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Traveling to France Thanksgiving week

I will be traveling to Paris Thanksgiving week. What kind of crowds can I expect? Is it necessary to buy skip the line tickets? Any other tour companies besides Viatour? I like that you can cancel the tour unlike if you buy directly from the monument/museum but understand they are a middleman with not such great reviews.

Posted by
16941 posts

Ah, Thanksgiving is an American holiday, although Canadians do have it on an earlier date. In France, it's just another day in paradise.

Posted by
11292 posts

Viatour is not a tour company at all. They merely resell other people's tours. When you ask about skipping lines, be aware that there are ways to skip ticket buying lines, but no one gets to skip security lines.

Were you looking just for admission tickets, or also for tours?

If you are seeing a lot of museums, the Paris Museum Pass is a good deal. http://en.parismuseumpass.com/

If you are not seeing enough museums to make the Museum Pass a good deal, you buy advance tickets for individual attractions directly from them, like

the Louvre https://www.louvre.fr/en/online-tickets
the Musee D'Orsay http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/visit/admission/ticket-purchase.html
and Versailles http://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices

that will allow you to skip the ticket buyer lines.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Harold. Some places, like the Louvre I think I might like a tour so as not to walk around aimlessly. I think I might like a tour for places like Notre Dame for the explanation of what you are looking at as well.

Posted by
2916 posts

We were in Paris during (American) Thanksgiving week several years ago, and I remember that the museums were very crowded. Not with French people, but with Americans, presumably taking advantage of the holiday break.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Robert. So I guess I should book museums in advance? I'm having a hard time planning out itineraries, trying to figure out what to do when.....difficult to guess how long we will want to spend at an attraction. I don't want to get stuck in long lines either obviously

Posted by
7718 posts

You can buy the Paris Museum Pass to skip the lines, no need to book a special tour.

Or, for most museums, these days you can go to the website and purchase a ticket online.

Information on the Paris Museum Pass here, or there are about a million posts about it on the Forum that you can search.

http://en.parismuseumpass.com/

Posted by
9929 posts

I agree with Kim and will add that advanced tickets or the Paris Museum Pass will help you skip the ticket line but won't help you skip the line for security. In some museums there are separate security lines for Museum Passholders.

Posted by
511 posts

You wrote: "I'm having a hard time planning out itineraries, trying to figure out what to do when.....difficult to guess how long we will want to spend at an attraction. I don't want to get stuck in long lines either obviously"

Here's my recommendation: talk to the people in your group if you are not traveling alone and find out what they want to see. See if those suggestions are covered by the Paris Museum Pass. Find out which days the museums are closed. Start roughing out a plan. The beauty of the Museum Pass is that you don't have to choose times, just a series of consecutive days. Use those days for the popular museums with long lines: Versailles, the Louvre, D'Orsay.

You can use trip reports posted on this website for a rough idea of how long to spend, or Rick's recommended Paris itinerary based on the number of days you have and also on what sounds appealing to you. Personally I'd allow half a day per museum, then if you finish early you have time to wander or shop.

The museum pass can be bought after your arrival for a series of consecutive days and you can save some money by planning all your museum days in a row. If you want you can check the weather reports about five days before you arrive and put your "museum days" on the days it is going to rain.

Here's my trip in April, to give you an example: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/april-in-paris-1e48a51b-4933-490e-9e0d-e8bdf1035b47
And Rick's suggested itineraries for fast-moving people: https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/paris-itinerary