Paris being the first travel destination in the world, it is not suprising to experience never-ending waiting lines at the door of its best visiting places, as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, its catacombs or else the well-known Musée d’Orsay. What is sad, is that tourists often don’t know that there are solutions to avoid these queues and make the most of every seconds in the French capital. Here are some tips regarding the four most visited places in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower
If Paris is the most visited place in the world, it is also not surprising that the Eiffel Tower is its most visited place. But it is also the place where the queues are the longest: they are getting bigger and bigger every year, to the point where some tourists start telling themselves they would rather spending a few more hours visiting the beautiful city instead of waiting in the queue.
What they don’t know is that they have several options to avoid the waiting lines. Firstly, know that if you wish to buy a simple ticket to the Eiffel tower for a normal visit – the one where you do spend hours in the queue – you just have to buy it on the internet and show it at the door from your phone. Do buy your tickets at least 4 days in advance though, as the online spots are fast to sold out.
Now if you wish to avoid the queue, you still have one option: you can just buy a Skip the line Eiffel Tower Tour ticket. Of course, it is a bit more expensive, but at lease you won’t have to waste your time in the lines and moreover, you will benefit from an entertaining guide during the tour. Your experience will consequently be more complete.
The Louvre Museum
The second most visited place in Paris is definitelly the Louvre museum, which is also the most visited museum in the world. No wonder that the waiting lines are so long, even though it really depends on the day: sometimes you may go through the main gate almost without waiting. But usually it is indeed extremely crowded. Here are some tips on how to skip the lines at the Louvre museum.
Take a Louvre Museum prioritized entry or a guided tour
Same deal as for the Eiffel Tower, you may want to pay a little extra to get a tour ticket. This will allow you to skip the lines and also benefit from a prefessional guide.
You can also choose to buy a private guided tour, which will grant you with the same benefits. It you are visiting with kids, there are some nice family tours available as well. You can also opt for a scholar tour if you want an upgrade to an all knowledgeable historian guide, in which case the ticket (or Skip The Line ticket) is still at your charge.
Use a side entrance
What tourists often don’t know about, is that there are several entrances to the Louvre museum. Obviously, the main one, the Pyramid entrance, is also the busiest one. But there are also two side entrances :
- the Porte des Lions entrance, which is your best bet, as not many people know about it,
- the Carrousel de Louvre entrance, accessible from the underground shopping mall.
Get a Paris Museum Pass
Another way to skip the lines at the Louvre museum is to get a Paris Museum Pass. This solution is mainly interesting if you plan to visit more than one museum. It will give you fast access to 60 of them in Paris !
Wednesday and Friday evening, best days to visit the Louvre
One other thing visitors often don’t know about, is that the Louvre museum opens twice a week until late (10pm precisely). It is a very nice thing to visit Paris museums by night. Many of them offer such a possibility and as not many people know about it, it is usually not crowded at all.
Let’s remind the opening hours of the Louvre :
- Monday: 9am – 6pm
- Tuesday: closed
- Wednesday: 9am – 10pm
- Thursday: 9am – 6pm
- Friday: 9am – 10pm
- Saturday: 9am – 6pm
- Sunday: 9am – 6pm
Know also that you can visit the Louvre for free on Wednesdays after 6pm if you are under 26 !
The Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris are one of the creepiest thing to visit in the French capital. They are absolutely amazing. Only thing is, there are only a limited amount of tickets available online. Which means that, if you didn’t get one of these tickets, you will have to wait in the queue like everyone and and won’t even be sure to get in today.
What you have to know is that the crypt is not that big: the capacity of the place is only 200 people, so they let people in groups of 200 every 45 minutes. The waiting time is usually something like 2 hours. Best thing is to arrive at least 30 minutes before the opening to be sure to get in as fast as possible.
Still, like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, you have the possibility to buy a Skip the line Catacombs tour or else a private tour like the Full Access Small Group Guided Tour. This is the only way to get in quicker than usual.
Musée d’Orsay is the second most visited museum in Paris after the Louvre. And like every much visited places in Paris, waiting lines are very long and boring. Here are some solutions to avoid them at Musée d’Orsay:
- Get a Skip the Line ticket: like all the places mentionned above, you can buy a Skip the Line ticket granting you with a fast entrance.
- Go there on Thursday after 6pm: like the Louvre museum, Musée d’Orsay opens late on Thurdays, til 9pm. Discount tickets and short queue guaranteed.
- Get a Paris Museum Pass: again, the Paris museum pass will grant you with a fast entrance in 60 museums in Paris.
- Get a Musée d’Orsay – Musée Rodin Passport: there are some combined tickets for visiting two museum with the same pass. It is also less expensive than buying each one separately. Note that is it only valid for visiting both museum the same day.
- Get a Musée d’Orsay – Musée de l’Orangerie Passport: same as above, only you can use it within 4 days.
A little extra tip for Musée Rodin: skip the line up to where the guard stands and tell him you wish to buy your ticket from the automatic machine, he will let you pass without any question.
A great place in Paris without waiting lines?
Finally, know that there are some absolutely amazing places in Paris that are less famous but still wonderful to see. As they are not that well-known, you won’t have to wait for hours and hours. It is the case, for example, of the Montparnasse skyscraper, which has now its own viewpoint. Its overview is actually higher than the Eiffel Tower’s one and as it was built not so long ago, it provides you with all the high-tech standarts: elevators, multilingual touch screen to comment what you see around you and so on.
Obviously, all these information can change from a year to another. Secondary entrances being blocked for security reasons, variable late opening hours, new tricks to get in somewhere… Please share if you have new information about this topic.
Whishing you the best of visits in Paris and hoping that you’ll save yourself some precious time thanks to this article !