Though I have no talent with a paint brush and anything I try to sculpt ends up looking like a ball of dough (it’s not ugly, it’s avant-garde and modern), I love the arts. I especially love impressionism. While we were in Paris we exhausted the halls of some of the most amazing art galleries and museums in the world. And we did them all in four days and for 64€ per person.
It’s all thanks to the Paris Museum Pass, a handy little booklet that you can buy at several locations throughout Paris or online before you even hit the airport. To skip the ticket lines at some of the busiest attractions in the city, all you have to do it flash it and you are in.
Now, complete disclosure: we did have to wait almost an hour and a half even with our passes to get into Versailles and about half an hour at The Louvre. But we didn’t have to wait in the ticket line which at times could be twice as long.
So as I said, we used it at The Louvre, Chateau de Versailles (a great half day trip outside of Paris which I’ll share soon), Musée d’Orsay, The Pantheon, Saint-Chappelle, The Conciergerie, The Crypt at Notre Dame and the Bell Towers of Notre Dame, Musée de l’Orangerie and Centre Pompidou.
All of these museums and monuments together would have cost us 121€ per person without our pass . . . that’s 242€! Instead, both of us were able to enjoy them for 128€ total. And there are a ton more places that are part of the Paris Museum Pass program.
One more disclaimer: the pass does not always work for special exhibits. When we were in Versailles, because it was a Musical Garden Day, we had to pay an extra 8€ per person to go into the gardens. We also were not allowed into the special exhibit, Beat Generation, at the Centre Pompidou. Not bad though, when you think about it.
Now, there are always exceptions so what looks like the cheapest option might not be the cheapest option.
In France, many museums are free on the first Sunday of the month. And if you don’t mind crazy crowds, that could save you a buck or two. Also, if you are under 26 years old you can get into most of the big museums for free and others at a reduced rate. And remember, each museum has a day during the week that it’s closed so don’t be like me and show up to the Musée d’Orsay on Monday when it’s their day off. Do your homework and look at how much it will end up costing for you depending on your age, when you are going, how long you’re going to be there and what you want to see. That will determine whether or not the Paris Museum Pass is right for you.
And then go hit the galleries!