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1st Time Paris - Questions

My wife and I are very excited about celebrating our 30th anniversary the first week of November in Paris. We are not experienced travelers at all. We need your expert advise please.

  1. Where can we purchase one of those city or museum passes that allows us to bypass the lines like Rick Steves does on his shows?

  2. Can we purchase the passes online in the states ahead of time or do we get them in Paris?

  3. What does the pass cover? Does the pass cover the Eifel Tower?

  4. Can anyone recommend any really good romantic restaurant to celebrate our 30th anniversary? We don't like restaurants that serve "fancy schmancy" overpriced little food.

Thank you so much for your help!

Posted by
439 posts


This is the website it does cover all the questions you asked above,

I would look on the map to see which location is closest to you, they will also deliver it to the hotel. I did look into the shipping but the rates they were charging makes it not worth the savings you get from it. We are going to buy it there. I think the Eifel tower is an extra 15 euros. The web site does goes into detail about what is covered an not covered. Rick's book does as well.

Posted by
7723 posts

Go to to find answers to your questions. We usually go to one of less popular sites or museums, i.e. Napolean’s Tomb, to buy our passes without lines.

Posted by
4693 posts

What a great way to celebrate your 30th anniversary!

You can buy a Paris Museum Pass when you get to Paris. I think you can get it at the airport but not sure. You can definitely buy it at any of the museums or monuments covered by the pass.

The Paris Museum Pass does NOT cover the Eiffel Tower.
Make sure to book your Eiffel Tower tickets way in advance ( usually up to 92 days in advance) as they sell out very quickly.

I’d strongly recommend getting a good guidebook on France, such as Rick Steves, Frommer’s, Lonely Planet, (many others), to help you determine what you want to see and do while in Paris. 😉

Enjoy your trip!

Edited to add...

You don’t mention how long you plan to be in Paris, but you may consider getting the Navigo Découverte week pass, which covers Metro, Trams, and buses around Paris. It’s very convenient especially if you’ll be there at least 4-5 days and those days fall on Monday -Sunday.

Posted by
10057 posts

Congratulations! We spent our 30th in Paris a few years ago and have been back many times since.

Do you have the Rick Steves guidebook for Paris? It is a treasure trove of advice and will answer all of the questions above and more you haven't even thought of. I highly recommend buying or borrowing it.

You can buy the pass at the first site you visit. You can see what it covers at this site. Best not to buy it at a crowded site, i.e., The Louvre. It does NOT cover the Eiffel Tower. Buy those tickets well in advance online. (They go quickly so monitor the site.)

As to that anniversary dinner, one of our favorites on a subsequent visit was Very close to the tower and utterly delightful. Reservations mandatory. We also like, also in the 7th. Neither is over-the-top.

Posted by
2018 posts

More congratulations for your anniversary coming your way and you have chosen a most wonderful city in which to celebrate. This forum does a stellar job with recommendations, as well as a wealth of other important info. Laurel gave you excellent advice about getting a Rick Steves guidebook for Paris to start your planning. You can buy one from this site, borrow from your library or purchase from your local bookstore. Kindle has a version but as I write myself notes on every available clear space, I always buy paper. His guidebooks are well written, full of basic information and very readable. Of course, there are lots of other guidebooks out there, too! I am sure you will have a lot more questions as you begin your planning process!

Posted by
1103 posts

If you are flying into CDG, here are the 5 locations within the airport:, cheaper to purchase in Paris than on line & having it mailed out to you. I know for sure after exiting Terminal 2 E baggage area, the Tourist Info Desk is just on the unsecured side. Orly airport has two locations as well.

Locations w/in Paris:

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
8293 posts

I think La Fermette Marbeuf is a romantic restaurant for an anniversary. It is also very beautiful. Check it out.

