FLASH SALE: Save up to 10% on the Paris Pass now through Tuesday, June 19th, 2018! Follow the link for more details.
Is the Paris Pass worth it? Find out in this Paris Pass review. We’ll explain the features of the pass, review its cost, and discover if it’s a good fit for your travel plans. Enjoy!
Paris is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and for good reason. In Paris, art lovers revel in some of the world’s best museums; history buffs get lost in the city’s incredible spaces and stories; and couples from across the globe come to soak up the ambience, share a kiss below the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy a romantic meal at a street-side cafe.
Of course, it’s no secret that traveling to Paris can also be expensive. Like visiting New York City, prices in tourist areas can be unseemly. When it comes to sightseeing, a city pass can be a great way to save time and money.
In true “over the top” French style, Paris actually has two main sightseeing passes – the Paris Pass and the city museum pass. Neither is right for every traveler, but we’ll do our best to help you wade through it.
This Paris Pass review will take a hard look at the Paris Pass to see if it’s right for you. We’ll also compare it to the Paris Museum Pass so you know exactly what you’re getting. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
Editor’s note: As of December 2017, the Paris Pass has reduced the price on all of their passes. The numbers in this piece, as well as some of the commentary, have been updated to reflect these recent price adjustments. In addition, should you purchase a pass after clicking through one of our links, we do receive a small commission for the referral. Since honesty is the best policy, we thought you should know!
What Is the Paris Pass and How Does It Work?
The Paris Pass is a popular sightseeing pass which includes free entry to over 60 of the most popular museums and attractions in Paris. It simplifies the sightseeing experience for visitors and seeks to save them time and money while doing so.
The Paris Pass actually combines three separate cards into one. They are:
- The Paris Museum Pass
- The Paris Visite Travelcard
- The Paris Attractions Pass
Yes, you read that right. Like other combination cards (such as the Vatican & Rome Card), the Paris Pass actually includes the city’s official museum pass. You also get the Paris Visite Pass, allowing unlimited use of city’s public transportation system within Central Paris. The attractions pass provides access to an additional 8 attractions and experiences, while discounts on shopping and dining give the card added value.
The Paris Pass is also easy to use. Don’t worry about standing in line to buy tickets. Just present your Paris Pass at all of the included museums and most of the attractions, and you’re in! Easy peasy. (Please note, certain tours – like the wine tasting – may require reservations while some attractions – like the hop-on hop-off bus tour and river cruise – may require a valid ticket.)
Top Paris Attractions Included on the Paris Pass
The Paris Pass includes free entry to over 60 of the top attractions in Paris, including:
- Louvre Museum – €15
- Palace of Versailles – €18
- The Orsay Museum – €12
- Notre Dame Cathedral – €10
- Arc de Triomphe – €12
- Pantheon – €8.50
- Sainte-Chappelle – €10
- La Conciergerie – €8.50
- Picasso Museum – €12.50
- …and many more
The Paris Pass also offers entry to these attractions NOT included with the museum pass alone:
- Opera Garnier Guided Tour – €15.50
- Les Caves du Louvre Wine Tasting – €32
- Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise – €15
- 1-Day Big Bus Paris Hop-on Hop-Off Tour – €36
- Montparnasse Tower – €17
- Dali Exhibition – €12.00
- Grevin Wax Museum – €22.50
- The Paris Story – €11.00
(*Prices current as of April 2018)
As you can see, prices for most attractions aren’t too expensive, but they can add up quickly. And don’t forget that the cost of the Paris Visite Travelcard is also included with your pass. You can find the complete list of Paris Pass attractions here.
Paris Pass Pricing
Now that we know what’s included, let’s talk about pricing. The Paris Pass offers 2, 3, 4, and 6-day packages. Pricing is structured into 3 tiers, grouped by adults, teens, and children ages 4-11. As of April 2018, the current prices are:
|Passes||Adult Price||Teen Price||Child Price|
|2 Day Paris Pass||€131.00||€81.00||€44.00|
|3 Day Paris Pass||€165.00||€100.00||€50.00|
|4 Day Paris Pass||€196.00||€109.00||€57.00|
|6 Day Paris Pass||€244.00||€135.00||€75.00|
Here’s where I’d encourage you to use some caution. If you pack in a lot of sightseeing, you can save money with the Paris Pass. If not, this card is probably not for you. We’ll dig a little deeper in a minute, but first let’s take a look at a few more things the Paris Pass has to offer.
