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Traveling in off season

Is it necessary to purchase skip the line tickets for Orsay if we travel in October? Is Paris significantly less crowded in October.

Posted by
20599 posts

No but the line for Orsay has never been too great. Off-season is slightly less so but you still a large number of business conference and conventions that come in the Fall. It is better than July but it will still be fairly crowded. But the virus might slow it down.

Posted by
5700 posts

We usually travel in October to Paris which is not the 'off season' -- September is the most popular for hotels for example and most expensive. In our experience of a couple of dozen visits to the Orsay there has usually been a fair line for tickets and often little or no line if you have a ticket already. There are no 'skip the line tickets' and you don't buy some special product from a middle man. There are just tickets. You can buy them on line and they are good for several months; they give you access to a different door than those without tickets. I would not approach the Orsay without a ticket.

Posted by
50 posts

As others have recommended, I’d get tickets online. That’s if you aren’t planning to buy a Paris Museum Pass (the one with the Mona Lisa on the cover) then you don’t need a ticket, the pass is your ticket. With a ticket or pass in hand you go straight to the security line. Never been in October, but over the last few years, we have been to Musée D’Orsay in early January, late March and mid-May and we have always seen a long line to buy tickets. Last year, in March, at noon, as we were leaving, the multiple ticket buying lines extended out of the place in front of the booths and snaked around on to the sidewalk by the Quai Anatole France. It looked to be an hour long. The security line - which you go through regardless of how you buy your tickets - in my experience, has sometimes been longish (15-20 mins?) and sometimes been blissfully short with no wait.

Posted by
13933 posts

Last time I was in Paris was April 2015. I waited in line at the at the "skip-the-line" entrance for about 10-15 minutes, probably because I confused the opening time - missed it by 30 minutes. The regular line looked to be much longer.

Posted by
1430 posts

hey hey five5daisys
october is not "off season" we were there last october and was very busy and crowded. lots of conventions, conferences, fashion week, had a music parade. we noticed lots of cops/guardsmen standing at street corners, entrances to sites, roaming around everywhere. that's life in a big city like paris. cafes and bistros were busy and full but we did have a great time. lots of travelers think things slow down after summer months, not really.
i would buy "skip the line" tickets before hand but you still will have to go thru security lines which may take longer, along with other attractions.
enjoy your time in this magical city, you'll love it.
aloha

Posted by
5700 posts

People with tickets use DIFFERENT security lines at most museums e.g. Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie etc. It is not true that 'everyone has to go through the same security line' -- at the Orsay for example, you use an entirely different door for entrance and security if you have a ticket from those waiting in the long ticket line.

There are no 'skip the line tickets' as if this is some special product; there are just tickets. Having a ticket ahead let's you have some line advantages some places. (not at Versailles however where you need a timed entrance to avoid that hideous security line out front -- or a guided tour of rather boring backstage rooms which IMHO just sucks up time better spent in the public rooms and the gardens.

Posted by
20599 posts

The idea of off-season for major cities like Rome, Paris, London, etc., just doesn't apply any more. With the easy of travel these days, and the number of travelers, it hard to find a time when it isn't really crowded. The advantage to Oct is the weather and it far easier to tolerate a crowd with reasonable temperatures instead of baking in the sun in July in Rome with a million close friends.

Posted by
7640 posts

Which part of October?

I'll just add that I was in Paris last October...both the first 2 weeks of the month, then back thru for a few days toward the end of the month. I noted that Tuesdays were particularly bad for lines at d'Orsay as that is when the Louvre is closed. The Museum Pass/prior ticket line was down the block. I had good luck one afternoon (Thursday) during the end of my visit at getting in. I went by and was planning to purchase a ticket at the kiosk outside the museum if the line to enter the "non-ticket-holder" line was long. However, the line was short and I was in and thru to the ticket window within 10 minutes.

Posted by
13933 posts

jane is correct. I may have mislead by using the "skip-the-line" description. I was using the Paris Museum Pass. The line is for anyone who doesn't need to purchase a ticket - including members, Pass holders, etc. There is a separate entrance. There is a separate security check at each of the entrances. After the security check, you either enter the museum or wait in line to buy tickets.

Posted by
11704 posts

I've seen long lines at the Orsay. It's one of those places that you can show up early and get right in. If you try mid-day, the line can be pretty long (and slow-moving).

I generally travel in May/June or September/Ocotober. I haven't seen crowds in July/August but there are definitely people - and lines - in October.

Posted by
78 posts

I'm going to be in paris the first week in October and this is great information. Hubby & were discussing if we needed to buy tickets in advance and reading these comments that answer is "YES". Thanks so much!!!!

Posted by
7640 posts

nwnews, I'd wait until closer to the time to purchase d'Orsay tickets. Will you be getting a Museum Pass? As of now you do not need advance reservations for d'Orsay. Since you are going in October I'd wait until September or so and come back to the forum to see if there is any change in pattern.

Posted by
78 posts

Pam, actually I'm thinking more in terms of high access places like Versaille & Eiffel Tower. Hubby & I haven't discussed our hit list on the museums yet. But I definitely will be keeping an eye on the forums the closer we get to our trip!!

Posted by
5700 posts

Eiffel Tower you need to buy about 60 days out -- always long lines.

Versailles -- having a ticket won't save you the long wait, you need a timed ticket.

Posted by
1145 posts

Yeah, I thought February would be off-season. I found things pretty packed all over in Paris and Amsterdam. Buses, Metro, museums, some restaurants, train stations, etc. Flight CDG to AMS and back pretty full (and uncomfortable).

Perhaps school vacations got me?

But I don't care to see July and August there . . .

In fact, it seemed more crowded than when I was there last in October 2017.