Posted by
6626 posts

Be aware that everyone has to stand in security lines and that for many places although the Museum Pass has separate lines for pass and ticket holders, they don't exempt you from those lines. At the Louvre for example, the pass holders line in my experience is longer than just walking in other entrances. At the Orsay the pass or a ticket is a huge line savings but in summer you may still wait 15 minutes (I once was in line for the ticket holders security door when a middle aged American tourist pitched a fit because he had a Museum Pass and that meant HE didn't have to wait in lines -- he of course was sent to the back of the line while everyone waved their passes at him. ). So yeah the Museum Pass saves line time but it doesn't mean you won't be standing in lines.

Posted by
10 posts

Just want to add, do NOT purchase the Paris Museum Pass online as it is a physical pass. Then you have to arrange to pick it up in Paris (might as well wait) OR you have to pay to ship it to the states. Pick out a little museum as your first stop or pick it up in the FNAC near the Louvre the day before you use it (it doesn't activate until you enter your first museum).

Posted by
11288 posts

I'll second the recommendation - strongly - that you buy Rick Steves Paris ASAP. It has the answers, not only to your questions, but other questions you didn't even think to ask yet.

Be prepared to have security screening at all kinds of places - even to get into some shopping malls! The intensity and nature of the screening will vary - looking into your bag, metal detector, and/or bags x-rayed are all possible. Do try not to have metal in your coat; otherwise you'll beep going through the metal detector and then waste a lot of time having to find the paper clips and foil-wrapped hand wipes you've forgotten were in various pockets in the coat (not that this ever happened to me, of course).

When I went in May 2018, the line for Museum Pass holders at the Louvre's Pyramid entrance was shorter than the other lines, but of course this can change.

Posted by
511 posts

I bought our museum passes at the tabac (tobacconist/news stand) across from Sainte-Chapelle. We skipped ticket-buying lines but not security lines.

Posted by
360 posts

I don't know where you're staying, but we really enjoyed Pirouette and was one of our favorite meals on our three-week trip around France. It's over near the Pompidou Center (or even for lunch). If you really enjoy cured meats, Da Rosa was amazing (though not probably your special anniversary night!). A friend of our recommended Le Souffle across the street (cute, cozy) but they were full, so we went to Da Rosa across the way. And they're both right around the corner from Laduree, if you're into macarons (near the Tuilieries).

Posted by
6626 posts

YMMV but we ate at Le Souffle last year and it was very disappointing; a real tourist trap with not very good souffles. If you want the world's greatest Grand Marnier souffle try Chez Dumonet, Josephine. It is simply amazing. I have made those souffles and mine don't come close; Le Souffle wasn't even as good as mine. Having had the souffle at Chez Dumonet recently I am busy looking up recipes and planning to try it again.

Posted by
11832 posts

If you don't carry a bag or back pack, they will wave you through security. You might still have to wait for the people in front of you having their bags' checked. Arrive before opening (30 minutes is usually good) and you will be at the front of the line. I was in front of the museum pass line at the Louvre, waved through security because I had no bag and ended up inside the museum minutes before anyone else. I went straight to the Mona Lisa and had the place to myself (and a Canadian couple who caught up with me) for nearly ten minutes before anyone started showing up.

As others have said check out the museum pass website and make a list of places you want to visit. One of the nice things is it allows you to drop in for a twenty minute visit at a small place without the admission prices adding up. At least two thirds of the included sights don't have lines so you can drop in and buy a museum pass without a wait.

You can buy a museum pass the day you arrive, without going in, then activate it later to get the best use from it. Plan to not have an active pass on any free day (first Sunday of the month, mid September weekend, maybe others), it's a waste of money and the museums are crowded on free days.

Posted by
22 posts

Wow! Thank you so much for the all the responses, tips and suggestions! I will take them all into consideration and start planning. Thanks again!

Posted by
183 posts

Go online and look into getting a navigo pass , will get you onto the rer , subways and busses in
the districts in Paris , also Versailles, Fontainebleau. It’s a weekly pass . Will pay for itself in a few days .
Enjoy your anniversary in Paris