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Avoid the lines in Paris tourist attractions (and pay less)

You are traveling to Paris for the first time, yay! You would like to take it easy but your time in Paris is limited and you want to get the most of the City of Light. Because it is your first time in Paris, you want to see the Paris tourist attractions or at least some of them. You have seen Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower sooo many times in books, travel magazines, postcards and finally you have the opportunity to see them live.

But maybe you forgot that Paris is one of the most visited cities of this planet. You won’t be alone. Actually, there are thousands of people planning their very first time in Paris during your same dates. And probably these thousands of people also want to visit the Paris tourist attractions, which means long, very long queues.

Sounds scary? It may be . . .

avoid the lines in Paris

Despite we enjoy talking about the alternative, more local side of Paris we are not here to tell you to avoid these places, just avoid the queues! And how can you avoid the lines in Paris? You just need some planning and the right information. Because information is power. So don’t look further, we are going to give you some cool info and our best tips to spend less time in line and also to pay less. Go on reading . . .

This is the list of the 6 most popular  museums and monuments (by number of visitors) in the city*:

Louvre Museum 8.7M visitors

The Eiffel Tower 6.9M visitors

Musée d Orsay 3.4M visitors

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie 1.9M visitors

Grand Palais 1.77M visitors

Arc de Triomphe 1.76M visitors

*Latest Published Source : Bilan de l’Activité Touristique de l’Année 2015 by Paris Région

We added the Paris Catacombs  to the list because lately everybody wants to visit the Catacombs : -)

For each of these Paris attractions we are going to give you the best day and the best time slot to visit, during high season and low season. Also, are going to tell you how to visit these Paris tourist attractions for less money or even for free.

 

HOW TO AVOID THE LINES IN PARIS: WARNING

This information comes from many sources: museums’ websites, other Paris websites and also from our personal experience. This is not rocket science: we cannot promise that you won’t find long lines during the best time slots for these Paris tourist attractions. Also, during one time slot considered as “very strong” lines might be significantly shorter if it rains a lot, if it is too cold or if there is a heat wave, just to give you some examples. So please take all this information with a grain of salt. Zero queues do not exist in Paris but if you follow our advice at least you won’t hate Paris when you leave.

NB: colors on the tables correspond to estimated waiting time by time slot: green means less waiting time while red means very long lines. High Season in Paris is from 1st April to 31th October and Low Season in Paris is from 1st November to 31st March, with the exception of Christmas holidays.

avoid the lines in Paris

Via flikr CC @Daniel Lobo

 


 LOUVRE MUSEUM

Address: Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1

Metro: Palais-Royal – Musée du Louvre (L1, 7), Louvre Rivoli (L1); Velib Station #1.025

Website: www.louvre.fr; tickets available online

We like Louvre Museum a lot and we visit it at least twice a year, usually when it is free. You can check our super guide with all the information and our best tips to visit the Louvre like a pro.

Related:  Louvre Museum Survival Guide : best tips, artwork and much more

Best time to visit Louvre Museum

the Louvre best time to visit

 

How to pay less /how to visit the Louvre for FREE

The ticket for Louvre Museum costs 15€. However, there are some opportunities to visit the Louvre for free:

* Louvre Museum is FREE for all visitors the first Sunday of every month, from October to March.

** It is FREE for all visitors on 14th July (France’s National Day), during Les Journées du Patrimoine (next edition on 16 and 17 September 2017) and during La Nuit des Musées (next edition end of May 2018)

** The Louvre is always FREE for people under 25 years from a country within the European Union.

*** The Louvre Museum is FREE for people under 25 years, all countries, on night openings (Wednesday and Friday) from 6pm to 9.45pm

Check for other FREE admission opportunities on Louvre Museum website

 


 THE EIFFEL TOWER

Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris 7

Metro: Bir-Hakeim (L6), Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel (RER C); Velib Station #7.025, 7.023

Website: www.toureiffel.paris; tickets available online

 

We prefer to see Paris with the Eiffel Tower than Paris from the Eiffel Tower but we understand that Eiffel Tower is a rock star and all rock stars have rave fans! As you can see on the tables below, the Eiffel Tower never rests. However, you cannot do much to avoid the lines in Paris Eiffel Tower, especially in high season (lines up to 2 hours during “very strong” time slots).

