WILDBERRY

The Paris Museum Pass is a very good value if you plan to enter enough museums.  Although, I might argue that it’s a great benefit even if you don’t plan to use it to it’s fullest simply because it lets you skip the lines at many sites.  We had a grand plan to make the most out of our pass, but we fizzled out on the last day opting to do a park day and walk along the canal.  We still felt like we did well with the pass and didn’t have to wait in any lines which is the biggest benefit.  We purchased the 4 day pass for 62€, but you can get a 2 day pass for 48€ and 6 days for 74€.  Children are admitted free of charge to all the sites covered by the Museum Pass.  Score!!  The schedule below is what we set up and the sites I describe are what we made it to!  Enjoy!

1st day

Saint-Chapelle is an old church with amazing stained glass.  The normal admission price is 8.50€, but is included in the Museum Pass.  Purchase your pass here.  The church has two floors with the second floor being much more impressive than the first.  Spend a little time looking at the murals and stained glass of the first floor, where common people were allowed to worship.  This room is so beautiful, but seems like a dungeon in comparison to what awaits.

The main worshiping area where the wealthy people spent time honoring God is jaw dropping.  The scenes in the glass are of stories from the bible and it is really fun to pick out a few and talk about them with your kids.  This church should be on your list!  The facade is not as impressive as Notre Dame, but the interior is incomparable!!

Conciergerie was originally used as a palace and a small portion of it has been converted to a museum.  The normal admission price is 8.50€, but we used our Museum Pass.  In the entry area was a temporary exhibit, but this area lost the children’s attention very quickly.  We entered the jail area quickly and several cells have been reconstructed to show visitors what the cells would have been like.  The museum was actually exciting for my children because they enjoyed imagining they were prisoners there and had to sleep on straw.  We spent a very short amount of time here, but I was glad we went and saw the rooms and chapel where Marie Antoinette spent her last days.  The kid gave a thumbs up on this one.

We made the long walk to Musee de l’Orangerie next.  The normal admission is 9.00€.  This may have been a mistake because these three sites looked so close together on the map, but in real life it was a long, boring walk on a busy street.  I think we should have done something else on the Cite instead of walking all the way to this museum.  My suggestion would be the catacombs or even climbing the tower at Notre Dame (both also included on your museum pass).  Learn from our mistakes!!

While in hindsight I wouldn’t have done the l’Orangerie today, I would not have missed this museum.  I loved it as did my children.  We had made a point of studying impressionists before our visit to Paris and they got a real kick out of walking right up to the giant Monet paintings and then slowly backing away and allowing the paintings to come into focus.  It was delightful for even my 4 year old.  This is a small museum that doesn’t take much effort to understand, so let the kids run wild in the Jardin Des Tuileries and then bring them to this charming museum for about an hour.  Totally doable for the children and fantastic for adults too.

2nd day

Admission to the Arc de Triomphe is 8.00€.  The Arc is assessable through an underground tunnel that takes you under the busy intersection.  We walked around the Arc and then because of our stroller, we were able to ride the elevator to the museum within the arc and close to the roof.  We got some great pictures from the top of the Arc, but felt the views from the top of Sacre Coeur were better and the experience was nicer.  I’d say the interior of the Arc is a skip, with a picture in front of it a must do!

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With our limited time in Paris, we didn’t want to do only museums or sites that were included on our pass.  We could have made day 2 more full, but we decided to see Sacre Coeur and Champs Elysees on this day to work with the Metro line 2 to see the sites we were interested in.

3rd day

The Louvre used to be a huge palace in the middle of Paris, but now is a huge museum in the middle of Paris!  The admission is 15.00€ and it’s best to use an alternative entrance than the pyramid entrance because of a lengthy security line even for museum pass holders.  We used the underground mall entrance and didn’t have to wait.  We got the kids audio guides because it kept them busy and learning about the artwork (hopefully!!).

We got a later start than we had planned and it was so crowded.  It was literally torture to see the big three – Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace and Mona Lisa.  Such crowds and people pushing and shoving.  It was not fun and by the time we were finished with those three items, we were finished with the Louvre.  Our next visit to the Louvre, we will skip those three completely and view some of the other wonderful items that this vast museum has to offer.

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Paris was very rainy during the week we visited.  After our bad experience in the Louvre, we were tired, it was wet out and we were cranky, but we were determined to keep going!

The normal admission for the Cluny is 8.00€ and this is a Medieval Art museum.  We finally made it to the Cluny museum and we figured we would go in very quickly, see the unicorn tapestries and be done.  We were denied admission because the museum was going to close soon.  I was pretty disappointed because it took a lot of effort to get us there in the rain, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.  We ducked into McDonald’s instead and let the kids have some french fries.  Haha!  You gotta roll with is sometimes!

4th day

We woke up with the plan to visit either Versailles (18€ admission) or see the Musee d’Orsay (12€ admission) and Musee Rodin (10€ admission).  We were so tired by the city that we needed to find some green space.  We are a family of country mice and we missed our time exploring a bit of nature.  Maybe we’ll learn that 4 days of museums and sites is one too many for this family………. maybe.  ?

How did we do?  Well, we didn’t wait in any lines, but we also didn’t enter enough museums to cover the 62€ that we spent.  We would have spent 49€ if we paid for each site individually.  However, we didn’t waste any time and time is money.  If I had it to do over again, I would still purchase the pass, but I would have been a little more aggressive during the first few days instead of squeezing in other sites that were not included on the pass.

Now that I know what I know, this would be my plan.

1st day

Saint-Chappelle 8.50€

Conciergerie 8.50€

Tours de Notre-Dame (roof top) 8.50€ or Crypte archeologique du Parvis Notre-Dame (catacombs) 7€ – I’m not sure you would have time to do both of these.

2nd day

Arc de Triomphe 8.00€ (if you’re dying to see this, otherwise skip!)

Musee de l’Orangerie 9.00€

Louvre 15.00€

3rd day

Cluny 8.00€

Pantheon 4.50€

4th day

Versailles 18.00€

This “hind sight” plan would be worth at least 78.50€ and provide plenty of kid friendly park time in between sites.

Hope this can help while you plan your family visit to Paris!