- the connoisseur's guide to France
THE END OF COVID RESTRICTIONS ARE IN SIGHT.... Maybe. Hopefully,
by mid 2021, Paris will be opening up again for travel and tourism, but
until then, don't take anything for granted. International travellers
may well need to have some kind of covid certificate, either proof of a
recent negative test or proof of vaccination. The arguments about this
are ongoing between governments, countries, the EU, travel
operators and the tourism sector. Expect some clarification by May. A
certificate of vaccination is likely to open up most doors... Get
vaccinated, if not for your own sake, then just so that you are less
risk to others.
There's a massive amount of advertising on the Internet to
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.
passes are not essential, but they are
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
Visitors who take a full pass including travel can
also just walk on to buses and
metros, saving even more time.
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
: to visit Versailles, you can buy a half-day
from Paris City Vision, or make your own way to
Versailles by RER train.
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 . If you have a combined transport
and attractions pass, you won't have the hassle of needing to buy a
time you take public transport.
Compare the main different Paris Passes:
updated 2021 prices
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 104.90 € for two days. Check
out or buy
: The most comprehensive of the all-in-one
pass: includes museums (Louvre, Orsay etc.), travel,
sightseeing. Adult passes start at 132 €uros for 2
our or buy
Paris: Only available for
Does not include public transport (so add 21.50€ if
transport too). 2021 price info not yet available More
visite: Travel only -
just a Paris public transport pass.
2 day adult pass zones 1-3: 21.50 € More
Museum pass : Museums only : just gives entry into the
(Louvre, Orsay etc.) 2 day pass 52 € . More
Paris passes for content and standard prices - updated for 2020
museums and attractions
hop-off tour bus
: 132 €
Youth : 75 €
Child : 40 €
: 104.90 €
Youth : 39.90 €
Child : 19.90 €
: 119 €
Youth : 70 €
Child : 35 €
: 105 € (2020)
Child : 45 € (2020)
: 52 €
Under-18 : Free
: 166 €
Youth : 95 €
Child : 55 €
: 124.90 €
Youth : 49.90 €
Child : 29.90 €
: 139 €
Youth : 79 €
Child : 39 €
: 66 €
Under-18 : Free
Buy online in advance
discount when you book from About-France.com. Code Aboutfrance
Buy in advance or at the first museum you visit, or at Paris visitor
passes are offered for periods of 2 days, 3 days, 4 days,
sometimes 5 days, and 6 days. The Paris Pass'lib is also
available for just one day, this "mini" version just
includes the hop-on tour bus and a Seine river cruise; but at
40 € for one adult, it is 20% more expensive than the Combo bus
tour + Seine cruise
offered by Paris City Vision
IMPORTANT: Eiffel Tower :
of the Paris passes include the Eiffel Tower.
pass offers a second floor Eiffel Tower ticket for 20 €
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
or your The
online, then buy Eiffel tower ticket
online from the official site. See Eiffel
The passes in more detail....
- The Paris Pass
, the Paris
City Pass and Go Paris
two 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
lots more. They both include the Louvre, Orsay museum for the
Impressionists, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the
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.
your pass in advance, and avoid
the queues to get in.
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
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 a hop-on hop-off bus tour and a Seine River cruise
too. For information, the adult two days Paris Passlib
pas costs 119 € at the start of 2021 ....
a bit more than the Paris
- Go Paris .
This is a version of the Paris Pass but without public transport:, and
it's only available as a two-day package. And it's pretty difficult to
make economic use of this card, taking the bus tour and the
river cruise and visiting several sights all in the space of two days,
if you don't use public transport to get from place to place
and then back to your hotel. So add in just a pack of ten
public-transport tickets (a "carnet") at 16.90 €, and the cost
to over 120 €.
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
Visite", though this is not necessarily the
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
PARIS VISITE PUBLIC TRANSPORT PASS if you have bought, or plan to buy,
a Paris Pass or Paris City Pass for visiting attractions and museums.
