There are so many wonderful things to do in Paris. This gorgeous city is home to the finest museums in the world, iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, romantic little cafes, the beautiful Seine River, and so much more.

As is the case in many cities around the world, various sightseeing passes are available that can save you money and may even let you skip the lines at Paris attractions. The Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass are two of the best deals, both for tourists and for Parisians who want to see more of their city.

In this post, I’ll explain the benefits of both Paris sightseeing pass options, including how much you’ll save using them, what attractions are included with each, and how to choose between them. 

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What Is the Paris Pass?

The Paris Pass is a comprehensive sightseeing pass that includes the Paris Museum Pass, the Paris Visite Pass, a one-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour, a Seine boat cruise, a wine tasting at Les Caves du Louvre and walking tours — plus discounts at popular shops, department stores, and restaurants.

It comes with an informative 120-page guide to the city and two maps: one for the Metro and one marked with the major tourist destinations.

What You Can See and Do With the Paris Pass

You’ll get free admission into 70+ museums, art galleries, monuments, attractions, tours, and experiences, including:

  • Louvre Museum (reservations are required)
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Musée Rodin
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Château de Versailles
  • Château de Fontainebleau
  • Espace Dali
  • Grevin Wax Museum
  • Paris Aquarium
  • Montparnasse Tower
  • Picasso Museum

You can see the full list of museums and attractions here. 

At some of these destinations, you’ll enjoy fast-track priority entry with the Paris Pass — a significant benefit when you consider that the wait times at the most popular tourist destinations in the city, such as the Louvre Museum, can be an hour or more.

It’s important to note that the Paris Pass guarantees general admission to the included sites, but doesn’t always cover admission to special exhibitions and events or audio guides and tours.

For tours and events that are included, it’s still a good idea to make reservations to ensure admission and avoid those long wait times. You can find out which exhibits and events are covered by checking the Paris Pass guidebook. 

How It Works

The Paris Pass is available in two-, three-, four-, or six-day durations for children (ages 4–11), teens (ages 12–17), and adults. It must be used on consecutive days, and your pass will activate the first time you scan it at a participating attraction.

A two-day or three-day pass is perfect for a long weekend in Paris, and the six-day option is one of the best deals around for travelers with longer stays and lots of plans for sightseeing.  

The Paris Pass automatically expires at the end of your chosen pass duration — or when you reach your “purse value.”

Every Paris Pass option has a different purse value. For instance, the purse value of a six-day adult Paris Pass is €350. If the admission fees of the attractions you visit over six days exceed €350, the pass will automatically expire.

Fortunately, that’s not likely to happen — you’d need to visit an almost unmanageable number of sites each day to hit the purse value.

The included Paris Visite Pass can be used on buses, trams, the Metro, RER (Réseau Express Régional, the commuter train system), and SNCF Overground Trains in zones 1–3 (central Paris).

Your Paris Visite Pass must be activated separately but on the same day you first use your Paris Pass.

How to Get the Most Value Out of a Paris Pass

It’s easy to figure out whether the Paris Pass will save you money: Make a list of the attractions you most want to visit, tally up the admission fees, add the cost of travel (if using a cab or public transportation), and compare that figure against the price of the pass.

Keep in mind that many attractions, such as Versailles, are outside of central Paris, so you’ll need to factor in additional travel costs for those locations.

Travelers who plan to see a lot of the most famous sights in the city in a relatively short period can potentially save a great deal of money by using the Paris Pass.

But value doesn’t just mean money — you’ll also save a considerable amount of time. With your ticket in hand, you’ll skip the long lines and go straight to enjoying the sights. 

What Is the Paris Museum Pass?

Again, the Paris Museum Pass is included with Paris Pass purchases. For those who prefer a museums-only sightseeing pass, purchasing the Paris Museum Pass on its own can be a good fit.

The Paris Museum Pass is a sightseeing pass that gives you free admission into 60+ museums and monuments in and around the city, including:

  • Louvre Museum (reservations are required)
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Musée Rodin
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Musée de l’Armée
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Château de Versailles
  • Villa Savoye
  • Château de Fontainebleau
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Conciergerie
  • Musée de Cluny
  • Quai Branly Museum
  • Musée de l’Orangerie
  • Pantheon

You can see the full list of museums and monuments here. In most cases, you can visit the museums as many times as you wish. You’ll also get priority entry at many sites with the Paris Museum Pass.

My husband explaining to my daughter the significance of The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David in front of the massive painting.
My daughter learning about The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David at The Louvre

How It Works

There are three options to choose from: a two-day, four-day, or six-day pass. Like the Paris Pass, the Paris Museum Pass must be used on consecutive days, and at the end of the pass duration, it will expire.

You activate the Paris Museum Pass by using it — the first museum you visit will stamp it with the date and time. The pass guarantees general admission to participating museums’ permanent collections, but like the Paris Pass, it won’t always cover admission to special exhibitions or events, nor does it include audio guides and tours.

It’s important to be aware that some Paris museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. You might not want to activate your pass on a Sunday if the museums you want to see most are closed on Mondays.

How to Get the Most Value Out of a Paris Museum Pass

In general, the more museums and monuments you plan to visit, the more you can save by having this pass. But as is the case with the Paris Pass, it’s simple to figure out whether this pass will save you money.

Again make a list of the museums and monuments you want to visit, tally up the cost of admission and travel, and compare that sum to the cost of the Museum Pass.

Keep in mind that admission to most Paris museums and cultural attractions is free for those ages 18 and under, so kids won’t need (or benefit from) a pass.

Always ask whether there’s a priority line for pass holders before getting in line so you can bypass the wait.

Paris Museum Pass Louvre Reservations

Overcrowding at Louvre Museum has resulted in mandatory reservations for Paris Museum Pass holders. This is a highly recommended practice for any Louvre guest to avoid the long, long entrance lines.

It’s easy to make reservations online in advance. You still must present the Paris Museum Pass with your reservation at the time of entry.

Choosing Between the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass

The Small Dancer Aged 14 statue inside glass at Musee d'Orsay
Small Dancer Aged 14 by Edgar Degas at Musee d’Orsay

When you buy the Paris Pass, you’re essentially buying the Paris Museum Pass plus a Paris Attraction Card, a travel card, and tours. Whether you’ll get the most value out of the full pass or the museum pass depends on what you plan to see and do.

If you want to spend your time in Paris strolling through museums and love the idea of unlimited entry but you’re not planning on taking many guided tours or using public transportation, then the Paris Museum Pass might be the better option. If you want to use the Metro but you don’t want to take any guided tours, you can always buy an unlimited travel card separately. 

What you can’t buy separately is the Paris Attractions Pass, which gets you entry into thirteen top attractions (see the list here) and onto the one-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and Seine boat cruise. To get free entry into museums plus the thirteen tours and attractions, you’ll need the Paris Pass. 

Note that the two missing main Paris attractions from both passes are the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland Paris. Eiffel Tower tickets often sell out so do buy them in advance and it’s certainly more convenient to skip the Disneyland Paris ticket queue when you buy tickets in advance.

Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea,” and I couldn’t agree more. It really is a magical city. You’ll never run out of things to do, and if your goal is to experience the best Paris has to offer, having the Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass in hand is never a bad idea. 

More Paris Travel Tips:

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Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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