May 9, 2012
My Biggest Mistake in Paris
If I could do it all over again, this is the first thing I’d do differently: I’d buy the Paris Museum Pass. But when I was planning our trip, I thought “We’re only going to be there four days, I don’t want to spend all my time in museums, I only plan to visit the Louvre.”
While the Paris Pass covers almost all of the most popular sights, a notable exception is the Eiffel Tower. So that also cemented my opinion that it just wasn’t going to be worth the money for our trip.
But what I didn’t realize is that how having the pass would have completely changed our behavior, and in fact would have encouraged us to visit more museums, without a huge time commitment or negative impact on our other sightseeing.
A few days later, while on a sightseeing cruise on the Seine, the guide pointed out the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned, and he mentioned they had a replica guillotine. Now THAT I knew would fascinate the kids. But again, how much was it going to cost to get in??
If I had the Museum Pass, I would have visited at least 3 more museums (in addition to the Louvre for which we bought tickets), and maybe even more. The pass gives travelers not only the most access for the best value, but it gives you flexibility. And that’s important with kids. You don’t have to commit to a museum for a half day in order to feel you got your money’s worth. And also, you can split your visit up over multiple days. Maybe you arrive at the Louvre in the afternoon when you can’t get anywhere near the Mona Lisa, so you check out some less crowded areas instead. Then you can go back early the next morning, quickly view the more famous works, and leave before the crowds arrive.