When looking at activities in Paris, you will be overwhelmed with museum options. After all, it's the art capital of the world! Whether you are going to spend hours in each museum, or just see the highlights, a pass will cut your wait time down to nothing and will really maximize your time. Here are the tips and tricks I figured out on my latest trip to Paris!
The Paris Museum Pass and the Paris Pass have different uses
The Museum Pass will not get you into the Eiffel Tower, but it will get you into Versailles. The Museum Pass is just want it sounds like, it will get you into all the of the museums you can think of (and some you don't even know exist) but not much else. The Paris Pass gets you into attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomph. It also gets you a free river cruise and guidebook, a metro card, and free tickets on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. The Paris Pass will get you into the main museums like the Louvre but not any of the secondary or smaller museums. However, it can be VERY pricey. At 153 euros for a 3 day pass, you will want to make sure it's worth it!
How to Decide which pass you need for your stay.
If you are only in Paris for a short time, like 2-4 days, the Paris Pass is the way to go. You will be able to see more of the main attractions and have trouble free metro travel. It will be worth the cost. The River Cruise, bus tour, and quick entry into the top sites will ensure that you can hit the main attractions as quickly as possible. Plus you can ride that Hop-On-Hop-Off buss all day long! Use it as your transportation if you want to see the city instead of traveling underground with no views. This takes away the stress of finding your way to each site! However, if you are staying for more than 4 days, it wouldn't save you much if any. If you like art and want to see the Impressionist paintings of the Musee d'Orsay and the Rodin sculptures the Paris Museum Pass is the way to go!
Plan your itinerary around evening hours
Almost all of the museums have one night that they stay open late. The Paris Museum Pass website has a pretty up to date and comprehensive list of them. This is a great way to see more without missing out on those lovely sunny days outside! I found the museums to be less busy during the evening openings and more peaceful.
Take Advantage of Free Tours
Some museums like the Louvre offer free museum tours that last around an hour and directed by museum employees. These are pretty good! And if you don't like being your own guide, reading the museum map and figuring out where the highlights are, this is for you. This is a good and FREE way to see the must-sees and get oriented with the layout so you can feel more comfortable walking around on your own afterward if you choose. These museums are so large that you can easily spend an entire day inside and not have seen what you came to see. I would recommend having a decisive plan going in so you don't miss your top priorities.
Don't Stress About Seeing It All
Paris is filled with more famous art than you can shake a stick at. The fact of the matter is that you probably won't see it all, nor will you want too. After a few days of art galleries, you will be ready to eat some fromage and explore gardens. Just concentrate on choosing the art that means the most to you and use the tips above to ensure that you get to experience it. You won't remember that painting you missed, you will only remember the amazing experience you had!