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Paris tourist passes - pros & cons

For some visitors, a pass will be very useful; for others it will not serve much purpose

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Aware of the choice already? Jump straight to the Pass Comparer
 There's a massive amount of advertising on the Internet to encourage anyone interested in visiting Paris to buy a tourist pass. For some visitors, a pass will definitely be worth having; but for others a pass is quite unnecessary.  Check out the pros and the cons with this clear guide.

Visitor passes are not essential, but they are very valuable

You will want a pass if....

You value your limited time in Paris, and don't want to waste too much time standing in queues. With a Paris tourist pass in your pocket, you can "skip the lines", i.e. avoid most of the queues that form outside the entrance to all the main monuments and museums... and that can mean litterally saving several hours of queueing if you visit Paris during a popular period. If you value your time, you'll value a pass.
There are several different Paris visitor passes available.
To find the one that's best for your needs : Jump straight to the Pass Comparer
   Visitors who take a full pass including travel can also just walk on to buses and metros, saving even more time.

You will not need a pass if...

You have all the time in the world while visiting Paris. If you're not pressed for time while in Paris, or don't want to visit a lot of monuments, attractions and museums in a short space of time, there's no point in buying a pass unless you still want to avoid queuing for tickets at the main museums or monuments.
   If you plan to visit just a couple of attractions or museums in a day, or want to spend a whole day in the Louvre or taking a trip out to Versailles, for example, it will be a lot cheaper to buy tickets individually. You can buy print@home e-tickets on the official sites for the Louvre or the Musée d'Orsay : to visit Versailles, you can buy a half-day coach tour from Paris City Vision, or make your own way to Versailles by RER train.

 

Ticket queues and security queues

Even if you have a pass, you may need to queue to get past security... or just to show the pass. But you won't need to waste time standing in a line to buy a ticket for each visit you make – nor, if you have a combined transport and attractions pass, having the hassle of having to buy a ticket each time you take public transport.


Compare the main  different Paris Passes:  2018

  • Paris City Pass : Recommended by About-France.com The cheapest and best value of the all-in-one pass: includes museums (Louvre, Orsay etc.) , travel and sightseeing. Adult passes start at 99.9 € for two days. Check out or buy
  • Paris Pass : The most comprehensive  of the all-in-one pass: includes museums (Louvre, Orsay etc.), travel, sightseeing. Adult passes start at 131 €uros for 2 days.  Check our or buy
  • Paris visite: Travel only - just a Paris public transport pass.  More info here
  • Paris Museum pass : Museums only : just gives entry into the main museums (Louvre, Orsay etc.). More info here

Compare  Paris passes for content and sample prices
What is included.. Paris Pass
Biggest choice
Paris City Pass
Best value
Paris Visite
Transport only
Paris Museum Pass
Website Paris Pass Paris City Pass Paris transport Museum Pass
Metro, buses  Yes Yes Yes No
Main museums and attractions Yes Yes No Yes
Eiffel Tower  No No No No
Seine river cruise  Yes Yes No No
Hop-on hop-off tour bus Yes No No No
Monet museum No No No No
Prices - 2 Days Adult :  131 €  
Youth :  81 €
Child : 44 €
Adult :  99.90 €  
Youth :  39.90 €
Child : 19.90 €
Adult :  21,50 €
Child : 10,80 €
Adult :  48 €  
Under-18  :  Free
Prices - 4 Days Adult :  189 €  
Youth :  106 €
Child : 56 €
Adult :  159.90 €  
Youth :  59.90 €
Child : 35.90 €
5 days:
Adult 42.50 €
Child  21.10 €
Adult :  62 €  
Under-18  :  Free
Info and buy Paris Pass

Buy online in advance
Paris City Pass

Buy online in advance
Paris transport
Buy in advance or at any metro station
(included in Paris Pass and City Pass)
Museum Pass
Buy in advance or at the first museum you visit, or at Paris visitor centres

Note: Most passes are offered for periods of 2 days, 3 days, 4 days, sometimes 5 days, and 6 days. The Paris Visite travel pass is also available for just one day.
IMPORTANT: Eiffel Tower : None of the Paris passes include the Eiffel Tower. (One pass offers a second floor Eiffel Tower ticket for 15 € extra... But a second floor ticket is only 11 € on the official Eiffel Tower site !) Tower access must always be purchased separately, or as part of  certain specific tours . Buy your Paris City Pass or your  Paris Pass online, then buy Eiffel tower ticket online from the official site. See Eiffel Tower information.

The passes in more detail....

