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Paris museum pass and security checks

My family of five adults is spending a week in Paris at the beginning of October. We had been planning to buy four-day passes for everyone. The savings weren't enormous but we really loved the idea of skipping the lines. Now we've heard that we won't avoid lines because due to increased security everyone needs to be checked. Can anyone advise us?

Posted by
115 posts

You will skip the line to purchase a ticket but still have to go through security. By buying the pass you have cut your queuing in half! In some places the security line is before the ticket line (Les Invalides and Orsay) and sometimes it is second (Arc de Triomphe). You will be very happy that you are skipping the ticket lines. Have a great time!

Posted by
2466 posts

If you have a Museum Pass, you can only skip the Admission lines.

There are special lines marked "Pass Holders" or the equivalent.
Everybody must go through the Security lines, no matter which admission line you qualify for.
Even if you enter multiple times in the same day, you have to go through Security again.

It is not a good idea to bring backpacks, day bags, large totes or things of this nature to museums. There is no place to check them, and if the Security agents think they are too large, you will not be admitted.
Also, do not bring anything that would not pass through Security in an airport.

Posted by
15993 posts

Security check lines are increasingly a fact of life at the most visited attractions in just about ANY tourist city, and there's no skipping them. By anyone. You do save time skipping the ticket lines with passes so they still have their benefits as long as you can come close to breaking even on them.

The Paris Museum Pass (NOT the very expensive Paris Pass) is especially good as it allows you unlimited visits during the life of the pass to any of the attractions it covers. Most city passes only allow a single visit per attraction. This means you could use it for, say, a morning at the Louvre and then return some evening when it's open late to see a bit more (it's HUGE.) With 3 separate visits to that one alone, we had no problems making good on our 6-day pass.

Posted by
4684 posts

The PMP does give you access to a separate, usually shorter security line at the Orsay and Orangerie. The Orsay, in particular, has one of the worst security lines in Paris.

Posted by
8171 posts

Having security lines is not new. The pass lets you use a designated security line at the Orsay, the Orangerie, the Louvre and other places. It is an even greater time saver now then before.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all for your immediate and very helpful replies. I feel confident now that we need to have the museum passes. We're going to buy them on the morning of the second day at the tourist information office on Rue de Pyramides and from there to the Orangerie and the D'Orsay, and then on to the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triumf. Exciting!

Posted by
7209 posts

Just be aware that lots of people will be buying the same pass and hoping to skip the same lines so don't think you'll just breeze through wherever you go. You'll be breezing through along with all the other people hoping to breeze through.

Posted by
2466 posts

You don't have to make a special trip to purchase the Museum Pass. Just purchase them at the first museum you visit - it's a lot easier. You cannot do this for the Musee d'Orsay, unfortunately.

Posted by
1384 posts

Just a heads up. If you are going to Sainte-Chapelle be aware that there are two lines for getting in. One, usually to the left of the security entrance are those needing to go to the court house with appointments & to the right those going into the Church itself & for other reasons, there usually is some sort of signage near the roped off entrance. Everyone goes through the same security check. Once inside the inner courtyard you will head to the Church entrance, its main entrance/walkway/roadway was under construction in June so everyone entered from the side entrance. If you have a Museum Pass or prepaid/printed ticket you do not have to stand in the line forming outside the side entrance. You can walk in past the folks on the Right side of them, that gets you to the person checking folks with tickets & Museum Passes. Everyone else is standing in line to purchase their tickets from the ticket window, which is located adjacent to the double doors to enter. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
2466 posts

In addition, Sainte-Chapelle closes for about an hour during lunchtime.

Posted by
177 posts

Another thing to be careful about is when you buy the Museum Pass. We arrived in Paris in the afternoon and was going to buy the 4 day Museum Pass at the Arc de Triomphe. We arrived about 6:00 to buy the tickets but it was to late to get the Museum Pass so we lost out on the day and had to pay a single entry fee. I know we had lost that "day" even if we would have been able to get the pass because of the time but we only had three more days (arrived Wed afternoon and left early Sunday) and the pass comes in 2, 4, 6 days (I think some other options but not sure) so the 4 day was our best option. Just wanted to let you know that there could be a cut off time to purchase the Pass.

Posted by
211 posts

Very helpful for first timers to Paris. Thanks.
To those of you who responded that Museum Pass holders can, at some places, go thru a shorter security line, can you please indicate what the signage actually says in French? Thanks.

Posted by
8 posts

We just got back from Paris and we bought the 4 day museum pass and I can confidently say that it was worth it. We would hit 2-4 locations a day and then spend the evenings relaxed at a cafe or somewhere along the Seine. Our itinerary (approx): day 1: Cluny, Pantheon, Notre Dame (free), Orsay (5th floor) Arc de Triomphe (eating shopping at Champs E.): day 2: Pompidou, Carnavalet, Picasso, Arts et Metiers: day 3: Orsay (rest), Orsay (finished), l'armee (Napoleon tomb), Rodin, Grand Palais (skip this as it is science museum for kids, unless you have kids): day 4: Louvre and Orangerie.

