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Paris Pass

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Paris Pass

© Pedro Lastra

The Louvre, the Pompidou, the Musée D'Orsay, the Musée Rodin, the Eiffel Tower, the Opéra Garnier, Versailles, Notre Dame, the Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe? There is so much to see, the Paris Pass can be a great help!

What is the Paris Pass?

Sunset view of the Eiffel Tower
Sunset view of the Eiffel Tower
:

The tourist cards are passes that you can hire for a certain number of days to access transport and the main tourist attractions of the city at a reduced price. The Paris Pass: is the main card in Paris and also one of the most profitable.

2. How the Paris Pass works

Aerial view Arc de Triomphe
Aerial view Arc de Triomphe

The first thing you need to know is that the price of the Paris Pass depends on the number of days you book the card for. You can book the Paris Pass for two, three, four or six days. During the time you have it active, you can access as many times as you want to the attractions included without paying anything extra and without waiting in line (in many museums there is an entrance reserved exclusively for members of this card).

3. How it works

Walking through the Louvre Pyramid
Walking through the Louvre Pyramid

Pickup

Once you have purchased the Pass, you can choose from the following shipping methods:

  • Home delivery
  • The delivery to the accommodation where you are going to stay during your trip to Paris
  • Pick-up at any of the Paris offices provided with the voucher that will be sent to you at the time of booking.
  • Digital version** to carry on your cell phone (when I bought it it was not like that, but I imagine it will be updated soon).

Activation

Once you purchase your Paris Pass it will be valid for one year and will be activated the first time you use it at an attraction or on Paris transport (which is also included). Please note that activation is by calendar days and not by hours, so it is not advisable to use your Paris Pass for the first time at the end of one of the days of your trip, but at the beginning of the day to take advantage of it throughout the day.

What is included in the Paris Pass

Paris Opera | ©Edgardo W. Olivera
Paris Opera | ©Edgardo W. Olivera

The Paris Pass pack is divided into three parts: a pass for the tourist attractions, a pass for the museums (this is the Paris Museum Pass and can also be purchased separately) and a card to use the public transport. In addition, the Paris Pass gives you access to a range of discounts in selected stores and restaurants and you also receive a guidebook and a map of the city.

Attractions and activities included

  • The Louvre Museum
  • The climb to the Arc de Triomphe
  • A cruise on the Seine
  • A day tour on board the Paris sightseeing bus
  • The Musée d'Orsay
  • The Pompidou Museum of contemporary art
  • The Palace of Versailles
  • The Paris Opera House
  • The Pantheon
  • A wine tasting
  • Climbing the Montparnasse tower
  • Guided walking tours in different areas of Paris

Attractions not included

As you can see, there is a big absence in this list: the ascent to the Eiffel Tower is not included in the Paris Pass as neither is the entrance to the catacombs, the entrance to Disneyland or the Moulin Rouge show. These are experiences that you will have to pay for separately, but considering all that this tourist pass covers, I can assure you that it is still cost effective.

Paris Pass, is it convenient or not?

Interior of the Musée d'Orsay | ©Derek Key
Interior of the Musée d'Orsay | ©Derek Key

There is no exact answer, it all depends on what you are going to use it for and what kind of traveler you are. If you take advantage of it, with the Paris Pass you will save money and time (remember that the Paris Pass includes the entrance without queues and this in places like Versailles or the Louvre becomes a great advantage), that's for sure.

When does the Paris Pass pay off?

  • If you are interested in culture and do not want to leave the main landmarks unseen, make a list of their prices separately, add them up and compare it with the price of the pass.
  • The Paris Pass comes with the Museum Pass included, making it the most cost-effective option to visit as many of the city's attractions and museums as possible (and there are many!).
  • If you have in mind to take a cruise on the Seine, it is also included.
  • If you are going to move around Paris a lot, using public transportation will be very convenient.
  • If you would like to take an excursion to Versailles, the entrance fee is also included.
  • In general, if you visit Paris during the quite cold or rainy season, you will be well advised to have this card to protect you from the weather inside its wonderful museums and places of interest.

When does the Paris Pass NOT pay off?

  • If you are going to be in Paris for a very long trip you do not need to accumulate all the visits in a few days, so the Paris Pass will not be cost effective and it is better to enjoy the culture of Paris at your leisure.
  • If you don't love the idea of visiting its museums or its attractions inside either, you won't get much out of it either.
  • If you do not have in mind to use the public transportation of the city, you would not use this advantage either.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Make a list of the museums and attractions you want to see in Paris and calculate how much the tickets would cost separately to see how much you would save with the Paris Pass.

6. The Paris Pass and the tourist bus

Aerial view Arc de Triomphe
Aerial view Arc de Triomphe

If you have decided to purchase the Paris Pass, do not waste the opportunity you will have with this card to take a tour of Paris from a bus with scenic views. Bus tours are often underrated as a "too touristy" option, but I advise you to get rid of your prejudices because this tour is very enjoyable.

Keep in mind that the size of the city makes it impossible to tour it "at a glance", something that the Big Bus tour of Paris does provide. The fact that visiting a city from a vehicle is not the ideal option does not exclude the possibility of enjoying an excursion with commentary included to enjoy its main points of interest before or after visiting them in depth.

The duration of the complete tour is one hour and a half and you can learn more about the route and what you will see in this article on Hop on Hop off Bus Tours:.

7. Other Paris Sightseeing Passes

Detail of the Pompidou Center ©Matt Seymour
Detail of the Pompidou Center ©Matt Seymour

Although the Paris Pass is the most** in demand**, there are other tourist cards to visit Paris. They are all quite similar in terms of use, number of attractions included and conditions. However, there are subtle differences between them that may make you choose one or the other.

