Is the Paris Explorer Pass a good deal? In this review, we’ll explore what the pass includes, how it works, and whether it is a good fit for your travel style. Enjoy!
Paris. The City of Light. The City of Love.
For travelers, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Europe. In fact, it’s one of the most popular destinations in the entire world.
Whether it’s the iconic architecture, the world-class museums, or the culinary delights, there are dozens of reasons to visit France’s famous capital. As you might expect, there are also dozens of ways to spend money!
Like many large cities in Western Europe, Paris isn’t exactly one of the cheapest places to travel. Don’t forget, prices are also listed in Euros, which are currently worth more than the US dollar; so, even while you’re there, prices may be a bit more expensive than they seem.
With so much to see and do in Paris, the costs can add up quickly. If you’re heading to Paris and hoping to save on some of the hottest attractions, a sightseeing pass might be just what you need.
Today, we’ll review a brand new option called the Paris Explorer Pass. I’ll tell you how it works, what it costs, and how you can use it to maximize your savings. I’ll also compare it to another popular option, the Paris Pass.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get going.
Paris Explorer Pass: How it Works
The Paris Explorer Pass is a new sightseeing card that gives travelers access to some of Paris’ top attractions for a fixed (and discounted) price.
Like the New York City Explorer Pass and the London Explorer Pass, this pass offers access to a set number of attractions. You can choose either a 3, 5, or 7-attraction pass that will be valid for 30 days after you use it for the first time.
Not sure what your trip will bring? No worries, you don’t have to choose your attractions in advance. The Paris Explorer Pass offers access to 19 attractions, and you choose which spots you’d like to visit as you go.
So, how does it work? The Paris Explorer Pass comes with a unique QR code you can display on your smartphone or print in advance. Just show your code at the gate of your desired attraction and head on in.
Attractions Included on the Paris Explorer Pass
The Paris Explorer Pass includes entry to 19 of the top activities and attractions in Paris, including:
- Eiffel Tower (2nd floor) €45
- 1 Day Big Bus Paris Hop-on Hop-off Tour €38
- Montmartre Walking Tour: Paris’ Best Art, Culture & Food €35
- Les Caves du Louvre Wine Tasting €32
- Ô Château Cheese & Wine Tasting €31
- Set in Paris Walking Tour €30
- Musée Grévin €22.50
- Paris Aquarium – Cineaqua €20.50
- Montparnasse Tower €17
- Opera Garnier Guided Tour €15.50
- Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise €15
- Stade de France €15
- Espace Dali €12
- The Paris Story €11
- Choco Story – Gourmet Chocolate Museum €11
- Rex Studios: Les Etoiles du Rex €11
- Maison Caillebotte Tour €8
- Musee de Parfum Fragonard €8
- Petit Train de Montmartre €6.50
Paris Explorer Pass Pricing
Now that you know how it works and what attractions are on the table, let’s talk about money. The table below shows the adult and child prices for the 3, 5, and 7-attraction Paris Explorer Passes. (Prices current as of July 2018).
|Passes||Adult Price||Child (3-15) Price|
|*Current as of July 8, 2019|
When comparing the cost of the pass and the regular admission prices of the included attractions, you can see that the Paris Explorer Pass may end up saving you money…but it totally depends on how you use it.
If you’re only interested in a few of the cheaper attractions, it’s not going to be worth it to buy the pass. Realistically, though, most people don’t fall into that category.
At regular pricing, the Eiffel Tower and Hop-on Hop-off bus tour come to €81 on their own. So, buying the 3-attraction pass covers the cost and essentially gets you a third attraction for free.
The 5 and 7-attraction passes offer even better value, especially if you opt to visit the more expensive attractions.
For example, the best possible value would be choosing the seven most expensive attractions, totaling €233.50 at regular prices. Now, that would include two wine tastings, which might be a bit repetitive. So if you swapped out the Ô Château Cheese & Wine Tasting and replaced it with the Aquarium, the total without the pass would be €223.
The 7-attraction pass is just €129, so you’d be saving a whopping €94 per adult! Based on today’s rates (subject to change, of course), that’s about $109 US Dollars per adult. That’s definitely nothing to sneeze at!
Paris Explorer Pass Vs. Paris Pass
Before deciding if the Paris Explorer Pass is a good fit, you’re going to want to compare it to the Paris Pass. (Pssst...follow the link to read our full review.)
