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[UPDATE June 2020] Visiting Paris for the first time? You would like to take it easy but your time in Paris is limited and you want to get the most out of the City of Light. Because this is your first time in Paris, you want to see the main Paris tourist attractions or at least some of them. After many years of dreaming of Paris, finally, you have the opportunity to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or Versailles with your own eyes!
But maybe you forgot that Paris is one of the most visited cities on this planet. You won’t be alone. Actually, right now there are thousands of people planning their very first time in Paris during your same dates. And probably they also want to visit that same tourist places in Paris, which means that the waiting lines can get long. Very long.
Sounds scary? It can be . . .
Despite we enjoy talking about the more local side of Paris we are not here to tell you to avoid the main tourist places in Paris, just avoid the lines! And how to skip the line in Paris? How to avoid the lines in Paris’ top tourist attractions? Keep on reading . . .
Main Paris Tourist Attractions
This is the list of the 6 most popular museums and monuments (by the number of visitors) in the Parisian Region:
- Louvre Museum (10.2M visitors)
- Château de Versailles (10M visitors)
- Eiffel Tower (7M visitors)
- Musée d Orsay (3.2M visitors)
- Arc de Triomphe (1.5M visitors)
- Catacombs of Paris (0,55M visitors)
For each of these Paris tourist places, we are going to give you the best local tips to avoid the lines (or at least to avoid the longest lines), during the high season and low season in Paris.
Ways to Skip the Line in Paris
1. BUY A PARIS TOURIST PASS
A Paris tourist pass allows visitors to save lots of time and money thanks to their Paris skip the line tickets and many discounts. Paris City Pass and Paris Museum Pass are the most popular tourist passes in Paris but there are many more! Check out our Paris Pass Comparison to have the full picture.
The Paris City Pass is like a magic wand for Paris. This fantastic Paris tourist pass comes with a 1-way transfer from the Airport to the city center, a Skip the Line Louvre Ticket, a Skip the Line Montparnasse Tower Ticket, a cruise on the River Seine and there’s the option to add a 4-day metro card for getting around Paris.
If this was not enough, the Paris City Pass proposes also 20% discount on top museums, attractions, tours, and excursions (click here for the full list), like Versailles guided tours, Paris guided tours, Catacombs Skip the Line Tickets, Parisian Cabarets tickets and much more.
After booking your Paris City Pass online, you will receive your pass by email which avoids you the hassle of finding the pickup place of your pass in a city that you don’t know. This means that you can use your pass as soon as you land in Paris.
The Paris Museum Pass is another convenient option. This Paris tourist pass offers visitors direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris.
Check out the list of museums included in the Paris Museum Pass. You can buy your Paris Museum Pass for 2 days, 4 days or 6 days. The pass is available in different places like Paris airports, Paris museums included in the Paris Museum Pass, or dedicated kiosks. To avoid the hassle, we recommend purchasing this pass online. Your pass starts working only when you visit the first Paris attraction so you can buy it months in advance without any problem.
Have a look at our Paris Museum Pass review. If your time is limited and you want to visit as many Paris tourist attractions as you can, the Paris Museum Pass is for you.
2. BUY SKIP THE LINE TICKETS OR TOURS
If you want to visit only a few Paris tourist places but still you hate the idea of wasting your time waiting in line, the best option for you is to buy separate Paris skip the line tickets or tours.
Most popular Skip the line tickets and tours in Paris
- Arc de Triomphe skip the line ticket
- Orsay Museum skip the line ticket
- Sainte Chapelle skip the line ticket
- Skip the line Louvre Highlights tour
- Skip the line Eiffel Tower Summit or Second Floor access
Websites like Get Your Guide also propose interesting skip the line combo tickets, great for people who only want to visit a few attractions and still save money.
Most popular Paris Combo tickets
|Skip the Line Louvre & Orsay||2x skip the line guided tours||5-5.5 hrs||Louvre Museum + Orsay Museum||View|
|Skip the Line Orsay & Orangerie||2x skip the line tickets||valid 60 days from 1st activation||Orsay Museum + Orangerie Museum||View|
|Eiffel Tower, Louvre & Seine Cruise||2x skip the line tickets + 1 river cruise||1 day||Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum + Seine Cruise||View|
3. KNOW THE BEST TIME TO AVOID CROWDS
Then, for each tourist attraction, there are days and time slots when there are lesser crowds, according to statistics. We are going to show you all this on tables by tourist attraction. Colors on the tables correspond to estimated waiting time by time slot: green means less waiting time while red means very long lines.
