A visit to Paris is the trip of a lifetime for many. Paris is a beautiful city to enjoy at a leisurely pace, but people might have limited time to explore. We’ve partnered with Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip for her tips on how to save time and skip the line in Paris.
How to Save Time and Skip the Line in Paris
There are attractions aplenty in the City of Light, but where to begin? The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame top most lists, but lines for these attractions can be painfully long. To make the most of a visit to the City of Light, try using some of these tips to see the city with ease.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular landmarks in Paris. Unfortunately, this leads to long lines and multiple waits for security and elevators. There are a few different ways to expedite a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps the most unique entrance is through a reservation at one of the tower’s restaurants. The Restaurant le Jules Verne is a Michelin starred dining experience with a waiting list of close to a year. However, 58 Tour Eiffel offers equally stunning views and dining at a fraction of the cost. With a lunch reservation, visitors need only go through security, check in at the kiosk, and head straight to the restaurant. After the meal guests are free to explore the first floor and its glass platform on their own. Lunch here is a good option as it is reasonably priced and served “picnic style” with a small prix fixe menu delivered directly to the table. Dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel is a set menu service with fine dining options, but with the obvious addition of a night time view of the city. To access the higher levels of the tower, it is necessary to purchase an additional lift ticket.
Various companies offer skip the line tours of the Louvre, but it can be just as easy to visit late in the day or on evenings when the museum in open late. This makes it easy to skip the lines and walk right in. Children under 18 have free admission (this is the same at many attractions in Paris), so parents can use the self-serve kiosk to buy their tickets.
The Catacombs are a notoriously busy attraction with ridiculous wait times. The Catacombs were originally limestone quarries, but in the 17th century the cemeteries of Paris were overrun with bodies. A plan was hatched to use the quarry tunnels as a new resting place for 6 million Paris inhabitants. Today the Catacombs are a fascinating part of Parisian history and visitors love this attraction. The Catacombs website allows visitors to enter at timed intervals and only 200 visitors can enter at any given time. For admission, it is highly recommended to purchase tickets online in advance. With a time stamped ticket, it is still necessary to wait. So to eliminate the wait entirely, book a skip the line tour.
The winner for the worst lines in Paris may fall to Versailles. Spend time looking at skip the line tour options when planning to see the palace, fountain show, and/or Trianon Palace. Most visitors opt for admission to just the main palace and gardens, but the add ons are equally spectacular. There are tours that include transportation to and from Paris (Versailles is an hour away from the city by train) and skip the line benefits. There are also private tours that meet outside the gates of the palace. Perhaps the best value is to purchase a tour online through the Versailles website. This allows for a guided tour with one of the palace docents and admission through an entrance away from the crowds. The tour might not have all the bells and whistles of the others, but it certainly saves time and avoids the long lines.
River Cruise on the Seine
To see the Paris sights and not have to wait in any lines, consider a journey on the River Seine. The Bateux Parisiens cruise line offers nightly dinner excursions on a glass canopy boat. Passengers enjoy a delicious meal and drinks as the ship sails past the major monuments in Paris. The cruise begins with the Eiffel Tower and makes it way past the Assemblée Nationale, Musée D’Orsay, and Notre Dame before returning on the other side of the river. Here it passes the Louvre and Big Wheel with a finale at the Statue de la liberté. There is live entertainment and dancing and an attentive serving staff throughout the cruise. Locals and tourists alike love seeing Paris from the river.
Paris Pass can be a worthwhile investment, but compare the cost of the attractions you intend to visit with the cost of the pass. Passes are available in one to four day increments and offer admission to 60 different attractions in Paris. The pass offers skip the line entry to four different attractions: the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, and the Grevin Museum. It’s a great way to skip the lines if needed at these attractions.
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