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How to Skip the Lines at Paris’ Top Tourist Attractions: Tips by Locals! [2020 Update]

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09/11/20

[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 . . .

Skip the Line Louvre

Related content

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.

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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.

Paris City Pass

Paris City Pass Proposal

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.

Buy your Paris City Pass Now!


Paris Museum Pass

Paris Museum Pass Proposal

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.

Buy your Paris Museum Pass Now!

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

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

COMBOTYPEDURATIONINCLUDESPRICE
Skip the Line Louvre & Orsay2x skip the line guided tours5-5.5 hrsLouvre Museum + Orsay MuseumView
Skip the Line Orsay & Orangerie2x skip the line ticketsvalid 60 days from 1st activationOrsay Museum + Orangerie MuseumView
Eiffel Tower, Louvre & Seine Cruise2x skip the line tickets + 1 river cruise1 dayEiffel Tower, Louvre Museum + Seine CruiseView

3. KNOW THE BEST TIME TO AVOID CROWDS

Skip the line Paris tourist places
Orsay Museum in Paris

The best time to visit Paris to avoid crowds is during the low season. The low season is the period from 1st November to 31 March, with the exception of Christmas in Paris and also NYE in Paris.

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.

Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Summit and Second Floor

5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris 7

Skip the line Eiffel Tower

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).

Skip the line Tour Eiffel

 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 Louvre Museum

Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1

Skip the line Louvre Museum

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.

Skip the line Louvre

Buy Skip the Line Louvre Tickets or Tours

Sold out tickets at Louvre Museum

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:

Skip the Line Versailles

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.

Versailles Waiting Times

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:

Paris Catacombs Skip the Line

1 avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris 14

Skip the Line Catacombs Paris

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.

READ MORE –  Carrières des Capucins: locals’ alternative to Paris Catacombs

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.

Skip the Line Catacombs

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).

>>Click here to book this Skip the Line Paris Catacombs Tour

Skip the Line Arc de Triomphe

Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris 8

Arc de Triomphe

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.

Arc de Triomphe Skip the Line

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.

Click here to buy your skip the line Arc de Triomphe ticket

X

Skip the Line Orsay Museum

1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris 7

Orsay Museum Paris

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.

Skip the line Orsay Museum

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.

Do you want to visit the Main Sights in Paris? Which ones are in your Paris bucket list?

Click here to read more Paris Tips

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


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  • Onur Aslan
    01/28/2018 at 10:57 pm

    Wow, I wish I had seen this post before I visited Paris years ago. Really good tips to not spend all day queuing in Paris. First time I spent more than 2 hours for Eiffel tickets, which could have been saved with this post.

  • Gearoid McSweeney
    01/27/2018 at 7:53 pm

    I loved this post since it comprehensively covered all the great sights of the city (although I love just wandering and exploring the city). Still, Musée d’Orsay has long been on my list and I still haven’t managed to get there yet. The information here could be useful for that next trip.

  • Louise
    01/27/2018 at 4:36 pm

    What a brilliant in depth article of Paris’s best sights! This will be so useful to so many people – well done for writing it! 🙂

  • 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!

    • 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

  • 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:-)

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

      CONGRATULATIONNNNNSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

    Enjoy your trip to Paris, Danik 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • April
    07/04/2017 at 4:08 pm

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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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!

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

      Thanks for your nice comment Crystal 🙂

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

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

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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!

  • 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

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

      Maybe next time! 🙂

  • 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.

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

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