Best time to visit the Eiffel Tower

the Eiffel Tower best time to visit

How to pay less /how to visit the Eiffel Tower for FREE

The Eiffel Tower admission with the lift to the top included costs 17€. Unfortunately the entrance to the Eiffel Tower is never free but there are some reduced options:

*  The entrance ticket to the lift up to the top costs 14.5€ for people under 24 years.

** The Eiffel Tower admission to the lift up to the second floor costs 11€ for adults and 8.5€ for people under 24 years.

*** You can climb the Eiffel Tower stairs up to the second floor for 7€ (adults) or 5€ (people under 24 years).

Check for other reduced admission opportunities on Eiffel Tower website

 


MUSÉE D ORSAY

Address: 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 7

Metro: Solférino, L12 and Musée d’Orsay, RER C; Velib Station #7.007

Website: www.musee-orsay.fr; tickets available online

 

Best time to visit Musée d Orsay

Musée d Orsay best time to visit

If you want to visit Musée d Orsay during the week, avoid Tuesdays: it is when Paris has the Louvre closed !

 

How to pay less /how to visit Musée d Orsay for FREE

The regular price of 12€ corresponds to Musée d Orsay permanent collection + temporary exhibition. However, there are some opportunities to visit the Orsay for less money or even for free:

* Admission tickets from 4.30 pm (except Thursdays) and from 6.30 pm on Thursdays cost 9€.

** Admission tickets for people between 18-25 year old who are not citizens or long-term residents of an EU member state cost 9€.

*** Musée d Orsay is FREE for all visitors on the first Sunday of every month, during Les Journées du Patrimoine (next edition on 16 and 17 September 2017) and La Nuit des Musées (next edition end May 2018)

**** Musée d Orsay is always FREE for people under 25 years from a country within the European Union.

Check for other FREE admission opportunities on Musée d Orsay website

 


CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE

Address: 30 avenue Corentin Cariou, Paris 19

Metro: Porte de la Villette (L7, T3b); Vélib station #

Website : www.cite-sciences.fr ; tickets available online

 

Best time to visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Cité des Sciences best time to visit

How to pay less /how to visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie for FREE

The admission ticket for la Cité is 12€. Apart from this ticket, there is a reduced ticket for 9€ for people under 25 years old or people 65 + years old.

There are few possibilities to visit this museum for FREE apart from and La Nuit des Musées (next edition end May 2018). Other options are basically for people living in France (i.e. job-seekers in France).

 


 GRAND PALAIS

Address: 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris 8

Metro: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau, L1 and 13 ; Velib Station #8.029

Website: grandpalais.fr ; tickets available online

 

Best time to visit Grand Palais

This is the most difficult museum to predict because in Grand Palais there are always 2-3 different exhibitions at the same time but in different spaces. If you want to visit Grand Palais to see its amazing central nave, be sure that you choose the right exhibition (you can check the exhibitions’ location online). Also, the waiting time will depend on the success of the exhibitions.

Below, we show you the waiting times for one of the current exhibitions (at the time of writing). We have been following these diagrams for the last months and more or less all the exhibitions in Grand Palais show the same pattern. As you can see, Grand Palais does not make the difference between high /low season but between out of school holidays (in France) /on school holidays.

Check the waiting times for your chosen exhibition on Grand Palais website

Grand Palais best time to visit

How to pay less /how to visit Grand Palais for FREE

Admission tickets in Grand Palais cost around 14€. This is one of the most difficult museums to beat and apart from the weekend of Les Journées du Patrimoine (next edition on 16 and 17 September 2017) and La Nuit des Musées (next edition on 20th May 2017) there are few options to visit it for FREE. People visit Grand Palais when they visit one of its exhibitions. Because you want to see La Grande Nef be sure that the exhibition you want to see is located there. It is possible to get a reduced ticket (around 10€) for people under 25 years old.

 


 ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris 8

Metro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (L6, 1, 2, RER A); Vélib station #8.028, 8.056, 8.057

Website: arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr ; tickets available online

 

Best time to visit Arc de Triomphe

This one is EASY! We always go to the top of Arc de Triomphe when it is free and never found a long line . . .

Paris Catacombs best time to visit

How to pay less /how to visit Arc de Triomphe for FREE

 

Admission tickets for Arc de Triomphe cost 12€. A reduced ticket of 9€ is available for tourism professionals, people from non UE countries under 25 years old and foreign teachers.