Without getting into all the nitty-gritty details, the Paris Pass actually includes three separate passes:
- The Paris Attractions Pass
- The Paris Museum Pass
- The Paris Visite Travelcard
I’ll briefly explain what these are in a minute, but first, check out the Paris Pass (adult) pricing:
|Passes||Adult Price (ages 18+)||Teen Price (ages 12-17)||Child Price (ages 4-11)|
|2 Day Paris Pass||€130.00||€75.00||€40.00|
|3 Day Paris Pass||€165.00||€95.00||€55.00|
|4 Day Paris Pass||€205.00||€115.00||€65.00|
|6 Day Paris Pass||€245.00||€145.00||€80.00|
|*Current as of May 24, 2019|
The Paris Attractions Pass is very similar to the Paris Explorer Pass in terms of what it offers. The exception being that the Paris Explorer Pass offers entry to the Eiffel Tower, while the Paris Attraction Pass does not. That’s kind of a big deal, since it’s such a popular tourist destination, and its regular price tag is €45. Also note that this option is built into the Paris Pass and not available to purchase on its own.
The Paris Museum Pass offers access to over 60 Museums and Monuments in Paris. Its pricing is based on unlimited access to all the museums on the pass for 2 (€48), 4 (€62), or 6 (€74) days. It’s included in the Paris Pass, but can also be purchased on its own. High profile museums that are found on the Museum Pass (but are notably absent from the Paris Explorer Pass) include The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Palace de Versailles, and many more.
The Paris Visite Travelcard gives holders unlimited travel on Paris’ extensive public transit system. It covers Zones 1-3, which basically means Central Paris. The Travelcard is included with the Paris Pass but can also be purchased separately.
So Which Pass is Better?
At first glance, you probably noticed that the Paris Pass is more expensive than the Paris Explorer Pass. In fact, the 2-day Paris Pass alone is more expensive than even the 7-attraction Paris Explorer Pass.
But, you need to stop and consider what you’re getting compared to what you need.
The Paris Pass offers access to a ton of museums not included with the Paris Explorer Pass (including some of the biggest tourist attractions in town), plus unlimited use of the public transit system. The only thing it’s really missing is access to the Eiffel Tower.
Does that mean the Paris Pass is a better fit for you? Not necessarily. It all depends what you want to see, how much you want to see, and how comfortable you are packing your schedule.
Go with the Paris Pass if…
If you love sightseeing and are down to hit 3 or more attractions for several days in a row, then the Paris Pass is probably a better value – especially if you’re interested in Museums. The 3-day Paris Pass will set you back €165 and gives you lots of flexibility in terms of what you can see and do. The 7-attractions Paris Explorer Pass comes in at a lower €129, but once you pay for a couple of major museums and your transportation, you’re looking at about the same cost. So, unless you don’t need to factor in transit costs, the Paris Pass is probably the better buy.
If you know you want to do a lot of sightseeing (including museums) for 4 or 6 days in a row, the Paris Pass is the obvious choice. Get your Paris Pass here.
When the Paris Explorer Pass is a Better Fit
However, if you’re not interested in cramming tons of sightseeing into a few consecutive days, then you might prefer the Paris Explorer Pass. This is especially true if you don’t want the transit card. In that case, you could even combine the Paris Museum Pass with the Paris Explorer Pass.
For example, if you’re in Paris for a week, you could grab the 5-attraction Paris Explorer Pass and the 2-day Paris Museum Pass for €157. That way you could do two busy museums days and spread the other 5 attractions out over the remaining 5 days. This works out to be much cheaper than the 6-day Paris Pass, which costs €244.
Top Reasons to Get the Paris Explorer Pass
Save Money on Sightseeing
The most important reason we buy sightseeing passes is to save money on admission to a city’s top attractions. So, if you’re interested in some of the more expensive options included on the Paris Explorer Pass, you can definitely save some cash.
See the Eiffel Tower
Unlike the Paris Pass, the Paris Explorer Pass includes access to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. This is a pretty attractive feature of the pass, in my opinion. The tower is iconic, and first-time visitors almost always want to see it (I don’t blame them). Plus, at €45, it’s expensive. So, if you want to see the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, this pass offers a good value.
Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Tour
The 1 Day Big Bus Paris Hop-on Hop-off Tour is an awesome way to explore the city and learn about its history. Passengers can hop on or off at any stop along the route, so it’s also a means of getting from place to place. It’s not as efficient as the public transit, of course, but it does come with a view and a tour guide, which is pretty neat. I always recommend these hop-on hop-off bus tours to people visiting a major city for the first time. As an added note, it’s the second most expensive option included on the pass, so using it as one of your choices is a smart move.
Check Out Attractions at a Leisurely Pace
If you prefer to keep your schedule somewhat open, you’ll appreciate that the Paris Explorer Pass is valid for 30 days once activated. Unlike passes that work on a consecutive day basis, there’s no need to rush through your visits. You can feel free to spend most of your day in one place, rather than committing to fitting multiple attractions into each day.