Public transport is
already included in the Paris Passes. See above
Visite - gives unlimited use of the metro / RER / bus
network for a given numer of days. Prices
start at €12 for a one day adult pass covering zones 1 to 3
€uros for 2 days
(As of Jan
Full details in English, plus downloadable Paris
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 - a "carnet"
- (valid until they are used) from
the machine at any metro station will cost you € 16.90,
a two-day Paris
visite card will cost you €19.50 (see below) . You buy packs of
tickets from the machines in all stations or, when there is one, from a
ticket booth. Paper tickets are still valid in 2021, but are scheduled
to be phased out. After that, visitors will need to buy a "Navigo Easy"
pass, which costs 2 €, onto which they can then load individual
tickets, or more sensiblyè a carnet of ten trips... plus any suburban
travel tickets they may need. Navigo Easy cards are available from all
machines and also in some shops. Each traveller needs his or her own
Navigo Easy card... including kids. So four people travelling together need four cards, as each will need a card to get through the turnstiles.
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 ticket
(unless renewing). If you want to buy it on line in advance,
only do so here (official site):
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
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......
Museum pass [Museums
giving unlimited admission to some 60
monuments / museums in and around Paris, excluding the Eiffel Tower. Prices
start at 52
€uros for two days or 66€ for four days.
This pass - best
on the day at
the first museum you visit - does
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 and the Paris City
tickets à la carte :
Just buy tickets
you have time to see. Check out sightseeing bus tickets and
river-bus tickets below; check out prices for individual monuments on
their websites, which are listed at the foot of our Paris tourist attractions page.
Tickets for many attractions can now be bought on the
attraction's own website, and with an online ticket (print your own or
on your phone) you don't need to stand in a queue to buy on the spot.
- The Paris Explorer Pass
This a different sort of pass. Users choose 3, 5 or 7
the 19 attractions on offer, to be visited within a period of
days. However unlike other passes, this pass does not include main
museums, and several of the 19 attractions are not among the most
visited in Paris. Prices start at 79 € for three
which certainly provides a discount on the combined prices of
three main attractions, but is not particularly interesting if you
include one or more of the cheaper attractions on the list of
One advantage of the Paris Explorer pass is that it can
include the second floor (not the top) of the Eiffel Tower. However, be
warned; the date and time of the Eiffel tower visit has to be booked in
advance, and the claimed 45€ value of the
flooor of the Eiffel Tower can be misleading. The actual cost of access
to the second floor of the Eiffel tower is not 45€ but just
€ if you take the elevator (lift), and just 10.20 €
if you walk up (see
Paris Explorer pass will be of most interest to visitors spending a
longer time in Paris, who do not want to have to visit all the
monuments in the space of less than a week;
to be visited should be chosen carefully, otherwise the pass
could cost more than the sum of individual entrance tickets.
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
optional Batobus service on the Seine). Alternatively Big
Bus Tours (formerly les Cars Rouges) run open-top
buses linking nine major
sites; a two-day
pass costs 39€ if paid on the bus. B
"Batobus" and travel on the Seine.
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
day pass in 2019 costs 17 €, and a 2-day pass
(consecutive days) costs 19
€ per adult.
often the easiest
- Travel in France
- Where to go
What to see and do
solution, but not necessarily the cheapest
way to visit Paris ...
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
including museums, monuments, views, places to walk, tours, concert
halls, cabarets, restaurants and cafés. No-one has time to
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
you want to take in at least three paid entry attractions a day
(between monuments, museums, river cruise...) . If so,
City Pass is probably your best value option,
- Do you want primarily to visit Paris's world-class musuems,
more than other attractions? If so, the Museum Pass may be your best
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
and riverbanks, and enjoying the bars and cafés ?
If so, you
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.
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...
- 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. If you want a pass
including hop-on hop-off buses, the go for The