Paris Pass Review and Better Options

The Paris Pass is advertised as a sightseeing city card that allows for free entry to 60+ Paris attractions and tours. In reality, the Paris Pass is a bundle of the following:

  • Paris Attractions Pass – entry to attractions like River Cruise & tour of Opera Garnier
  • Paris Museum Pass – unlimited entry to over 50 museums and monuments
  • Paris Visite Travelcard – unlimited travel on metro, RER, and buses
  • Day Pass for Big Bus Tour
  • Fast Track Entry to 4 Museums (including Louvre and Orsay)
  • Guidebook with useful information and special discounts

Paris Pass Collection

When you purchase the Paris Pass, you have two options: collect the pass in Paris or deliver the pass to you. We purchased the pass online the day before our trip so our only option was to collect the pass in Paris. Plus, we get to save on shipping costs!

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If you plan on collecting the pass, you must bring the printed email voucher along with the credit card used and a form of ID. There is only one location for pick-up listed (Big Bus Ticket Shop) and the shop is opened daily from 9:30am – 6:30pm. All of this information is listed in the email confirmation.

Due to jet lag, we didn’t arrive at the shop until 11:30am on a Thursday. To our surprise, there was a long line out the door for pass collection. We waited in line for an hour (yes, an hour… I timed it).

TIP: To avoid long lines, make sure to arrive at the pick-up location when it opens.

Our Itinerary

Day One

Opera Garnier Guided Tour (€15.50)  The pass includes a 90-minute tour of the Opera Garnier, available at 11am or 2:30pm. Unfortunately, the pass does not allow you to reserve your spots online. My boyfriend went earlier in the day to reserve our spots for 2:30 but the process was terrible because in order to purchase tickets, he had to enter the same security line as those visiting the Opera House. It was not a fun experience standing in the security line twice in one day.

TIP: Don’t do the security line twice. Instead, arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the time of the tour to reserve your spot. You have to arrive early because the security line is quite long and moves very slowly.

Orsay Museum (€12.00 with Fast Track Entry)  We went to the Orsay on Thursday, when the museum is open until 9:45pm. For those with a Paris Pass, there is a separate line for security and entrance. At 7pm, there were no lines and we breezed through both security and ticket validation. I don’t think there was a huge advantage to the Fast Track Entry at this time.

Arc De Triomphe (€12.00)  There is a separate security line for those with the Museum Pass. Keep in mind that the Paris Pass itself does not allow for Fast Track Entry here.

Day Two

Sainte-Chapelle (€10.00)  There is a separate line for those with the Museum Pass. And while the standard line wasn’t very long, this did allow us to head to the front of the line and bypass the others.

Notre Dame Cathedral  The Paris Pass includes a free entry to the tower of Notre Dame (€10.00) but the cathedral is free to enter. There is no fast track entry so we had to stand in line with everyone else.

Louvre (€15.00 with Fast Track Entry)  We went to the Louvre on Friday, when the museum is open until 9:45pm. We arrived around 6:30pm and entered the museum via the metro stop entrance. There were only a few people in line so we didn’t even use our pass for Fast Track Entry.

Day Three

Palace of Versailles (€18.00)  The pass does include free entry to the Palace of Versailles but the Musical Fountain Show is not included (€9.50) on weekends. Fast Track Entry to the chateau is not included so we waited in the same line as everyone else with a ticket. The line lasted about an hour and a half even though we arrived at 10:30am.

TIP: Arrive before 9am to avoid long lines for the chateau.

Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise (€15.00)  There is a separate line for those with the Paris Pass (line for those without tickets). It’s surprisingly much shorter than the line for those with tickets. However, the line is not clearly marked so others might think you are cutting (one of my biggest pet peeves). After security, make sure to exchange your Paris Pass for a ticket. Without the ticket, you can not board.

Montparnasse (€18.00)  Make sure to exchange your Paris Pass for a ticket on the first floor or else you’ll be turned back once you reach the Exhibition Deck.

Actual Use vs Paris Pass Cost

Calculations
  • Day One = €39.50 (attractions) + €7.60 (4 metro rides) = €47.10
  • Day Two = €25 (attractions) + €7.60 (4 metro rides) = €32.60
  • Day Three = €51 (attractions) + €7.60 (4 metro rides) = €58.6
  • Actual Use in 3 Days = €138.30 // 4 Day Paris Pass = €187.2 (10% discount applied)
Thoughts

Since we needed the Museum Pass for 3 days, we had to purchase the 4 Day Paris Pass (there is no such thing as a 3 day Museum Pass sadly). Because of this, we didn’t get the full value of the pass and fell short by €48.90.

I won’t be purchasing the Paris Pass next time because while I think you can gain the full value of the pass, there are no additional savings. The biggest draw for the pass is Fast Track Entry to Louvre and Orsay, but I had no issue getting into both museums quickly without it.

What to do instead of the Paris Pass

Next time, I plan on purchasing the Museum Pass and Unlimited Transportation Pass on my own. For the other attractions not included in the Museum Pass, I plan on booking those separately.

Calculations

Included in 4-Day Museum Pass (€62 – saving €5 with my itinerary)

  • Orsay Museum (€12)
  • Arc De Triomphe (€12)
  • Sainte-Chapelle (€10)
  • Louvre (€15)
  • Palace of Versailles (€18)

Not Included in Museum Pass and to be Purchased Separately (€48.50 for my itinerary)

  • Opera Garnier Guided Tour (€15.50)
  • Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise (€15.00)
  • Montparnasse (€18.00)

3 Day Unlimited Transportation (€26.65)

Total Cost = €137.15 (saving me €1 from the actual costs and €50.05 from the Paris Pass)

Thoughts

With this plan, I would’ve saved €1 with my itinerary. Keep in mind that the savings would be even greater if I took full advantage of the 4 Day Museum Pass. This will allow for more savings than the Paris Pass and I could’ve skipped the dreaded pass collection line in Paris.

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