Below, the best time to avoid crowds by Paris tourist attraction + our best local tips and hacks.
5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris 7
Located in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris, nicknamed the Eiffel Tower District, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and France. If you are visiting Paris for the first time you cannot miss going up the Eiffel Tower!
Best Time to Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower never rests, it opens every day!
» During the high season, it seems that there is no best time to visit Eiffel Tower and the Eiffel Tower waiting time can be up to 2 hours within the time slots marked as “very strong”.
» During the low season, the Eiffel Tower lines are shorter, especially during the weekdays. The best time to visit Eiffel Tower during the low season is early in the morning and late in the afternoon (except on Friday afternoon, when weekenders arrive).
Buy Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tickets or Tours
There are 4 different ways to visit the Eiffel Tower which come with 4 different tickets. The access to the summit is only available by lift.
- Tickets to the Second Floor by Stairs
- Tickets to the Second Floor by Lift
- Tickets to the Summit by Lift + Lift
- Tickets to the Summit by Stairs (to 2nd floor) + Lift (from 2nd floor to summit)
When you buy a skip the line ticket, you have to choose a specific date and time slot.
IMPORTANT: During the low season, the last access by stairs is at 6 pm while the last access by lift is at 11 pm!
TIP: We recommend buying your Eiffel Tower skip the line tickets or tours with Get Your Guide. There are multiple reasons to choose Get Your Guide tickets:
» On the Eiffel Tower website, you can buy tickets only 2 months in advance while there’s no time limit with Get Your Guide. This is especially important during high season and Christmas Holidays and even more important now that the Eiffel Tower has reduced the number of daily visitors!
» Tickets purchased on the Eiffel Tower website are not refundable while the Get Your Guide tickets that we list below are refundable (see tour /ticket description for the details).
Best Get Your Guide Eiffel Tower tickets and tours which are fully refundable:
- Skip the line ticket to second floor by stairs plus optional summit access – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Skip the line ticket to second floor by lift plus optional summit – free cancellation up to 5 days in advance
- Skip the line ticket guided tour to second floor and summit by lift – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1
The Louvre Museum in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris is with 10.2M yearly visitors the most popular attraction in Paris. In medieval times the Louvre Palace was home to the Kings of France until King Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles. The National Assembly opened the Louvre as a museum in August 1793 with a collection of 537 paintings.
TIP: if your time in Paris is limited but still you don’t want to miss the world’s best museum, check out how to visit the Louvre in 2 hours or less
Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
The best time to visit the Louvre depends on the season. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to go during the week, maybe arriving half an hour before the opening time.
Because the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, the previous day and the day after (Mondays and Wednesdays) are more packed than Thursdays. Thursday is our suggestion for visiting the Louvre.
On Wednesday and on Friday the museum also has a night session, from 6 pm to 9.45 pm. Wednesday night is a good time to visit the Louvre but Friday night is more crowded with the weekenders.
The tables below do not consider the free night sessions on the first Saturday of the month – the worst time slot if you want to avoid crowds.
Buy Skip the Line Louvre Tickets or Tours
IMPORTANT: before lockdown, the Louvre was showing “sold out today” many days (picture above). Only online tickets bought in advance can guarantee the entry to the museum.
When you buy Louvre tickets online you need to choose a date and time slot. There is a special line for these tickets (the central line in the picture above) with a few people or no people at all and you are in very fast.
You can buy skip the line tickets alone or combine them with an audio guide or a guided tour. The truth is that a skip the line Louvre guided tour is a temptation difficult to resist in one of the most interesting museums in the world!
TIP: We recommend buying your Louvre skip the line tickets or tours with Get Your Guide. With Get Your Guide you can cancel up to 24 hours and get a full refund!
