One thing many big cities offer are a city pass that allows you to visit multiple sights for one price. They are usually offered for multiple (consecutive) days, give you the flexibility to see any of the things on their list of included attractions, and may offer additional benefits like a ‘Fast Track’ entry or coupons and offers for transportation, shopping, or dining.

But are they really the great deal they promise they’ll be?

In the end it really comes down to a few key things-

  • What do you want to see?
  • Who will you be seeing these sights with?
  • How many days will you be in the city?

What do you want to see?

A city pass or museum pass can offer 100 things on its list but if the majority of them aren’t the things you are really looking to see then they aren’t much good. They may be a great deal for someone, but your trip won’t be as enjoyable if you just try to see the things that you think you should based on their list of “top sights”.

Who will you be seeing these sights with?

If you’re visiting with children, seniors, or students with ID,  it is worth double checking just how many of the things you want to see are free or at a reduced rate for them. No point buying them a city pass if they would just get into most things on the list free anyway. Individual entrance fees might be the way to go instead.

How many days will you be in the city?

As most passes are set up to run for consecutive days you need to consider how much time you’ll have to actually visit things. It may be great that the pass offers, say 20 museums for 40 €, but if you only have two days to see them then realistically how many could you actually see? Or more importantly how many would you actually want to visit in that time to allow yourself the time to really take them in?

With these three things in mind these passes are always something I consider when I’m planning a trip. Sometimes they’ve worked, and sometimes they haven’t. On my trip to Paris in 2005 the Paris Museum Pass was the best option for me, but this past summer the London Pass wasn’t the way to go for the kiddo and I. Today I thought I’d show you how I determine what I feel is the best value for my travel bucks by planning a fictional trip to a favourite city of mine, Paris!

For this fictional trip let’s say you’re taking a trip by yourself (full adult fares) and have asked me to give you my top ten recommendations and you’d like to spread them out over a five-day period from Monday through Friday. Is it best to get a city pass? If so, which one? Or should you just pay the entrance fees as you go? Oh goodness I’m SO glad you asked for my opinion on your fictional trip because I just love giving folks suggestions about all the neat things to see and do in Paris! :-)

So we know who’s visiting and how long you have to visit…now let’s see what I’m going to suggest you see.

Paris Collage

 The Louvre Museum ||  Musée d’Orsay || Notre Dame Cathedral & Archaeological Crypts ||  Palace of Versailles ||  Espace Dali Museum

 Arc de Triomphe ||  La Basilique du Sacré Coeur ||  Seine River Cruise || Cluny Museum of the Middle Ages ||  Eiffel Tower

{Please click the links above for more information about each attraction}

So how do the prices stack up against each other when comparing the Paris Pass, the Paris Museum Pass with Paris Visite Métro card, or Regular Admission fees with the Paris Visite Métro card?

*All options require RER train tickets from Paris to Versailles at 4 € each way so this was not included in the calculations.

Paris Pass vs Paris Museum Pass Rates

Of course, like I said earlier, it all depends on what you want to see and how much you want to see in any given day, but for me the Paris Museum Pass would be the way to go. By adding on the Paris Visite Métro pass I’d get 5 days of unlimited travel , instead of 4, and I’d use that 5th day to take in the sights that weren’t included on my Paris Museum Pass , like the Eiffel Tower (since the passes are for consecutive days).

And with your savings you could treat me to some super yummy chocolat chaud and a chausson aux pommes when we meet up in Paris ! ;-)