Top Reasons to Get the Paris Pass
What’s the best reason to get the Paris Pass? In a word: Convenience. The Paris Pass combines the Paris Museum Pass, the Paris Visite Travelcard, and the Paris Attractions Pass into one convenient sightseeing card. Additionally, it makes buying tickets simple. Instead of purchasing your tickets separately, over 60 of the top attractions in Paris are included on the card – perfect for first-time visitors and those who plan to do a lot of sightseeing.
Fast Track Entry
Speaking of convenience, waiting in line isn’t just frustrating; it’s also a waste of time. When traveling, time is practically as valuable as money. Lines at the most popular spots in Paris can stretch over an hour long. With the Paris Pass, you’ll skip the ticket lines and save yourself some valuable sightseeing time. (Please note: You may still have to queue with others who bought advanced tickets.)
Unlimited Use of Public Transportation
As we mentioned, the Paris Pass includes the Paris Visite Travelcard for the duration of your pass. This gives you free unlimited access to the Paris Metro (subway), RER (subway), and city buses inside of Central Paris (Zones 1-3). Public transportation in Paris is easy to use, so don’t worry about that. It can save also save you thousands of steps and hundreds of dollars in taxi fares. The Paris Pass also comes with a handy map to help you navigate your adventures.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
A hop-on hop-off bus tour is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with Paris. It’s also a good way to get from one site to the next. The tour makes 9 stops throughout Central Paris features audio guides in 8 different languages. During the summer, buses run every 8 minutes (15 minutes in the winter). Please be aware that, once activated, the HOHO Bus Tour is only good for one day.
Other Benefits of the Paris Pass
- Seine River Cruise – This one-hour cruise allows you to enjoy the beauty of Paris while floating under some of Paris’s most iconic landmarks and bridges. The cruise also comes with an audio guide that’s available in 13 different languages.
- Entry to Paris Opera House – The Paris Opera House is stunning. This beautiful building served as the inspiration for “Phantom of the Opera,” and it’s one spot you don’t want to miss!
- Wine Tasting – The self-guided wine tasting tour is unique to the Paris Pass. At the end, you even get to take home a bottle of wine! (Please note this tour is adults only and reservations are recommended.)
- Free Guidebook – Your purchase of the Paris Pass includes a guidebook to help you plan your trip. It’s great for checking opening/closing times and for reference during the day.
- Discounts at Shops and Restaurants – In addition to the attractions, the Paris Pass also includes discounts on select shopping and dining around Paris.
When to Get the Paris Pass
Now that we’ve covered what the Paris Pass has to offer, let’s take a look at its value. As we mentioned, first-time visitors and heavy sightseers can get their money’s worth from the pass. With a 4-day pass, visiting 2 of the “museum” sites each day (averaging around €12 each) and adding 1 activity from the attractions portion of the card provides the best value. If you paid out of pocket, you’d be at a total cost of about €180+. That alone gets you pretty close to covering the cost of the pass.
The Paris Pass also includes unlimited use of the public transportation system between Zones 1 and 3. Since a 3-day Paris Visite Travelcard costs €29.40, you’ve now covered the cost of the Paris Pass plus gained an extra day of use out of the public transportation system. You’ve also had fast track entry to the busiest sites, which saves valuable time.
If you fit this travel style, the Paris Pass could be worth it.
Where the Paris Pass Falls Short
While some sightseeing cards provide huge savings (see the London Pass), the return on investment with the Paris Pass is a bit more modest. However, the recent price drop (December 2017) has certainly helped to provide a better return on your investment. In my opinion, that was a very smart move.
With that said, this pass still isn’t for everybody. If you’re not interested in the “attractions” portion of the card, you probably shouldn’t get the pass at all. Instead, you’ll save more with a simple Paris Museum Pass and a Paris Visite Travelcard.
As of December 2017, the 4-day Paris Museum Pass combined with a 3-Day Visite card (for Zones 1-3) costs €91.40. If all you want to see are museums and monuments, that’s a significant savings. Of course, you’ll miss out on the Opera House, the Seine River cruise, the HOHO bus tour, and the wine tasting – but that may not be your thing anyway.
Also, keep in mind that the Paris Pass does not include entry to the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, or the catacombs. Whether you buy the Paris Pass or just the museum pass, these tickets must be purchased separately.