Best Get Your Guide Skip-the-Line Louvre tickets and tours which are fully refundable:
- Louvre priority entrance with audio guide – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Must-Sees of the Louvre skip the line 1.5 hr guided tour – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Louvre 3hr comprehensive skip the line guided tour – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
Place d’Armes, Versailles
Home to Kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI, Versailles makes a wonderful day trip out of Paris.
The Versailles Estate consists of different buildings, surrounded by the beautiful Versailles Gardens and Forest: Château de Versailles, Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet. Check out this Versailles Quick Guide to plan your day trip to Versailles from Paris.
Best Time to Visit Versailles
The best days to visit Versailles are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Generally speaking, try to visit the Palace early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Remember that the Trianons and the Queen’s Hamlet open at noon.
Buy Skip the Line Versailles Tickets or Tours
Skip the line through a separate entrance and save time! You can decide to visit all the domain or just the palace, independently or with a guided tour. We recommend, however, booking a skip the line guided tour with a small group because it is a more interesting and interactive experience. Some guided tours include transportation from Paris.
TIP: Get Your Guide proposes well-rated skip the line Versailles tours and tickets. With Get Your Guide you can cancel up to 24 hours and get a full refund!
Best Get Your Guide Versailles tickets and tours fully refundable:
- Ultimate Versailles skip the line guided tour– free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Versailles Palace and Gardens full access skip the line ticket – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Skip the line Versailles Pass (Palace and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate) – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
- Skip the line Palace and Gardens half-day tour with hotel transfer – free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
1 avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris 14
The Catacombs of Paris are former underground quarries that were reused for stocking the bones of disappeared cemeteries in Paris. Paris Catacombs tours and visits have become very popular among tourists, probably because of its original, spooky character. For this reason, the lines for visit the Catacombs are always long, very long.
Best Time to Visit the Catacombs of Paris
The Paris Catacombs open from Tuesday to Sunday. As you can see in the graphic below, the best time to visit Catacombs Paris is early in the morning.
Why a Skip the Line Paris Catacombs Tour is a Good Idea
This is another Paris activity where we suggest buying skip the line tickets or guided tours.
We recommend the Skip the Line Paris Catacombs Tour with special access. This is the best Paris Catacombs tour because you can skip the line and it is the only way to see one of the most beautiful parts of the Catacombs, the hall called “La Plage” (the beach).
Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris 8
Many Paris visitors want to climb up to Arc de Triomphe because of its great views of Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. Apart from getting one of the best views of Paris, there is a small exhibition space about the Arc’s architecture and sculptures.
Best Time to Visit Arc de Triomphe
The best time to visit Arc de Triomphe to avoid the lines is, obviously, when the weather is bad. However, as you can see in the picture below, Arc de Triomphe’s wait time is not that long, except for the weekends.
Buy Arc de Triomphe Skip the Line Tickets
If you plan on visiting Arc de Triomphe during the most crowded time slots in the high season, it might be a good idea to buy a skip the line ticket online for a couple of euros more. With your ticket in hand, ignore the long line and go straight to the main entrance, at the foot of the monument.
1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 7
The Orsay Museum, located in a former train station, is internationally renowned for its rich collection of Impressionist art, with important collections of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, or Paul Gauguin.
The Orsay Museum is one of the most visited museums in Paris after the Louvre and it usually sees long lines.
Best Time to Visit the Orsay Museum
The best day to visit Musée d’Orsay is on Wednesday and also on Friday. Try to avoid Tuesday, when the Louvre is closed so everybody flocks to Musée d’Orsay.
Few people know that on Thursday the museum is open until 9 pm. During the night slot, from 6 pm to 9 pm, Musée d’Orsay wait time is shorter (10 minutes maximum) and it is cheaper.
Orsay Museum Skip the Line Tickets or Tours
Musée d’Orsay waiting times can be super long. Your best option to avoid the line at Orsay Museum is to book an Orsay Museum skip the line ticket. If you want to get the most out of this wonderful museum, this Orsay Museum Guided Tour by a professional guide is always rated 5/5 and has excellent reviews.
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- Read about eating in Paris here
- Our Districts of Paris Quick Guide is here
- Read why Paris is Always a good idea here
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