  • The Paris Pass   and the Paris City Pass  
    These both include Skip the line at Museums and other attractions, Seine cruise,  and public transport
    These are both "all you need" passes covering transport, museums and attractions. They are very similar,  giving free admission to some 60 monuments / museums in and around Paris, plus free use of public transport (buses and metro) , a Seine river cruise, a free Paris guide book,  and lots more. They both include the Louvre, Orsay museum for the Impressionists,  Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the Dali museum and more - but not the Eiffel Tower. 
       The main difference between these two passes - apart from the price - is that the Paris Pass includes a hop-on hop-off bus tour bus, the Paris City Pass does not. Both passes include normal Paris public transport.
    Buy your pass in advance, and avoid the queues to get in. 
    It is pretty well impossible to visit everything covered by these two inclusive passes, even with a five or six day pass, as the list of attractions covered includes several that are well outside Paris. And the passes do not include cafés and restuarants where you will want to stop off and relax
  • Paris Pass'Lib . This is a composite product sold by the Paris Tourist office. It includes the Paris Visite pass and a Paris Museum Pass, and in theory a hop-on hop-off bus tour and a Seine River cruise too. But in April 2018, the Paris Tourist Office website said that the Pass'Lib is unavailable. For information, the two days Paris Passlib pas cost 124 € in 2016....  so quite a bit more than the Paris City Pass.
  • Paris visite:  [Public transport only ]

    Visitors who plan to use lots of public transport in Paris but don't want to visit lots of museums and sites  may find that the best or cheapest solution is to take a visitor's pass, "Paris Visite", though this is not necessarily the case (see below). The Paris Visite passes are available on a 1, 2, 3 or 5 day basis, and cover all types of official public transport in the central area or central area and suburbs, depending on the option chosen.
      DO NOT BUY A PARIS VISITE PUBLIC TRANSPORT PASS if you have bought, or plan to buy, a Paris Pass for visiting attractions and museums. Public transport is already included in the Paris Passes.  See above 
       Paris Visite
    - gives unlimited use of the metro / RER / bus network for a given numer of days. Prices start at €13.20 for a one day adult pass covering zones 1 to 3 or 21.50 €uros for 2 days (As of Jan 2018). Full details in English, plus downloadable Paris Metro and public transport maps from the official Paris visitor website.  However, it's worth noting that a two-day Paris visite pass is only worth it if you plan to do a lot of trips on the metro or buses in a day. Buying a pack of ten individual journey tickets (valid until they are used) from the machine will cost you € 14.90, whereas buying a two-day Paris visite card will cost you  €21.50 (see below)

    Take care...  Where to buy Paris visite pass ?
    The simplest is to buy it when you reach France, from any Paris area train / metro station, airport, information point or tourist office. Buy it at the ticket office, not from a machine (unless renewing). If you want to buy it on line in advance, only do so here; you'll get the tickets at the official price, but you will pay extra (at least 9 Euros) to have them mailed to you. DO NOT purchase in advance from other online websites that sell these tickets well above the real cost, and charge excessively for delivery too. You could end up paying double the cost......
  • Paris Museum pass  [Museums only ]
    - giving unlimited admission to some 60 monuments / museums in and around Paris, excluding the Eiffel Tower. Prices start at 48 €uros for two days or 62€ for four days.  This pass - best purchased on the day at the first museum you visit -  does not include any transport, so things like Seine river cruises, metro tickets and sightseeing tours must be purchased separately. See below. The Paris Museum Pass is included in the Paris Pass (see above). 
  • Choose tickets à la carte :  
    Just buy tickets for what you have time to see. More info here
Other passes:
  • Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus pass  The Open-Tour /Cityrama service, has a choice of hop-on hop-off passes from 33 € for a one-day pass, and covers four different routes (plus optional Batobus service on the Seine). Alternatively Big Bus Tours (formerly les Cars Rouges) run open-top guided tour buses linking nine major sites; a two-day pass costs  39€ if paid on the bus. B
  • The "Batobus" and travel on the Seine. The Batobus are river buses that go up and down the Seine from the Eiffel tower to the quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame). There are 8 stops in all. An adult day pass in early 2018 costs 17 €, and a 2-day pass (consecutive days) costs 19 € per adult.

PASSES are often the easiest solution, but not necessarily the cheapest way to visit Paris ...

 Choosing which pass is best for you, or whether you actually need a pass at all, will depend untimately on what sights you want to see, what you want to do in Paris, and how long you are staying.  Paris has litterally hundreds of different tourist sights (see Paris tourist attractions), including museums, monuments, views, places to walk, tours, concert halls, cabarets, restaurants and cafés. No-one has time to see everything. In fact, most tourists, in the space of a short trip to Paris, can do no more than scratch the surface.
  So before choosing a pass, or no pass, ask yourself the following questions.
  1. Do you want to take in at least three paid entry attractions a day (between monuments, museums, river cruise...)  . If so, the Paris City Pass is probably your best value option, 
  2. Do you want primarily to visit Paris's world-class musuems, more than other attractions? If so, the Museum Pass may be your best solution.
  3. Do you want to avoid the big paid-entry sites, with their queues, and enjoy Paris by visiting smaller museums, taking in Paris's free attractions (including museums), soaking in the atmosphere of the old streets and riverbanks, and enjoying the bars and cafés ? If so, you don't need a pass at all, it would be a waste of money. Just pay at the entrance to the paid-entry sites you visit, and enjoy the others for free.
  4. Do you plan to use the metro or buses more than 5 times in a day, including getting to and from your hotel located in central Paris or the inner suburbs? If so, the Paris Visite transport pass might be worth it.. but note that it is included in the various City passes anyway...
  5. Do you want to pack in as much as possible in a short space of time, including the main sights ?  If so, the Paris City Pass is your best value option.


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