Paris Museum Pass Helps Save on Admission Fees

Paris Museum Pass Helps Save on Admission Fees

Since I’m a big museum buff, I knew that I’d be spending a lot of time visiting museums while I was in Paris.  As part of my pre-departure research, I prepared a pretty long list of museums that I’d like to visit, and while I knew that I would only be able to see a fraction of those on the list, I quickly realized that admission fees were going to add up right quick.

Further research turned up the Paris Museum Pass, a multi-day, multi-admission pass, that would save both time and money.

Museum d'Orsay in Paris has a great collection of Impressionist Paintings

Museum d'Orsay in Paris has a great collection of Impressionist Paintings

Since time was at a premium while I was there, the saving time part grabbed my attention.  Museums in Paris are notorious for long lines, and the ability to bypass the line for immediate admission meant the potential for a big time saver.  With only five days, I knew that I couldn’t take advantage of the many FREE or reduced admission days, and I knew that I needed to make every half hour count!

I calculated out the cost of the pass and balanced it against admissions to the museums that I knew I would see, and I came out slightly ahead financially.  When I factored in the skipping of the lines and the museums on the maybe list, it cemented the deal.

The pass is activated on your first museum visit, so you can buy it in advance and have it ready to go.  I picked mine up at the Louvre, the first museum that I visited.  The process to buy the pass took about half an hour, so I’d recommend buying in advance.  Still, we passed the time chatting with some nice folks there, got some restaurant and shopping suggestions, and it was just fine,

How did the pass work out for me?

With a 4-day pass, I visited eight museums:  Arc de Triomphe (a monument more than a museum),  Centre Pompidou, Conciergerie, Louvre, Museum d’Orsay, Pantheon, Rodin Museum, and Sainte-Chapelle.

The pass can be purchased for 2, 4, or 6 days, and it currently is selling for 32, 48, and 64 respectively.   The Paris Museum Pass can be purchased online, at any Paris Tourist Office, or at any of the museums or monuments that are covered by it,

Based on the exchange rate at the time, I saved about $16 in admission fees.  Additionally, my skipping the lines, I saved between 3-4 hours of time.  So this was a big WIN for me.

Based on my experiences, here are some recommendations that I’d make:

  • Calculate out what you want to see and how much it will cost to buy individual admission tickets.
  • Check to see if the museums you want to see are covered by the pass.  The Paris Museum Pass covers museums and monuments, so check the list to see what’s covered.
  • Check to see if you can take advantage of any free museum days or reduced costs.  Most museums are FREE admission for those under 16, and offer a reduced admission for those ages 16-25.  Most also offer at least one day a month where admission is FREE.
  • You can opt for a shorter pass, thereby saving money, if you’re willing to cram all your museum visits into a few days.  This may work well for adults, but might not be a good choice if you’re traveling with kids, so think about the pace you want for your trip.
  • Temporary exhibits at museums are usually excluded, so if there’s one you want to see, be prepared for an additional charge.
  • The pass covers monuments and museums in Paris, as well as the surrounding area.

I think my favorite stop was the Museum d’Orsay, followed very closed by the Rodin Museum.  There are still many, many that I didn’t see, so next time I’m back in Paris, I’ll be buying the Paris Museum Pass once again.

Photo credit: Mary Jo Manzanares

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Israel, Stockholm, and a Baltic cruise.

9 Responses to “Paris Museum Pass Helps Save on Admission Fees”

  1. November 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    I agree, the pass is great, whether for first time or repeat visitors. In addition to the advantages you listed, here are two things I especially enjoyed about the pass from my last visit: 1, I could go to a huge museum like the Louvre for an hour or two, see one or two sections, and not feel like I had to do it all, since I could come back again another day, and 2, I could go into a museum/monument I wasn’t sure about and check it out without feeling like I was wasting money (for me, that was Napoleon’s Tomb this time–I’d never gone inside in previous visits and it wasn’t my favorite, but it was worth spending a few minutes since I was in the area and didn’t have to pay due to the pass).

    • November 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

      Hi Sheri, thanks for the comment!

      Those are two more excellent reasons why the pass is such a great bargain. We broke the Louvre into two visits, which, I think, made it more enjoyable. Sometimes you just get on art overload and need a break for something else. If you have an hour or two it’s nice to take advantage of that time, instead of feeling like you have to wait for a longer time frame.

      While we had our visits fairly well mapped out, the ability to pop in quickly, and leave just as quickly, is another real plus. If you like the place, great — what a find! But if not, you don’t need to feel guilty for leaving!

      GREAT suggestions! And thanks for stopping by!


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  3. The Louvre: A Love Affair With Art | Traveling with MJ - September 2, 2010

    […] Louvre Tickets:  There are several ticket options to see the Louvre.  Tickets for the permanent collections are €9,50 (about $12.25) and provides access for everything except the temporary exhibitions in the Hall Napoléon.  It is also valid for the Delacroix Museum.  Wednesday and Friday evening tickets (6 pm – 9:45 pm) are €6 (about $7.75).  Tickets for temporary and special exhibitions in the Hall Napoléon are €11 (about $14.15).  If you want to view both the permanent and temporary collections, a combined ticket represents the best value at €14 (about $18).  The Louvre is also covered by the Paris Museum Pass. […]

  4. Paris Pantheon: Finding Where the Bodies Are Buried | Traveling with MJ - October 3, 2010

    […] unemployed.  Group rates and school rates are also available.  The Pantheon is included on the Paris Museum Pass.  If you’ll be visiting several attractions, that’s a cost efficient […]

  5. The Arc de Triomphe: The Triumph of Paris — Traveling with MJ - November 21, 2011

    […] Admission:  There is no charge to walk around and explore the base of the arch.  Access to the top is € 9,50 for adults.  Those under 18 years of age (26 years for EU citizens) are admitted free, as are disabled visitors and their escorts, and the unemployed.  Discounts are often available.  Admission is also covered by the Paris Museum Card. […]

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    […] The Pantheon is included on the Paris Museum Pass.  If you’ll be visiting several attractions during your stay, the pass may be a great […]

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    […] children, and groups.  Special exhibits subject to additional fee.  The museum is covered by the Paris Museum Pass, which also allows you to proceed directly to the front for admission, and bypass any […]

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