- 1. MAIN PARIS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS LIST
- 2. SKIP THE LINE IN PARIS: WARNING
- 3. PARIS MUSEUM PASS SKIP LINES AND SKIP THE LINE TOURS PARIS
- 4. BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS TO AVOID CROWDS
- 5. SKIP THE LINE EIFFEL TOWER SUMMIT AND SECOND FLOOR
- – Best Time to Visit Eiffel Tower
- – Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tickets
- – How to pay less to Visit Eiffel Tower
- 6. SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE MUSEUM
- – Best Time to Visit the Louvre Museum
- – Louvre Skip the Line Tickets
- – How to Visit the Louvre for FREE /How to Pay Less
- 7. MUSÉE D ORSAY
- – Best Time to Visit Musée d’Orsay
- – How to Pay Less /How to Visit Musée d’Orsay for FREE
- 8. CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE
- – Best Time to Visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
- – How to Pay Less /How to Visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie for FREE
- 9. GRAND PALAIS
- – Best Time to Visit Grand Palais
- – How to Pay Less /How to Visit Grand Palais for FREE
- 10. ARC DE TRIOMPHE
- – Best Time to Visit Arc de Triomphe
- – How to pay less /how to visit Arc de Triomphe for FREE
- 11. THE CATACOMBS
- – Best time to visit Paris Catacombs
- – How to Pay Less /How to Visit Paris Catacombs for FREE
- 12. HOW TO AVOID THE LINES IN PARIS: OUR TIPS
Traveling to 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 places 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 on 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 that Paris lines are long. Very long.
Sounds scary? It may be . . .
Despite we enjoy talking about the alternative, more local side of Paris we are not here to tell you to avoid these Paris tourist attractions, just avoid the lines! And how to skip the line 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. Go on reading . . .
1. MAIN PARIS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS LIST
This is the list of the 6 most popular museums and monuments (by the 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 our list because lately it seems that everybody wants to visit Paris Catacombs : -)
For each of these Paris tourist places, we are going to give you the best day and the best time slot to visit, during high season and low season to avoid lines (or at least avoid long lines). Also, are going to tell you how to visit these Paris tourist attractions for less money or even for free.
2. SKIP THE LINE 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 tourist lines during the time slots that we recommend for these Paris tourist attractions. Also, during a time slot considered as “very strong” lines might be significantly shorter if it rains a lot, if the weather 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 tourist lines in Paris do not exist but if you follow our advice we can promise that 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.
3. PARIS MUSEUM PASS SKIP LINES AND SKIP THE LINE TOURS PARIS
The Paris Museum Pass offers visitors direct access to 55 of Paris top attractions and museums in Paris. If your time is limited and you want to visit as many Paris Tourist Places as you can, the Paris Museum Pass Skip Lines is for you. There are three available options: a 2-day pass, a 4 days pass or 6 days pass. You can purchase the Paris Museum Pass 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.
READ MORE – Paris Museum Pass Review
If you want to visit only few Paris attractions but still you hate the idea of wasting your time waiting in line, probably the best option for you is to buy separate Paris skip the line tickets or tours. We propose you the best Paris skip the line options below.
4. BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS TO AVOID CROWDS
The best time to visit Paris to avoid crowds is during the low season.
High season in Paris is considered from 1st April to 31st October. It means nice weather and more hours of daylight and many people will tell you this is the best time to come. But at the same time, this is not the best season to visit Paris in terms of budget (best accommodation booked, higher prices). Also, the city is too crowded with tourists.
Low season in Paris goes from 1st November to 31st March, with the exception of Christmas holidays. This is the cheapest time to visit Paris and the best time to visit Paris to avoid the crowds. If you decide to travel off-season you will get a more local experience and it will be easier to find good deals in accommodation, for example.
5. SKIP THE LINE EIFFEL TOWER SUMMIT AND SECOND FLOOR
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
We prefer to see Paris with the Eiffel Tower than Paris from the Eiffel Tower but we understand that Eiffel Tower ( Paris 7) is a rock star and all rock stars have rave fans! We tell you our best tips below.
– Best Time to Visit Eiffel Tower
As you can see on the tables below, the Eiffel Tower never rests and it seems there is no best time to visit Eiffel Tower, especially during the high season (lines up to 2 hours during “very strong” time slots). During the low season, things are better during the weekdays. The best time to visit Eiffel Tower during low season is early in the morning.
– Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tickets
Eiffel Tower sells standard tickets to the Second Floor and to the Summit, both with a stop on the First Floor. The Second Floor can be reached by stairs or by lift while Eiffel Tower Summit can be reached by lift only or by stairs (up to the second floor) + lift. This means that Eiffel Tower has 4 kinds of tickets but only two are available online.
» Standard Eiffel Tower Tickets to the Second Floor by Stairs: on sale at the tower only.
» Standard Eiffel Tower Tickets to the Second Floor by Lift: you can buy these Eiffel Tower tickets online.
» Standard Eiffel Tower Summit Tickets by Stairs + Lift: on sale at the tower only.
» Standard Eiffel Tower Summit Tickets by Lift: you can buy these Eiffel Tower tickets online.
IMPORTANT: During the low season, last access by stairs is at 6 pm while last access by lift is at 11 pm!
If you decide to buy standard Eiffel Tower tickets online, you will pick a date and also a time slot. Time slots are every hour which means that you are reducing the possibility to wait in line a lot.
Skip the Line Eiffel Tower and Louvre tickets are maybe the best investment if you come to Paris for sightseeing. You just need to see the featured picture on the top of the post. You definitely don’t want that.
When you have Eiffel Tower Skip the Line tickets, within minutes, you will be inside the elevators and on your way to discover the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. This is too cool and saves you lots of time. The Eiffel Tower website does not propose skip the line tickets, only tour operators like Viator or Get Your Guide sell this kind of tickets, often combined with guided tours or other Paris sights. You can buy their Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tickets only (without other additions) through my affiliate links here below, at no extra cost for you. This would really make our day 😉
IMPORTANT: Eiffel Tower Summit Tickets Skip the Line are very rare to find. We did not find any actually. If you decide to buy your Eiffel Tower Tickets Skip the Line with other operators, be careful and read the small letters.
– How to pay less to Visit Eiffel Tower
Unfortunately, the entrance to the Eiffel Tower is never free but there are a couple of reduced options:
» People from 12 to 24 years pay 5€ to the Second Floor (by stairs).
» People from 12 to 24 years pay 9.50€ to the top (stairs + lift).
6. SKIP THE LINE LOUVRE MUSEUM
Address: Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1
Metro: Palais-Royal – Musée du Louvre (L1, 7), Louvre Rivoli (L1); Velib Station #1.025
We like Louvre Museum (1st Arrondissement of Paris) a lot and we visit this fantastic museum at least twice a year, usually in the winter time. You can check our super Louvre Museum Guide below, where we share all the information and our best tips to visit the Louvre like a pro.
READ MORE – Louvre Museum Guide with our best Louvre Tips
– 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 half an hour before the opening time.
– Louvre Skip the Line Tickets
Skip the Line Louvre Tickets are always a good investment because there is a special line for these tickets (with 0 or few minutes waiting time) and you are in very fast. You can buy just the Louvre skip the line ticket or combine it with an audio guide or a guided tour. The truth is that a guided tour is a temptation difficult to resist in one of the most interesting museums in the world! We recommend buying all these Louvre tickets online.
– How to Visit the Louvre for FREE /How to Pay Less
The basic ticket for Louvre Museum costs 15€. If you care more about your budget than long lines, there are some opportunities to visit the Louvre for free:
» The 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 6 pm to 9.45 pm.
Because our time in Paris is not limited, we usually go to the Louvre when it is free (first Sunday of the month), early in the morning and we never found a line longer than 30- 40 minutes. The first picture on this post corresponds to that same day but late in the morning (definitely not a good idea).
7. 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
– Best Time to Visit Musée d’Orsay
If you want to visit Musée d Orsay (Paris 7) 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.
8. CITÉ DES SCIENCES ET DE L’INDUSTRIE
Address: 30 avenue Corentin Cariou, Paris 19
Metro: Porte de la Villette (L7, T3b); Vélib station #
– Best Time to Visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
– 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).
9. GRAND PALAIS
Address: 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris 8
Metro: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau, L1 and 13 ; Velib Station #8.029
– 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
– 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.
10. 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
– 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 . . .
– 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.
11. THE CATACOMBS
Address: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, Paris 14
Metro: Denfert-Rochereau (L4, 6, RER B); Velib Station #14.005
– Best time to visit Paris Catacombs
– 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.
12. 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 our Paris Museum Pass review below.
» 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 from 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.
» NTripping wrote a cool post about some useful tricks to avoid madness in Paris
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!
Cover Picture: Tour Eiffel picture via Flikr CC @Mohamed Yahya
Would you like to visit the Main Sights of Paris? Which one is on the top of your wish list?
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