Many European cities offer official museum passes, which package admission fees in addition to transit options, discounts, or queue-cutting access. These attractive cities include Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Firenze, and Istanbul, among others. The Paris Museum Pass is one that happens to be of value to me due to my trip duration and penchant for seeking culture.
The Paris Museum Pass includes approximately 60 attractions. While priced for two (€42), four (€56), and six days (€69), the most expensive version is the one that makes the most sense. You could argue for buying the two- or four-day versions, depending on your time value for waiting in catastrophically long lines, such as at the Musée du Louvre.
This time being November, the waits for popular attractions are much shorter than during peak months. Still, the lines at Musée Picasso, Sainte-Chapelle, and for the upper decks of Notre-Dame de Paris (the ground floor was free of cost and fuss, as are most Parisian religious edifices) were lengthy enough for me to skip them with sadness. The queue-cutting privileges of the Pass are not valid at all museums. Special exhibitions and audioguides (not a fan) incur the normal extra expense.
How much did I save with the Museum Pass? Here is my tally (in order) during my six days’ worth:
- Musée d’Orsay – regular price €11
- Musée de l’Orangerie- €9
- Musée du Louvre – €12
- Arc de Triomphe – €9.5
- Centre Georges Pompidou – €13
- Château de Versailles et the Trianons – €18
- Musée Rodin – €7.3
- Musée de l’Armée – €9.5
- Musée du quai Branly – €10.6.
The total retail cost of these museums that I would have visited anyway is €99.9. I saved €30.9 and several minutes in queue.
Another practical feature is the ability to wander in and out of a given museum, which one could not do with an ordinary ticket. Although I did not take advantage of this freedom, the first three museums I visited would definitely merit this consideration.