When in Paris, a city with countless tourist points of interest, anyone can make use of a handy tool that maximizes benefits and minimizes expenses. There are a couple of such offers included in passes offering cheaper transportation, free admissions to museums and monuments, free guided tours by bus, and more. From experience and after careful examination, I believe that the Paris Museum Pass provides the most convenient benefits for its price.
Why the Paris Museum Pass (PMP)?
PMP holders benefit from free and fast track access to many museums, galleries, monuments and chateaux in the Paris region. Although the PMP, unlike the Paris Pass, doesn’t allow you to use public transportation for free, it’s still my favorite because it opens the doors of approximately 60 attractions at a far more reasonable price.
The PMP is particularly convenient for art devotees and all those who are in Paris for the first time because, with the exception of the Eiffel Tower, practically everything can be toured with it. Since the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Conciergerie, Holy Chapel, Decorative Arts Museum and other leading museums and monuments are located in the city center, you won’t need to use public transportation very often as each attraction is accessible by foot from one another. In addition to those museums, with the PMP, you can also visit the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the Pantheon, Vincennes Chateau, the towers of Notre Dame and other attractions that are located in the city center.
Comparison between Paris Museum Pass (PMP) and The Paris Pass (TPP)
Paris Museum Pass (PMP) and The Paris Pass (TPP) are the most popular Paris passes. You can opt for three types of the PMP: 2-day (42 EUR – 46 USD), 4-day (56 EUR – 62 USD) or 6-day (69 EUR – 78 USD) pass. When compared to The Paris Pass, which costs 129 EUR (144 USD) for 2 days, 189 EUR (210 USD) for 4 days and 229 EUR (254 USD) for 6 days, it’s clear that, although TPP offers more attractive benefits, you’ll be hard pressed to make this investment worthwhile.
The most convenient benefits offered by TPP, in addition to those of PMP, are a free Paris Bus Tour, free transportation around the city, a River Cruise and offers in certain shops and restaurants. Despite, the TPP offering a great deal more, the time frame to enjoy its benefits is simply too short. So if you don’t intend to rush from one attraction to another, with very brief visiting periods, PMP is a better choice.
For your reference, the full price of Paris Bus Tour costs 33 EUR (37 USD), the Seine River cruises are around 15 EUR (16.50 USD) and the Paris Metro ticket for a single ride (valid until you leave the metro network) is 1.80 EUR (2 USD).
Useful Paris Museum Pass tips
PMP doesn’t include temporary exhibitions, only permanent. Also, before purchasing your PMP, pay attention to whether a museum or a monument you wish to visit features a special event or free admission (usually the first Saturday of a month). In such cases, passes are neither refunded nor is the validity period extended.
PMP holders avoid queuing in most cases. A few exceptions are the Holy Chapel and Versailles. In fact, the pass saves you from queuing to purchase the ticket in Versailles, while waiting in line to enter the palace complex is practically unavoidable. As for the Holy Chapel, you should arrive around the opening time (9:00 am or 09:30 am, depending on the season) to avoid prolonged queuing.
The best convenience is certainly offered by the 6-day pass (69 EUR / 78 USD), which tends to pay for itself in two days at most. The 2-day pass (42 EUR / 46 USD) pays for itself in a day in most cases (example: Louvre + Orsay + Triumphal Arch = 40 EUR / 44.77 USD). So if you tour these three attractions with the Pantheon (9 EUR / 10 USD) and Versailles (15 EUR / 16.50 USD) in two days, the price of the 6-day pass almost equates to the money you would’ve spent purchasing individual tickets.
Additional useful info about the Paris Museum Pass
The PMP can be purchased in each participating museum or monument, Paris Tourist Office and Tourist Info Desks at Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. Along with the pass, you get an informational brochure that informs you about participating attractions, operating hours and basic information. On the back of the PMP, write in your name, surname and the date of when your pass is valid from.
Bonus knowledge: if you prefer to purchase your pass in Paris, the Decorative Arts Museum, next to the Louvre, is especially convenient. In most cases, you’ll be the first in line, and will be able to bypass a long line of people waiting to purchase a ticket for the Louvre. You can always come back to the Decorative Arts Museum later.
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