Paris: Le Plan et Le Pass

My Paris Museum Passes arrived this weekend via DHL.  This was yet another milestone in our Paris planning process.  I’m so excited to have them, along with our Eiffel Tower tickets.  It makes the trip feel so much more real!

I’m a planner, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  We only have three days in Paris, and I don’t want to spend time waiting in lines if I don’t have to.  During my research, I continually came across suggestions to buy a Paris Museum Pass.    If you go to the website ( you will find all of the locations for which the pass is valid.  Also, you can find the locations where you can purchase the pass in Paris (and other locations in Europe).  My primary focus was convenience, so I didn’t want to have to find a place to buy a pass.  I chose to pre-purchase the passes and have them sent to my home. Because of the overseas shipping, this was a pricier option, but they arrived safely (we had to sign for them) and very quickly (ordered and received within a week).  Now I have them, and I don’t have to waste time upon arrival!

Before purchasing the passes, I had to decide if they would be worth the price tag.  My research showed that I did NOT need to purchase the passes for my kids.  Anyone under the age of 18 can enter most Parisian museums for free (and all of the museums I was interested in).  EU citizens have an even broader age range.  There are a couple of locations (Les Invalides for example), where I will need to queue up to get a free ticket for my girls.

In true planning-addict form, I mapped out my three days in Paris and priced out the cost of purchasing the pass vs. purchasing individual tickets.  The Museum Pass website (above) actually helps you do this, which is, of course a marketing ploy (but quite effective).  The pass does not come in a 3-day option…just 2-day and 4-day options.  This presented a bit of a wrinkle.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I always try to avoid over-scheduling our days and ensure that I prioritize sightseeing and remain flexible in moving things around (or chopping them from the list).  Just based on my knowledge of Paris (I’ve been several times) and my family’s limited tolerance for museums (not inherited from me), here are our priorities:

  • The Louvre.  This is an obvious visit, but I plan to have us enter in the evening because I read that the crowds are less intense (a relative term).  You can check the hours on the website.  Given our schedule, we will go on Friday evening (open until 9:45pm).
  • Musee D’Orsay.  Another obvious choice.  I also read that it was best to go in the late afternoon, but the only day they have later hours is on Thursday.  This won’t work with our schedule.  So we will brave the daytime crowd.
  • Notre Dame.  Some portions supposedly require a free child’s ticket.  We want to visit the cathedral, climb the 400+ stairs to the top and visit the catacombs.  I need to do more research to see if all of that is one ticket or multiple tickets.
  • Sainte Chappelle.  It is very close to our hotel and to Notre Dame, so I plan to include it with our Ile de la Cite walk.
  • Arc de Triomphe.  Getting a good view is always on my list!
  • Centre Pompidou.  My family is not big into modern art.  This is close to our hotel and the exterior and elevators are fun.  We may not go into the actual museum (yes, such philistines, I know).
  • L’Orangerie.  This is near the Louvre and because we have passes we may “pop” in. They have a beautiful collection of famous Monets.
  • Les Invalides.  This is part of the military museum.  This was not originally on my list, but I think that my husband would like it, and I read that they have an excellent audio tour for kids with a scavenger hunt of different kinds of weapons.  Will this be too much of a “boy thing?”  I don’t know, but I will report back.  Also, seeing Napolean’s tomb is kind of cool.

All of these locations (and many more) accept Paris Museum Pass.  Once I organized all of these items in logical groups and considered our Eiffel Tower visit as well, I realized that I didn’t want to commit to a 2-day pass because the days have to be consecutive, and I could not imagine cramming all those museums into two days.  But when I priced out all of these visits vs. the 4-day pass, I determined that purchasing the pass was still a solid decision. Yippee!

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The guide that came with the passes.  This can be found online!



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