If you’re not keen to wait or risk waiting in multi-hour lines when visiting Paris during peak season, it’s important to become familiar with the term “skip-the-line” as well as book everything from hotels to special tours as far in advance as possible.

Bypassing long lines in Paris is fairly easy to do—yes, it can cost more—but if your traveling companions are not the most patient, there may be value in upgrading your experience based on this alone. Not only did we learn more about sights visited, with time saved, but we were also able to see more than we otherwise would have during a short (to me) stay in the City of Light.

Through my affiliations, you can save on tickets, tours, and hotels. I may be compensated if you purchase through some links in this post—our editorial guidelines.

Louvre and Musee d’Orsay

The Louvre Museum in Paris will become much more interesting to kids when tasked with a themed treasure hunt that takes them by many famous works of art.

Nowadays, you can buy tickets online in advance and enter through a shorter queue. Admittedly, at the Louvre last summer there were so many people and lines that I couldn’t figure out where the ticket holders queue was because all were long.

However, we’d booked a THATLou scavenger hunt at the Louvre and met our guide at a designated spot. He whisked us right to the very front (I never would have spotted this entrance) and we walked right into the museum. He also led us exactly the wing we were to start in and gave us a few tips for navigating the summer crowds.

THATLou (which stands for Treasure Hunt at the Louvre) has organized several themed hunts throughout the massive museum with detailed clues for finding the piece of art. It’s great for families, team building and for seeing the famous Paris museum in a different light. My daughter was 8 at the time and loved it so we booked a THATd’Or scavenger hunt at the Musee d’Orsay on a recent return visit.

Note: The Louvre now requires advanced reservations prior to visiting.

Read: Our THATLou scavenger hunt

Book: THATLou or THATd’Or

Private Seine Cruise

We drank champagne during our private Seine cruise with River Limousine in Paris. Extraordinary.

The concierge at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris recommended a private Seine cruise via a retrofitted Venetian water taxi as a unique way to cruise the river. It’s something my husband always wanted to do so though it’s a splurge, we booked it.

Guests spend roughly an hour and a half cruising down to the Eiffel Tower for an epic photo opp and then up and around the Ile de la Cite. Plush leather seating and a bottle of champagne provide comfort though you can ride standing up, hair blowing in the wind, through the water taxi’s sunroof. It’s a special experience. Be sure to arrive early in order to find the boat, however. We paid €750 + €100 for snacks (don’t get the snacks… just the boat will do).

ReadWhat it’s like to take a private Seine cruise in Paris

Book: Hotel concierge or River Limousines.

Skip-the-Line Catacombs

I was unable to book this tour last summer because it had sold out on multiple tour operators months prior. Lines for the Paris catacombs are rumored to reach over 3 hours long during peak season. Keep in mind that it’s also hot and humid so line waiting is not that bearable.

This year, through site partner Viator I bought a skip-the-line catacombs tour and can not wait to let you know how it was. I chose a tour with a five-star rating that is 90 minutes long but there are longer, more detailed tours to choose from.

Read: What It’s Like Inside the Paris Catacombs


Eiffel Tower

Le Jules Verne is the Michelin-star fine dining restaurant located on the second floor in the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A meal here is one that you will not forget.

With a lunch reservation at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, guests can enjoy expedited access into the Eiffel Tower via a private elevator. After lunch, if crowds permit (and they usually do, I’m told), restaurant staff will let you on to the second-floor viewing deck for panoramic views of Paris without a ticket for the Eiffel Tower or waiting in any line whatsoever.

Not to mention the food, service, and presentation are absolutely exquisite. We dined for lunch so I can only imagine the views through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows at sunset or after dark.

Read: What it’s like to dine in the Eiffel Tower at Le Jules Verne

Book: Le Jules Verne

(Viator has other skip-the-line Eiffel Tower ticket options.)

Disneyland Paris VIP Tour

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Paris

A Disneyland Paris VIP Tour is the ultimate way to skip-the-line at this Paris attraction. They’ll share stories along the way and help you plan your day with fast entrance to all rides. As many Disney park lovers know, even FASTPASS lines can have waits up to 15 minutes and since that is where VIP tours enter the larger rides, a little waiting is to be expected on the big rides.

The only way to find out pricing and availability is to call or email which I did before our trip last summer. Then, the price was €900 for 5 hours and €200 for each additional hour after that for I believe up to 10 people. Because it was June, and we’d only allocated half a day to visit, I almost booked the tour because I wasn’t interested in waiting in line. I didn’t luckily because I wasn’t totally convinced we’d make it to the park. However, since school wasn’t yet out for most of Europe, Disneyland Paris was nearly empty but the security lines to get into the park (everyone must pass through them) were chaotic. In July and August, however, the VIP tour is likely a good idea.

Read: How to visit Disneyland Paris in half a day.

BookDisneyland Paris

Versaille Skip-the-Line

It’s possible to skip-the-line in a variety of ways at the Palace of Versailles. Buying tickets in advance will send you to the ticket holders line, which can also be very long at this popular attraction. We’re talking over an hour long. So, if you REALLY want to skip the lines a tour is the way to go.

One of the items on my to-do list is a bicycle tour around the gardens of Versailles. You can just do a bike tour or both bike and tour the palace. Some skip-the-line tours will pick you up in a private car and take you directly to Versailles, which is incredibly handy.

Book: Viator

(You may also want to check out the Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass to bypass ticket booth lines at major attractions and museums. We compare the Paris Pass vs. Paris Museum Pass. The former includes attractions that are not museums in addition to museums.)

How do you skip lines in Paris?

By booking tours and exclusive experiences, it's possible to skip lines to major Paris attractions.

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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  1. How do I skip the line in Paris?
    Louvre: Purchase a ticket on line thru the official Louvre website, and then enter the museum thru the Carousel du Louvre mall entrance. No wait, and no markup.
    Museé d’Orsay: Purchase tickets at the newspaper kiosk nearest the museum (never a line), then head to the ticket holder’s entrance. No wait, no markup.
    Catacombs: Purchase tickets several months ahead thru the official Paris Catacombs website, then use the ticket holder’s line at the entry door. 27€, and includes an audio guide. No wait.
    Eiffel Tower: Purchase tickets exactly 3 months ahead to the day, at 8:30am Paris time via the official Eiffel Tower website. Proceed to the separate entrance for ticket holders, 3 minute wait max. No markup. If that fails, reserve lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel for 42€ and ride the separate elevator up a few minutes before your reservation. Not as luxe as Le Jules Verne, but cheaper than a ticket from Viator.
    Versailles: Purchase passport tickets online via the official Chateau du Versailles website, AND purchase a King’s Private Apartments tour for an additional 7€. Report to a separate entrance at the time of your tour, and skip the long ticket and security lines. The extra tour is worth much more than the few euros it costs, and you are let out in the chateau at the end of the tour so you can see the public bedrooms and Hall of Mirrors.
    Never purchase a Paris Pass–it is a collection of tickets and passes that you can purchase separately yourself very easily for less money.
    Purchase tours thru Viator only as a last resort–they mark the prices up double or triple what you can easily purchase on your own if you know how far ahead to buy.
    A Paris Museum Pass can be a good purchase, and is convenient for waltzing past the ticket lines at many museums and monuments. Purchase it at your first venue, or stop by a lesser-visited site to buy it (the Cluny never has long lines). You’ll pay the base price shown on the Paris Museum Pass website, rather than a marked up price from a third-party seller.

    1. Thanks so much for these great tips. For Versailles, do you mean the Passport with timed entry? Or just the plain passport ticket?