If you want to hit Versailles, buy the Versailles passport and pay 8-9 euro extra for private tour, this way you will skip the ticket line AND the security line (they have a separate one for private tours).

Based on this, we saved quite a bit and several of the locations did have separate security lines for museum pass holders (they have picture signs or English).

Also contrary to an earlier reply, bringing a backpack is no big deal because most of the big museums either have free bag check (some mandatory) or just allow you to carry it around (in front for some exhibits with statues).

Last thing is if you are spending a week there and will be landing Sunday or Monday then get the Navigo weekly pass (RER and Metro). It saves so much time and money (approx 26 euro per person, need to bring a passport picture, can be purchased at the RER station connected to CDG, AND pays for itself if you get to and from Paris by train) (especially after the museums when you just can't walk anymore)!!

Have fun!

Posted by
4132 posts

I add you can buy your passes at any time (we got ours at the airport TI the day before we activated them). You activate them by writing in the date when you start to use them.

The advantage is you can get them at a time that might be more convenient than "just when we are ready to use them."

Posted by
8171 posts

The Navigo Decouverte is not 'activated' -- it is good Mon-Sun whether you use it or not. The Paris Visite which you write your date and name on is a tourist rip off and is almost never worth getting; if the ND doesn't fit your dates then just get ordinary tickets in sets of 10 for a discount i.e. 'carnet' of tickets.

Posted by
2466 posts

Some people might find that the Mobilis Pass will better suit their needs.
It's one ticket, valid for unlimited travel via bus or Metro, between start of service until midnight.
If you're staying within central Paris, a pass for zones 1 -2 costs 7 EU.
If going to the airport, Versailles, Disney, La Defense, etc, zones 1 - 5 apply, cost is 16.60 EU.
Remember to write your name and the date on your ticket and validate it in the machines on the bus and Metro each time you enter.
Here's the complete information:
http://parisbytrain.com/paris-metro/

Posted by
5 posts

on that subject, Rick recommends the "back door" to the Louvre rather than the Pyramid entrance. Can you use the Museum pass at the back door entrance?

Posted by
2619 posts

I was in Paris in May and used my Museum Pass to enter the Louvre through the Carrousel entrance.

Posted by
59 posts

To answer Skip's question about what the signs look like: the Museum Pass is in English (it says the English words on the front, nothing in French), so if there's a sign it will say "Paris Museum Pass" in English. I think there was actually picture of the pass on many signs. But even more important, there was usually a guard at the entrance before the lines so you could hold up your pass and they will point the way. This was definitely true at the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay. At Sainte-Chapelle and Arc de Triomphe, there was only one line with people in it, so I walked to the front of the line and held up my pass to make sure I was in the right place. They waved us right through and we skipped the lines entirely.

Posted by
12172 posts

Notice, on the Louvre's website, it says: "Visitor with advance tickets (including Paris Museum Pass): entrance via the Pyramid without having to queue."

So it sounds like, even though you have to go to Pyramid, you walk straight to the front.

Posted by
8171 posts

there is a separate line at the Pyramid for ticket holders. security is the same as it has always been except that the Eiffel Tower now has a secondary perimeter which it didn't have before the terrorist attacks.

Posted by
10 posts

I am wondering if Paris museum pass will include Versailles or not. Also if this would include skip the line access. also is there any way of adding private tour to this pass.

I see one of the member has mentioned about Versailles passport and to pay 8-9 euro extra for private tour - please advise

Posted by
8171 posts

Versailles is included in the Museum Pass but it does not let you skip the horrendous blocks long line that stretches out front by mid- morning. You do skip the ticket line inside. This long line is a security line. Get there half an hour before the chateau opens when it is just forming. (we went to the gardens last fall in late October https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/fountains-of-versailles-a-little-chaos/
and the line for the chateau when we arrived at about 10 was blocks long. We were only interested in the gardens and fountains and the line for the garden was about 6 people ahead of us.

to avoid the big line get there early or book a tour of the King's apartments. People for that tour meet at a different door and so you avoid the line and once the tour is over you can do the rest of the chateau. The chateau is well worth seeing, once, but it is a pretty crushing miserable experience -- people are really jammed in. The grounds are well worth a leisurely day.

Posted by
1384 posts

This past May & June there were 3 lines in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre. One for the Pass Holders/Museum Pass (Far Left), one for individuals that purchased their day ticket for the Louver (Right side) with a sign & picture of the Louvre day ticket, and those still needing to purchase a ticket (Right side as well) adjacent to the smaller roped off Louvre day ticket holders. A security guard did very well in getting people into the correct line, but it was comical seeing folks with the Louvre day ticket insist they belonged in the Pass/Museum Pass line. She was a very busy woman getting everyone situated before they opened. The signage wasn't that large, about the size of our standard sheet of printer paper. All you had to do is walk up near the pyramid entrance to see which line was for what pass or ticket.
Enjoy your trip.