Finally, hiding in plain sight is the fact that the 3-day Paris Pass includes just a 2-day Paris Museum Pass. (The Paris Museum Pass only comes in a 2, 4, or 6-day option.) Additionally, the museum pass must be used on consecutive days. So, you’ll need to make sure you visit all the museums you want on back-to-back days.
As an alternative, the 4-day pass may be one to consider as it provides a bit more value and flexibility, including a 4-day Paris Museum Pass. Keep this in mind before selecting your pass.
Who Is the Paris Pass Good For?
- First-time visitors to Paris – The Paris Pass can be a good option for most first-time visitors. The card is super convenient, and it simplifies your experience by including most of the attractions you’d want to see anyway. Access to public transportation via the travelcard is also a nice perk.
- Visitors who want to do as much sightseeing as possible – If you’d like to visit about 3 different sites per day, you’ll probably get a good deal with the Paris Pass.
- Those who get tired of museums – For those who don’t want to be stuck inside a museum or monument every day, the Paris Pass provides options for other activities. The HOHO Bus Tour, river cruise, and wine tasting are all fun experiences to break up the museum hopping.
- Anybody wanting to avoid ticket lines – Almost any time of year, ticket lines are long at Paris’s busiest attractions. The fast track entry feature helps you avoid those queues.
Who Is the Paris Pass NOT Good For?
- Visitors interested ONLY in museums – If you’re not interested in the “attractions” portion of the pass (think river cruise, HOHO bus tour, wine tasting, etc.), skip the Paris Pass and get the Paris Museum Pass instead.
- Those who won’t use public transportation – One of the biggest benefits of the Paris Pass is the travelcard. If you won’t use public transportation, skip this pass.
- Extreme value seekers and those uninterested in museums – If you’re on a really tight budget or don’t plan to visit the museums, skip getting a pass all together.
Paris Pass Review: Tips for Using the Pass
- Plan for Closures – Many of the major museums in Paris are closed on either Monday or Tuesday. Be sure to plan your travel itinerary around these closings!
- Start Early – Remember, the Paris Pass works on a consecutive day basis. While getting an early start each day helps you see more, it’s especially important to start early on Day 1. You don’t want to jump on the Metro at 5 P.M. and activate your card. You’ll essentially lose a whole day of sightseeing!
- Group Your Sightseeing By Area – To get the most value from your card, it’s best to visit 2 museums/monuments and 1 attraction per day. It also helps to plan your sightseeing around activities located in the same general area. Otherwise, you’ll waste valuable time crisscrossing town on the way to your next stop.
- Travel Outside of Paris Is Not Included – Remember, travel outside of Zones 1-3 in Paris is not included. So, you’ll have to pay extra to reach Versailles and the other chateaus.
How to Buy the Paris Pass
Getting your Paris Pass is quick and easy. Just follow this link to purchase your Paris Pass online.
Collecting your pass is also fairly easy. You can pick it up in person for a cost of €2. Standard shipping costs €3.95 to €9.95 and takes up to 15 business days. Or, if you need it within 4 to 6 business days, choose express shipping for €9.95 to €39.95.
Wrapping Up: Is the Paris Pass Worth It?
And now for the question you’ve been waiting for: Is the Paris Pass worth it?
Well, that depends.
Here’s a better question to ask yourself: “Is the Paris Pass a good deal for me?”
If you’re a first-time visitor to Paris, a sightseeing pass is an efficient way to make the most of your time there. Having a city pass simplifies things (no getting individual tickets, standing in line, etc.) plus it helps prioritize your sightseeing.
A Paris Pass may also be a good fit for those who plan to do a lot of sightseeing and want to do it as cheaply and time efficiently as possible.
On the other hand, if you just plan to visit museums, getting the Paris Museum Pass may be a better fit. You’ll still get to skip the ticket lines, but you won’t get access to certain attractions like the HOHO bus tour or the river cruise. If you plan to use public transportation, you’ll also need to pay for that separately.
If visiting museums isn’t on your itinerary, you probably don’t need a pass at all – although you’ll miss out on some of the world’s best art and sightseeing!
So, is the Paris Pass worth it? That’s really up to you. Determine your travel style and decide what you want to experience during your trip to Paris. If sightseeing and museums are in the mix, you really ought to consider using the Paris Pass – provided you run the numbers first.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Paris Pass review, and please let me know if you have questions. Above all, have a great time in Paris. Until next time, happy traveling!