FREE opportunities to visit Arc de Triomphe include:

* The first Sunday of every month, from October to March for all people.

** During Les Journées du Patrimoine (next edition on 16 and 17 September 2017).

*** Always FREE for people under 25 years from a country within the European Union.

Check for other FREE admission opportunities on Arc de Triomphe website

 


 THE CATACOMBS

Address: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris 14

Metro : Denfert-Rochereau (L4, 6, RER B); Velib Station #14.005

Website: www.catacombes.paris.fr; tickets available online

Best time to visit Paris Catacombs

Paris Catacombs best time to visit

How to pay less /how to visit Paris Catacombs for FREE

Admission tickets to visit the Catacombs of Paris cost 12€. There is a reduced ticket of 10€ for young people (from 18 years to 26 years) and for residents in Rome (Paris – Rome are twinned). A proof of residence (ie. invoice with your name and address in Rome) will be requested. Maybe the Catacombs of Paris will be for free to visit during Les Journées du Patrimoine (next edition on 16 and 17 September 2017) but you don’t want to do that queue . . .

The Paris Catacombs propose online tickets (skip the line tickets) for 27€ (!!), entrance + audio guide.

 


HOW TO AVOID THE LINES IN PARIS: OUR TIPS

Try to avoid high season, when waiting lines are longer. January, February, November and December (except during Christmas) are the months with less waiting lines.

Avoid bank holidays and French school holidays, when parents need to do anything to keep their bored kids busy. Click on the link to know the dates of school holidays in France.

Make a list with your must-see sights and with the help of our graphics choose the best day and the best time slot for each of them.

Purchase your tickets online whenever possible. Consider buying the skip-the-lines tickets for some sights.

Paris Museum Pass allows entrance to 60 Paris sights and helps to skip the ticket- lines. Check on the post below if it may be convenient for you.

Related:  Paris Museum Pass Review: a good value or a big scam?

♣ If you are in Paris only for the weekend, choose Saturday to visit the main sights. On Saturdays Parisians do the groceries or other household tasks, go shopping or other personal things.

Be an early bird. Arriving there before the opening means shorter waiting line and less crowds once you are inside.

♣ If you are interested in a specific temporary exhibition in Paris, especially if it is a successful one, avoid the two first weeks and the two last weeks.

♣ Bring lots of water, some snacks and something to protect you against the sun, rain or cold weather. A book or your kindle (lighter) or your ipod to keep your entertained is not a bad idea either. We give you some ideas at the end of the post.

Take it easy. You can start a conversation with your neighbors, maybe you can share useful tips or good eating addresses in Paris while waiting.

And if in the end you decide that queuing is not for you, have a look at our list of FREE Museums of Paris. They are very cute and most of them, despite being totally for free, don’t see many visitors!

Related:  Free Museums in Paris (Paris for Free)

Cover Picture: Tour Eiffel picture via flikr CC @Mohamed Yahya

 

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Paris Tourist Attractions: how to avoid the lines and pay less! Find the best time slots to visit the tourist places in Paris.

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Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links. It costs you nothing more (in fact, if anything, you’ll get a nice discount) but helps us to go on creating incredible Paris content for you (and eventually keep up stocked in French wine). We trust all products promoted here and would never recommend a product that isn’t of value.

 

 

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Carlee Hebert
    08/25/2017 at 11:48 pm

    This post was super helpful! I’ll be studying abroad in France in the spring and blogging about it! I’ll be in Grenoble, but I have a feeling I will be making a trip to Paris at least once!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      08/26/2017 at 11:30 am

      That’s cool, I wish you the best in France! I don’t know how is it from Grenoble but there is a very fast train connection Paris – Lyon

  • Reply
    Aanchal Iyer
    07/18/2017 at 12:34 pm

    Have never been to Paris, but hope to visit there soon as I’m getting engaged next month, my fiancee has planned a visit to Paris on the top list. And yea, have to say all your articles are quite informative this will really help me out while travelling.
    Keep posting Cheers:-)

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/29/2017 at 6:15 pm

      CONGRATULATIONNNNNSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply
    Carmen Edelson
    07/07/2017 at 12:30 am

    This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I just love Paris, but I certainly don’t love waiting in line.

