We are going to be in Paris for a month. Any suggestions on purchasing museum passes at best rate and how to use effectively? 6 consecutive days does not seem like very much when there are so many museums!
How many museums do you plan to visit? I was in Paris for 8 nights about 2 years ago and bought the 6-day pass. I visited one museum per day over 6 days, including Versailles, and saved 5 euros PLUS I bypassed long ticket lines at the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Versailles. I'm not aware of any month-long passes; hopefully other posters will be able to comment on other options. You will have to do the math to see whether buying 4 or 5 six-day Museum Passes will save you money or at least break even. You will definitely save time by avoiding ticket lines, and you'll be able to repeatedly visit big museums like the Louvre.
when it comes to passes and such, you have to do the math and figure out for yourselves if its worth it to you and your group.
i fly solo and i bought the Paris Museum Pass because the math worked out.
chances are, if you go to the web sites selling the passes, it should have info on which sites the pass is good for. From there you should be able to find out the cost(s) with out the pass and of course the discount, if any.
an excel spreadsheet is good for number crunching. If this is too much work for you, then break out your printer and print out the lists of attractions. Then mark up with costs/savings and go from there.
one comment too, is to pay attention to open/closing times and open/close days. one other trick is to go to the more popular places first if you can. Although some places are not as busy at night.
one last hint. If you plot out your attractions on a map, you can then group them into areas so youre not trotting back and forth across Paris to see all the things you want.
if this is too much work for you then theres the stand by "wing it" too.
I think that if you are going to Paris for the first time and plan to hit all the usual tourist places, the museum pass is a good deal.
1. Most importantly, you save time by skipping the line to buy a ticket. That can save you literally hours in places like Versailles and Louvre.
2. You can be spontaneous, dropping into a less known museum just to check it out if you are in the area. There are a number of small museums worth a quick walk through, but not worth paying the full price. Examples would be the Army Museum to check out Napoleon's tomb, the Arabic museum, Cluny, and Maritime museums.
3. As previously mentioned, it is important to plan your days carefully. Cluster your visits to one area. Try to hit the crowded museums early or late, being aware that most museums close late on certain nights of the week. For instance, if you want to go to the top of the Arc du Triomphe, it is open till 10 pm, when most other venues are closed. you can save that for the end of the day.
Finally you can get really lucky like I did. I asked for four 6 day museum passes at the TI at Charles de Gaulle airport. The person at the counter said fine and quoted me a price that was for two, not four passes. I asked if that was the correct price. She emphatically said yes. Not wanting to argue, I paid her in cash, got my four passes and was on my way. It was a nice welcome to Paris.
There's no way to get the passes discounted. If you buy them from third-party websites, you can pay more than the list price, so just buy them at a participating museum or a tourist office.
Remember that there are many sights not included in the pass. These are the ones to see on your non-pass days. And surely you won't want to spend the whole month just in museums?
Finally, while Ricks says that smart travelers always get a museum pass, I don't agree. Of my three most recent trips to Paris:
For one I got almost twice the value of the pass (going up the Arc de Triomphe twice helped).
For one I ran around trying to "get my money's worth" and just broke even.
For one I didn't get a pass because I was focusing on non-covered sights, and a pass would have been a real waste of money.
For a month, it's not worth getting any museum pass. Just go on the days you feel like it. Your only other options would be to get a membership at museums, but that wouldn't pay off.