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How Early to Book Orangerie, D'Orsay, and Vedettes de Paris Tickets (for late December)

We will be in Paris Dec 25 - Jan 1. Our itinerary is below - we are a family of 4, two kids ages 11 and 15. I'm wondering if I should book Orangerie, D'Orsay and Seine cruise tickets now or closer to when we get there (or even once we arrive). Other sights we plan to see are already booked, but I am not clear if for these three pending items they fully book in advance or not. In case our itinerary changes slightly, I thought I might wait - but don't want to risk not visiting these places if I need to lock them in earlier.

For the Vedettes de Paris Seine cruise, can we purchase these on whichever day we go? Or do these cruises book up?

Dec 25
-Arrive and check-in to AirBNB in Le Marais
-Eiffel Tower tix - booked for 4:30

Dec 26
-Stroll Champs-Elysees from Arc de Triomphe to Tuileries Garden, Christmas market at Tuileries
-Possibly take in the Orangerie museum - 2 pm?
-Seine boat cruise in the evening?

Dec 27
-Food tour in Le Marais 10:30-2
-Rest of day TBD

Dec 28
-Day trip to Versailles
-Possibly macaron class at Galeries Lafayette in evening

Dec 29
-9-11 Louver tour
-Walk the latin quarter/ left bank

Dec 30
-Montmartre tour
-Galeries lafayette/Printemps

Dec 31
-D'Orsay in the a.m.
-St Chapelle and Conciegerie in the afternoon, evening concert at St Chapelle

Jan 1
Eurostar to London

Posted by
3661 posts

For your Seine cruise, I'm going to assume you mean Vedettes du Pont Neuf; but there are a couple of other choices as well. There's really no need to book in advance, and good reason not to : weather. Book on the day, or just show up.

Posted by
11099 posts

The best advice I can give on advanced ticketing for the Orangerie and Orsay is to watch their websites.

Looking now the Orangerie looks wide open for the 26. That might start to narrow down but if you check the website every few days you can see if that is happening.

The Orsay is a different matter. There are days during that week that are completely sold out already so you should get tickets now. You may have to rearrange what you see when to get something. When you go to pick a time on the 31 all the times show as sold so you might have to do that on the 30th which it looks like still has a time available late afternoon.

BTW, on both of those ticketing websites I had to go all the way thru, select tickets, skip the audio guide, lol, to finally get to the calendar page. It's a pain but the best way to see how the tickets are falling.

The boat cruise I would wait on because you'd not want to do it if it was pouring rain or other precip. (Or maybe that would be OK?) I don't do the river cruises and they don't usually sell out BUT this week might be different!

EDITING TO ADD: Well, this is distressing, I went back in to the Orangerie and am now seeing NO Availability for that full week after Christmas. Go ahead and look and see what you wind up with.

Posted by
31 posts

Pam - thank you! I just checked their website. We will have a Paris Museum Pass and it says you do not need a timed entry ticket if that's the case. So does that mean we can show up whenever?

Posted by
8926 posts

As far as Vedettes de Pont Neuf , we have taken their cruises as well as the Bateaux Mouches and never have bought tickets in advance. Both companies are fine.

Posted by
173 posts

I've never bought tickets in advance for Vedettes du Pont Neuf. And in December, even being a holiday week, I doubt it's going to book up.

As for the D'Orsay, I'd say go ahead and book it. One less thing to worry about! It can get booked up.

When I visited L'Orangerie, I did not have tickets and stood in line for 45 minutes (in late January). That was also shortly after it had reopened after renovations and everybody wanted to go, so I am not sure if the lines are still that bad there. I haven't revisted it since then.

I usually don't like booking things in advance because I want to be more flexible, but I don't mind booking big museums like D'Orsay or Louvre for the morning because it is the first place I plan to go that day. But if I had to book L'Orangerie at 2pm and have to make sure I am there by then... that I don't care for :–}. That being said, your plan for that day puts you right there.

Have a great trip!!

Posted by
11099 posts

"So does that mean we can show up whenever?"

The Orsay website says"

"Holders of a Paris Museum Pass or of a ticket purchased from a third-party vendor do not need a time slot reservation.""

The Orangerie ticketing website states it a bit differently:

"Reservation is strongly recommended.

Free of charge reservation for:

Holders of a non-time stamped admission: Tickets from third-parties vendors, Paris Museum Pass."

To me that kind of indicates they want you to have a reservation for a timed entry. However, I would probably just go by there on the day you want to enter. This museum is much smaller than the Orsay and people tend not to stay as long. If you are going in the afternoon, in the times I've visited it was busier in the AM than afternoons but I've not gone in winter. I visited in October 2021 with a Paris Museum Pass and I do not remember that we had reservations but I am not 100% sure. I do not have that in my notes.

Posted by
31 posts

Pam - the issue is that the D'Orsay won't actually let you book a timed entry if you have the Paris Museum Pass. So that's what I'm wondering about. It seems we have no choice but to just show up and I would love to know from others if we can expect to get in or not. I also sent an email through the Orsay website. I was able to book a free timed entry to the Orangerie - so am not really worried about that museum any longer.

Posted by
11099 posts

Oh good, I'm glad you got timed entry for the Orangerie.

I do not think you will have a problem at the Orsay since their website now so clearly states you do not need a timed entry with the Museum Pass. As you stand in front of the museum the "A" door is on your left and it is for non-ticket holders. The "C" door is on your right and is for reservations. I'd go to the entry for C. There is usually a person monitoring the line and they will let you in when you show them your pass.

You may or may not realize this with the pass but they are sold as 2/4/6 days but they are actually 48/96/144 hours SO depending on what time you enter your first museum on day 1, you may be able to get into another museum on the morning of day 3/5/7...if that makes sense? And yes, I have done this.