Save Time by Skipping the Line
While the Paris Explorer Pass allows you to be flexible with timing, you definitely don’t want to waste a minute of your time in Paris. The good news is that you can skip the ticket lines for most attractions included on the pass. Less time waiting in lines means more time taking in the sites!
Where the Paris Explorer Pass Falls Short
To be honest, I’m not super-impressed with the selection of attractions that the Paris Explorer Pass offers. I love that it includes access to the Eiffel Tower, but I’m disappointed that many of the major museums aren’t included.
I get that it’s not meant to replace the Paris Pass – after all, it’s made by the same company. Still, it just feels wrong to talk about Paris’ top attractions while leaving out major attractions like the Louvre. Let’s be honest: Museums and architecture are two of Paris’ main draws. So, a sightseeing pass that skimps on museums feels a bit lacking.
The other thing missing, which I’ve already mentioned, is a transportation option. Public transit is a cheap and easy way to get around Paris, so inclusion of a transit pass would offer value to many visitors.
Who Will the Paris Explorer Pass Work For?
First-time visitors – If it’s your first time in Paris, you’ll probably enjoy two of the most expensive options included on the Paris Explorer Pass – ascend the Eiffel Tower and the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour. That means you’ll likely get a good value out of this pass. That being said, if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing (especially if you want to see a few major museums), you should also consider the Paris Pass.
Travelers who like flexibility – Like I mentioned before, the Paris Explorer Pass is valid for 30 days, so you can feel free to visit attractions at your own pace. This is great for travelers who don’t like planning out every minute of their day and don’t want the pressure of having to hit multiple attractions each day to get their money’s worth from a pass. The Paris Explorer Pass is also good for those wanting to spend most of a day at a certain attraction.
Travelers who aren’t that into museums –If you’re not a big museum person, then you probably won’t mind that a lot of Paris’ major museums aren’t included in this pass.
Who Will the Paris Explorer Pass Not Work For?
Power sightseers – If you’re heading to Paris on a sightseeing mission and plan to hit up a few attractions every day, then the Paris Explorer Pass might not be for you. You’d get better value from an unlimited consecutive day option like the Paris Pass.
Museums buffs – Adore museums? You’ll likely find this pass a bit lacking. While there are some museum options included, a true museum lover is not going to visit Paris without seeing the Louvre, the Orsay, the Centre de Pompidou…you get my drift. If you’re interested in museums, you can buy tickets separately, pick up the Paris Museum Pass, or consider the unlimited Paris Pass.
Travelers who’ve been there, done that – If you’ve been to Paris many times, you may not be interested in revisiting the attractions included with the Paris Explorer Pass. This is especially important if you’re not interested in the more expensive options, since that affects the savings you’d get from the pass.
Travelers not interested in paid sightseeing – Whether you’re on a very tight budget or just not that into sightseeing, paying for any pass is not a good buy if you’re only interested in free things to do in Paris. Maybe you’d rather spend your money on Parisian food – hey, you do you.
Tips for Getting the Most from the Paris Explorer Pass
- Visit the most expensive attractions – To get the most from this pass, visit the most expensive attractions – like the Eiffel Tower and the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour. This will ensure you get maximum value from your pass. It pays to crunch the numbers too. Don’t buy the 5-attraction pass and use it entirely on the cheapest available attractions. If you do, you’d actually be losing money!
- Buy the pass that offers the most savings – The 3-attraction pass can definitely save you money, but the 5 and 7-attraction options offer increased value – provided you pay attention to the regular price of the attractions.
- Look out for deals on the pass – If you can buy the pass at an additional discount, all the better!
Where to Buy the Paris Explorer Pass
If you’ve weighed your options and you’re good to go, you can buy the Paris Explorer Pass here right now. You’ll get an email pretty much instantly that includes your QR code. Save it to your phone or print it off, and you’re good to go.
The Bottom Line: Is the Paris Explorer Pass for You?
Is the Paris Explorer Pass the best option for you? Honestly, it depends.
If visiting Paris’ major museums is on your bucket list, then the Paris Explorer Pass is not going to satisfy you on its own. You’ll want to consider pairing it with the Paris Museum Pass or consider the Paris Pass instead.
Similarly, if you’re a power sightseer who wants to see as much as you possibly can, then an unlimited consecutive day option like the Paris Pass will save you more money.
That being said, if you love keeping your sightseeing schedule open and flexible, an attraction pass offering a set number of attractions like the Paris Explorer Pass is probably a good fit. This is especially true if you’re interested in a few of the more expensive options included, like the Eiffel Tower or the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.
Thanks so much for reading! Happy traveling and enjoy Paris!