Can I buy this online ahead of time? and I think I read that it is good for the RER trains to Palace of Versailles. Correct? What's the approx cost of it? Thanks. I see other places sell it but I'd like to buy it directly from the true Paris Visite website if anyone knows the link. thanks
It comes in a variety of sizes depending on the number of days and the number of zones. There's no need to buy it ahead of time, offical site, non-offical site, or what. It's sold at every metro/rer, bus, and train station. Think real hard about what you want to do. Why buy one for five days that goes all the way out to Versailles if you're only going to go there once? Get an inner zone pass and individual tickets for the big outing. Even then, it's probably not a good deal. Also think about the Mobilis deal or maybe Mobilis for the inner zones on a heavy travel day and a carnet that could get you through a few more days. Paris is walkable for the most part. Typically, if I'm stating on the fringe, I ride in and ride out. Maybe I'll ride one more time in the course of a day. Probably not unless it's raining or I'm herding people without stamina. If I'm staying in the central core, I might ride the metro twice in a week - - or maybe not at all. Generally speaking, the only people that make out with passes anywhere in the world are the pass peddlers. Anyway, here's the matrix: http://www.pariswelcome.net/metro/paris_visite.htm
Passes for Paris seem to be an extremely popular topic of late. You can search and probably find multiple recent threads on the Paris Visite Pass and the Paris Museum Pass. I'll summarize my opinion which has been expressed elsewhere. Passes must be carefully evaluated against your planned sightseeing. It requires you to somewhat plan your visit more carefully which really isn't a bad thing anyway. Don't go crazy trying to squeeze multiple museums and trips into a short period of time just to make the pass pay off. Add up the benefits and only buy the pass if it is a clear winner. I don't think anyone does as much as they plan to do. I have bought the Paris Museum Pass (twice) but didn't buy the Paris Visite. The passes worked for me because we were there multiple days and visited many of the museums covered. I went to Versailles both times which I've found to be key to making the pass purchase worth the cost. The line skipping function worked best at the Orsay when I was there both times. At Versailles it also came in handy. I use the metro and bus system more than Ed but I still only do two to four trips per day. I've always stayed in central Paris so I didn't have the in and out Ed refers to. The carnet are not very expensive and the only RER I've used has been to Versailles. There's no need to buy either in advance. For the Paris Museum Pass, it works best to buy it at a "minor" museum that typically doesn't have a big line. They also sell it at the airport. I heartily agree with Ed's comment that the typical person buying the various passes don't get their value out of them. Some passes are absolutely horrible and can only be justified by the most dedicated tourist. Other passes can easily be justified. Typically, the longer your stay the easier it is to justify the pass. You just have to do your homework ahead of time.