Our recent trip to Paris also happened to be our first. We knew there was a ton to see, and while the reality is we couldn’t see it all, we certainly wanted to see as much as we could. While researching different attractions and planning our itinerary we came across ads for something called the Paris Pass. This pre-paid option promised discounts and ease during our trip. We ran some numbers and decided to purchase the pass for our visit. Here is a full review that may help you decide if the Paris Pass is worth purchasing for your trip.
What is the Paris Pass?
The Paris Pass is a card that while you pay one fee, it gains you entry to over 60 attractions around Paris. The purchase also includes the Paris Visite Pass for unlimited travel around the city, as well as some discounts and coupons. Think of the Paris Pass as a pre-paid, “all you can see” package. The more you see and do, the more value and savings you get out of the pass (more on that down below). The pass is available in different amounts of consecutive days: 2, 3, 4, or 6 days.
Access to many top sightseeing destinations
“Skip the line” privileges at many spots
Unlimited public transportation by Metro RER, Buses, Trams and SNCF Overground Trains (within zones 1-3)
Extra offers and savings
A handy guidebook to help plan (and small enough to carry with you)
How to use the Paris Pass
We ordered the Pass a few months prior to our trip. The pass arrived with a convenient clear sleeve to carry around the various cards. It also arrived with the guide book. While we would be staying in Paris for 6 days, we only bought the 4 day pass since we knew we wanted to do some things that weren’t included on the other 2 days. Knowing the days had to be consecutive helped us plan which days were best to see Paris Pass attractions and utilize the travel card, versus the non Paris Pass days (for things like the Eiffel Tower and a day trip to Normandy for instance). Here was our plan for using the Paris Pass:
We did also select some “backup” experiences in case we had extra time, but for the most part wanted to plan just the right amount for each day with some time left over for wandering the city. Keep in mind the card activates on the first day of use, so it is best to use it first thing in the AM to get more hours out of it than starting in the evening. At any of the attractions you simply walk up and show your card. In many of these instances there were special lines just for us that allowed us to skip the standby ticket line (such a time saver). The travel card included is activated on first day of use as well, it is a small metro ticket that is inserted into the entry machine just as a single price ticket would be. It is also good to note there is a Paris Pass app available for download while on the go. We used this to quickly look up contact information and details on the place we would be visiting.
Where we went with the Paris Pass
We had our Paris Passes in hand and we had our perfect plan. So the big question is how did we do? Let’s break it down… We paid €382 (or about $435.88) for two 4-day Museum/Attraction passes with a five day unlimited travel card. (roughly $10 of that cost was to ship the passes to us so we had them in our hands ahead of time. You can pick them up in the city somewhere but this convenience was worth it to us). Here are the attractions we utilized with the pass with prices shown for two tickets:
€24 - Arc de Triomphe
€76 - Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Did not do Opera as planned due to very long line and being tired (€34 value)
€30 - Louvre Museum
€64 - Les Caves du Louvre Wine Tasting
Originally we would have chosen another Paris Pass activity such as Montparnasse Tower (€36 value)
but paid for another limited time experience instead - Atelier des Lumières
€36 - Palace of Versailles
€30 - Bateaux Parisiens Rover Cruise
Did not do Notre Dame as it was shut down shortly before our visit (€20 value for entry and €16 value for crypt access)
€20 - Sainte-Chapelle
€24 - Musee d’Orsay
+ 2 unlimited travel cards at an €84.40 value
(Although it is fair to note we probably would not have bought unlimited cards otherwise. We estimate we would have averaged 8 trips overall, or 16 fares at €1.90 each for a total of €30.40)
So is the Paris Pass worth it?
If you add up the value of everything we received at face value we surpassed the original price we paid. However if you make the argument we may not have bought the travel cards and paid individual fares throughout the time we actually came up short. We certainly could have gotten more value out of the pass but a few things happened:
We underestimated how tired we would be at the end of the first day and skipped our last planned tour
After buying the pass we learned about an exhibit we really wanted to see, it is limited run so we had to squeeze it in. The time to do this ate into time that other wise would have been a Paris Pass activity
Shortly before our trip Notre Dame was closed. This of course was out of everyone’s control.
Could we have done more Paris Pass included activities? Sure. But part of our goal while visiting Paris was to fit in experiences like walking along the Seine, a picnic by the Eiffel tower, enjoying a meal. We feel that we casually used the pass and still did a lot. If someone were to really make an effort to get the most value they certainly could.
Another thing to note is that the skip the line instances really so awesome. There were quite a few places that we showed up to that had super long lines and we were able to go right to the front. It is hard to put a value on something like that. Overall we are glad that we were able to pre-pay for our activities, skip the ticket lines, not have to carry as much cash, and be able to take transportation at anytime without having to worry about buying tickets. Since it was our first trip this was a great way to check a lot of items off the list. Even though there were some instances that impacted our original plan overall we found we really enjoyed the simplicity of having the pass. If Notre Dame had not been closed we would have absolutely gotten our money’s worth. But we still think the Paris Pass was a good choice for us given the benefits and we don’t regret buying it at all. Are you still trying to decide if the pass is right for you? Here are our thoughts:
The Pairs Pass may be a great option if…
there are a lot of sights on the list you want to see anyway
you are a good planner to figure out what is realistic for you in a day
you would rather pre-pay and not have to buy individual tickets
you would utilize a lot of unlimited public transit
you really value skipping the lines to save time
The Paris Pass may not be the best option…
you are not a planner and don’t want to stick to an itinerary
if most of the sites you want to see are not included on the pass or you only want to see a handful of things
If you don’t like doing things on your own and would rather pay for a full tour experience
If we were to visit Paris again we would probably not buy a longer pass again as we already saw so much on this recent trip. However we would look at getting a smaller pass to do a day or two of new sights to see. We also want to look into the same pass company in other cities we would want to visit across the world. If you are planning your upcoming trip to Paris we hope you have an amazing time! If you are interested in purchasing the Paris Pass you can learn more here:
Disclaimer: While we purchased our Paris Pass for this trip, we have since become affiliates for the Leisure Pass Group. If you click the link above and purchase a pass we will receive a small commission to help support the blog. Please note we only work with companies that we believe in and that align with our interests.