  • Reply
    Nina Danielle
    07/06/2017 at 11:15 pm

    Oh my gosh, those photos are amazing! I’m a morning person so I’m always first in line at attractions when I travel, and always happy to be when I see the lines behind me. This guide is fantastic. Definitely returning to this page if I go to Paris!

  • Reply
    melody pittman
    07/05/2017 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, this is so helpful. Having never been to Paris, I had no idea that they received that many visitors. Incredible and I would definitely refer to your guide to optimize my time and lessen my wait times.

  • Reply
    Corinne
    07/05/2017 at 7:29 am

    This is a great article. I love how you put the tables of when the places are busy and not busy. Very helpful. Thanks!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for your kind comment Corinne. Hope people visiting Paris will find it useful too 🙂

  • Reply
    Nathan
    07/04/2017 at 9:24 pm

    There’s so much helpful information here! I’ve not been to Paris yet but when I go I’ll be using this to plan times. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Anneklien Meanne
    07/04/2017 at 8:17 pm

    Greattips here, i been to Paris but i missed out some toursty plave, i think its about time to revisit the Paris, your tips will be handy.

  • Reply
    Punita Malhotra
    07/04/2017 at 5:00 pm

    In Paris, one can never really imagine a no-crowd scenario, I guess.. Luckily, as crowds grow, so do crowd-hacks. Great tips here on beating the queues in Paris.

  • Reply
    April
    07/04/2017 at 4:08 pm

    A very comprehensive and useful information! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan Jerrard
    07/04/2017 at 1:31 am

    Seems like overall, the early risers are always better off – which I’ve always known, I just don’t like to wake up lol!!! Interesting to see that in high season, and on weekends and holidays though there’s really no avoiding the crowds at any time of day. Thanks for this really insightful info.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks Megan for your nice comment. Euh, yes, unfortunately some places like Eiffel Tower are crowded most of the time and especially on weekends

  • Reply
    Castaway with crystal
    07/03/2017 at 12:48 pm

    This is such useful information. You’ve set it out really well, making it so much easier to get your head around. So AWESOME! Thank you!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for your nice comment Crystal 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    07/03/2017 at 5:16 am

    Wish I could archive this in my email or somewhere! Thanks.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:38 pm

      You can pin or flip the article to your private boards Carol 😉

  • Reply
    Drew
    07/03/2017 at 1:31 am

    Wow, amazing resource! Great job putting in the time and effort to put this together. This is certainly super helpful for visitors to Paris. Avoiding long queues can make a holiday significantly more enjoyable! Agree on the tips to avoid high season too, as I think Paris (or any city) loses its mystique when there are just hoards of tourists roaming the city!

  • Reply
    Danik
    07/02/2017 at 2:10 pm

    GOod advice here and I am so glad that I done all the touristy stuff. Hoping to find some off the beaten stuff later this week when I arrive in Paris

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:39 pm

      Enjoy your trip to Paris, Danik 🙂

  • Reply
    Jing
    07/02/2017 at 6:22 am

    A very useful post. I didn’t know that there are times when the Louvre Museum goes free. I wish I knew this before I went to Paris. We actually skipped going up the Eiffel Tower due to the long queue.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 3:08 pm

      Yes, you can visit Louvre for FREE. I always do. But you need to go early, otherwise the queue is very long

  • Reply
    sherianne
    07/01/2017 at 7:49 pm

    I was there in November. It rained. And it was cold. And there were still lines! Such good information — thank you for compiling it!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/06/2017 at 1:40 pm

      Unfortunately rainy days are the perfect time to visit the museums 😉

  • Reply
    Natasha
    07/01/2017 at 6:04 pm

    These travel hacks are amazing and I will defo be using these when I visit Paris for sure. Why wait in ridiculous lines when you can get in faster. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Karla Ramos
    07/01/2017 at 3:43 pm

    I love how detailed this post is complete with visuals. I’ve been to paris on a very busy season. I wish I had known this then. This would really be useful

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/01/2017 at 5:45 pm

      Maybe next time! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin
    07/01/2017 at 12:24 pm

    We lived in Paris for a decade, and can confirm that most museums and monuments can be very crowded at times. This post can really help travelers and tourists to avoid the crowd. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      07/01/2017 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks to you for your nice comment! Always happy to help 🙂

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