Paris Passlib

The Paris Passlib card is very similar to the Paris Pass, but will suit you if you are looking for a 5 day option which is the only one the Paris Pass does not have. Its price is a bit lower, so it can be a good option if you are not interested in seeing the Paris Opera, going up the Montparnasse Tower or doing the wine tasting.

These three tourist attractions are the main difference with the Paris Pass, so if you are not interested in any of them, the Paris Passlib may be a better option. Also, with the Paris Passlib if you pay a little extra you can get access to a tour on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.

Go Paris Pass
The main advantage of the card Go Paris: is the price. With a duration of two days (there is no possibility of adding more days as in the rest of the city pass) includes all the attractions and main museums of Paris for a lower price than other tourist cards.

However, keep in mind that with the Go Paris Pass you will not be able to use public transportation in the city, so if you are staying outside the historic center of the city, it may not be worth it.

Paris Museum Pass

The Paris Museum Pass is a very good option if your main interest is the Paris museums. The difference with the Paris Pass is that most of the visits included are to museums. For example, unlike the Paris Pass, the Paris Museum Pass does not include wine tasting, a visit to the Paris Opera, walking tours or a climb up the Montparnasse Tower.

It does however include the climb to the Arc de Triomphe, the visit to the Sainte Chapelle, the entrance to Versailles or the climb to the towers of Notre Dame (the latter is currently unavailable due to the 2019 fire).

Why I like this option
Personally I see it very convenient for a second trip to Paris in which you are not looking to do the most "typical" tour of the city and instead you are interested in delve deeper into the museum offerings of the city. The Louvre is not the only museum in Paris; others like the Pompidou, the Orangerie, the Rodin museum or the D'Orsay museum are a must-see.

What this card does include is a one hour cruise on the Seine with live commentary during the tour. If you buy this card online you have the option of delivery to your hotel in Paris, but not to a private residence within the city.

The Paris Museum Pass is included in the Paris Pass, but please note that since there is no three-day option with this card, if you purchase the three-day Paris Pass you will receive the two-day Paris Museum Pass.

Ana's Traveller Tip

If you opt for the Paris Pass, activate the attractions card first and then the Museum Pass to accumulate more time between the two cards.

Tips for getting the most out of the Paris Pass (or any other tourist pass)

Alexander III Bridge, Paris | ©Léonard Cotte
Alexander III Bridge, Paris | ©Léonard Cotte

Plan

It is clear that any card pays off if you are going to see as many things as possible in a short period of time, but that does not mean rushing from one place to another. With good planning you will be able to access a greater number of tourist attractions (and therefore save money) without sacrificing peace and quiet.

Before you start your trip, make a list of the things you want to see and organize yourself according to the zones in which they are located; in many of these areas you will also have the opportunity to take a free walking tour, so don't think that buying the Paris Pass means spending the whole day visiting closed sites.

Reserve a day for museums

The day you visit the Louvre or the day you go to see Versailles you will spend quite some time (although with this card you will avoid the queues), so they will be days when you will not be able to see many more sites. However, Paris has many small and beautiful museums that you will visit in less time; for example, the Rodin museum or the Dali space are for me quite top and usually go unnoticed by most tourists.

Keep in mind the schedules

Before activating your card, check the opening days and opening hours of museums and tourist attractions. Some are usually closed on holidays or special days. If your trip coincides with one of these days, do not activate the card for that day or take the opportunity to take the cruise on the Seine, the wine tasting or the visit to Versailles.

Find out about discounts and guided tours

You may be touring the Paris Opera House district and not know that your Paris Pass includes a guided tour of the area. Before planning a visit to an attraction check that the Paris Pass does not include any guided tours of the area.

Also ask in the stores or restaurants you go to if you have discounts with this card as you can not only save a considerable amount on visits, but also in local restaurants or souvenir stores.

In the case of the Paris Pass and the Museum Pass, activate first one card and then the other.
The Paris Pass is three cards in one: the one for transportation, the one for tourist attractions and the one for museums. I recommend you to activate first the one for the attractions and do the activities that are exclusive to it, and the next day activate the one for the museums. With this simple trick you will be able to save time and visit even more attractions without having to invest in a superior card.

Also note that the time on this card runs by calendar days of use and not by hours; if you arrive in Paris in the afternoon spend that day touring the city and activate your Paris Pass the next morning to avoid wasting time using it.

9. If you are interested in the Paris Pass, you will also be interested in...

With the Paris Pass there are very few things you will have left to see in Paris, as it includes almost everything. After a few days using this card you will have very few things left to see in the city, but there are a few things like the Eiffel Tower which you have more information about here: Eiffel Tower Tickets.

Monuments apart, in Paris there are shows worth seeing. One of the best known is the Moulin Rouge show and you can also buy separate tickets to complete your visit to Paris and learn more about the show in this other article on Moulin Rouge Tickets::.

Finally, one of the most frequent doubts you may have when you read the wide range of museums included in the Paris Pass will be how to choose. I have written this other article about Museums Tickets: which you can take a look at to make up your mind.

Frequently asked questions

  • Does Paris offer many different types of city passes?

    There are a couple kinds of passes that Paris offers however the most popular pass is the Paris Pass, due to its vast inclusion of many attractions, fast-track entry and reasonably priced.

  • Does the Paris Pass include public transport?

    Impressively, the Paris Pass actually includes an unlimited transport card that can be used on all of Paris' public transport systems.

  • Does the Paris Pass offer any other discounts or benefits?

    Aside from the free public transport, the Paris Pass also gives, 15% discount on a number of Bike and Segway tours and Chauffeur driven 2CV tours, 20% discount on all food and drink at the Monument Cafe, €10 discount at Idéal Gourmet and a free Starter or Hot Fudge Sundae at Hard Rock Cafe.