this post is an interesting comment on, like you say, passes that often seem ‘scammy’. Thanks for sharing!

  • Steph March 16, 2017 at 2:21 am Reply

    I love Paris and visit every year if I can, this year we just went to see a lot of the sights rather than actually go in or climb up, I didn’t realise the cost of many of them and it’s definitely something I’d look in to for future visits. Great info

  • Jin Chu-Ferrer March 16, 2017 at 4:49 am Reply

    Thanks for the very informative read! I’ve been to Paris many times but never thought about getting a museum pass! Now I know it’s worth it!

  • storiesofadventureblog March 16, 2017 at 5:59 am Reply

    Thanks for such an informative post! Will be buying a pass when I go to Paris as 34 euros is such a good saving!

    • nomadbytrade13 March 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm Reply

      It is a huge saving! Especially since there were three of us visiting. We saved over 100 euros together.

  • Natasha von Geldern (@AWanderingKiwi) March 16, 2017 at 7:43 am Reply

    An excellent post! I think these passes are usually worthwhile, even just to stop you worrying about whether you should spend another few euros on a world class museum.

    • nomadbytrade13 March 16, 2017 at 5:08 pm Reply

      I love the freeing aspect of them. It was so nice to not have to debate about whether we should shell out to climb Notre Dame or the Arc de Triomphe and just go for it. Plus, I’m not a huge art fan, but I didn’t want to visit Paris and not go to the Louvre at least, so using the passes kept me from feeling like I had to drag the visit out into a full day to get my money’s worth for my admission. We just showed up, saw the things we wanted to see, and then moved on.

  • WorldGlimpses March 16, 2017 at 7:19 pm Reply

    Fortunately, I had enough time when I was there. I’m reading your post, which is very helpful and informative for those on limited time, thinking to myself: “And when I remember that I’ve spent one whole day in Versailles…” 😀 You have some good tips so that people can actually use the time they have more efficiently, that’s really handy!

  • meghanramsey1 March 16, 2017 at 8:12 pm Reply

    When we went to Paris, I bought the Paris pass which included the Museum Pass. I LOVED having it. We skipped lots of lines, didn’t have to stress about buying tickets, and saved money. Have to agree that it is worth it! Thanks for sharing tips!

  • Bonita March 17, 2017 at 4:25 am Reply

    That is a huge saving. I would definitely go for the museum pass. Apart from savings, it is real value for money! Thanks for the info, I have always though they are a rip off!

  • pedmar10 March 17, 2017 at 9:51 am Reply

    Good breakdown of prices indeed, for one living here, I always tell friends and family coming over is if you are going to see at least 3 places maybe the passes are for you. To see all the places you mentioned the passes are good. Then ,as you righly said, it depends on what you come here to see.Cheers

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  • Steph March 19, 2017 at 7:55 am Reply

    That’s a good point about the passes saving you from wondering whether something is worth the cost, and about the time saved not standing in line. I don’t usually buy passes as I don’t like to whizz around too much in a day but I hadn’t thought of it like that before!

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