How to Get Fast Entry & Avoid Wasting Time in Long Lines
Should you get skip-the-line tickets for the most popular Paris attractions?
Yes. With well over 20 million tourists coming to the City of Lights to see its famous attractions each year, ticket lines get long - very, very, long. Don't waste your time in Paris by standing in line when you don't have to.
Skip-the-line and fast-track priority tickets are almost always worth getting, and are easy to buy online before you travel.
Which Paris attractions, museums, and monuments offer skip-the-line admission? All of the most popular places in Paris known for their long lines:
In addition to skip the line entrance tickets, you have two other ways to avoid waiting in long lines while getting a better touring experience:
1. Guided tours always include skip-the-line priority access; a few even give you access to private areas not available to most visitors. The expert guides who lead these tours will enrich your experience by telling and showing you things you might miss on your own.
Some skip-the-line guided tours for destinations outside of Paris such as Versailles, Giverny, and Disneyland even include transportation - another time and stress saver.
2. Paris Museum Passes let you skip the line at many top museums and monuments. You can also buy them bundled with other attractions, tours, and cruises.
For the most popular destinations such as the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, order your skip-the-line tickets or book your tour as soon as you know your travel dates. The most popular tours and tickets sell out faster than you might expect, especially for peak travel periods. Don't be left standing in line!
Top photo: Ticket lines in front of Versailles Palace in July
Home to the Mona Lisa - perhaps the most famous painting in the world - and countless other treasures filling its vast spaces, the Louvre Museum attracts massive crowds. During peak seasons, getting through the regular ticket line can take up to three hours or more. Don't risk being stuck in it: get a skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Even better: Book a guided tour will give you skip-the-line priority entry, help you navigate the crowds, show you more of the Louvre's magnificent art than you might discover on your own, and share interesting insights about this palace-turned-museum. After the tour, spend as much time as you want to see even more on your own.
Paris Discovery Guide's Louvre Skip-the-Line Picks
Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Tickets & Other Fast Entry Options
The Eiffel Tower is another top attraction where a skip-the-line ticket can save you as much as 3-4 hours waiting in line.
The Eiffel Tower's viewing platforms and elevators, especially those to the top of the tower, can only accommodate a fixed number of visitors at a time. That means everyone with a guided skip-the-line tour or skip-the-line ticket gets priority over you, unless you have one too.
A huge range of Eiffel Tour ticket and tour choices are offered: go just to the 2nd floor or all the way up to the Summit for its sweeping views of Paris, benefit from the services of a guide, combine a visit with a meal in the Tower, or bundle your visit with a Champagne cruise down the nearby Seine River. Skip-the-line tickets or tours are well-worth getting for the Eiffel Tower if you want to make the best use of your time.
PDG's Skip-the-Line Picks for Eiffel Tower Tickets & Tours
Versailles Palace & Gardens Skip the Line Tickets - A Must!
Especially during spring, summer, and early fall, skip-the-line tickets for entrance to Château de Versailles, famous for its Hall of Mirrors and beautiful gardens, can save you up to 3-4 hours of wait time.
PDG's Versailles Palace Skip-the-Line Picks
Ultimate Versailles: 90-Minute Skip-the-Line Guided Tour - During this 90 minute tour of Versailles, an expert guide shows you all the chateau's most fabled rooms, including the spectacular Hall of Mirrors. You'll also learn about the main figures of the French Monarchy and their lives in this palace. After the tour ends, explore on your own - don't miss the fabulous gardens included in your ticket
Skip-the-Line Versailles Palace Tour by Train from Paris - For this 3-hour small group tour of Versailles and its gardens, a guide meets you in central Paris, escorts you by RER train to Versailles, whisks you through the priority entrance, and takes you on a 3-hour-guided tour through the palace and its gardens. Depending on the day of the week you choose, you'll also enjoy a Musical Gardens or Fountain Show. Explore more on your own before taking the train back to Paris (your guide will give you the tickets).
Some Paris guide books describe the Catacombs, former quarries repurposed as a burial ground for millions of Parisians, as a little-known but cool Paris attraction.
But nothing could be farther than the truth, as you can attest if you get stuck for 2-3 hours or more in the slow-moving regular ticket line.
The Catacombs' tunnels can hold only 200 visitors at one time, which adds to the line's slowness. And at the current time, Catacombs visits are by reservation for specific time slots only, and are non-cancellable, non-refundable. Those tickets are available on the Catacombs website.
Another option is to get skip-the-line tickets for a private small-group guided tour of the Catacombs. This tour gives you special access to restricted areas plus information, insights, and stories from your expert guide.
More Choices for Catacombs Tickets & Tours
Disneyland Paris Skip the Line Tickets & Transport
Disneyland Paris has almost no "slow" season other than a short period during January, as rolling school vacation weeks in France and elsewhere in Europe means happy kids and their families almost always fill the park - it competes with the Eiffel Tower as the most popular tourist destination in the Paris region.
There are actually two parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. You can get tickets for a full-day pass to one or both (based on which option you choose), with round-trip transportation on a luxury express bus from central Paris included.
More Disney Ticket and Transportation Choices
Musée d'Orsay Fast Access Tickets & Skip the Line Tours
Famous for its superb collection of Impressionist paintings, including Van Gogh's Starry Night, the Orsay Museum is not nearly as huge as the Louvre, but don't be fooled - it's crammed full of treasures, many of which can be easy to miss.
For a special experience, take a small-group Orsay Museum tour such as this one with an expert guide who can help you understand the context and history of the fabulous art you're seeing and appreciate it at a whole new level.
Go straight to the front of the admissions line at Arc de Triomphe with a skip-the-line ticket - for the same price you'd pay at the gate but no wasted time in line, it's a sure bet, and the views of Paris, Champs Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower from the terrace at the top of the Arc will thrill you.
To learn more about this famous monument, choose a reasonably-priced guided visit.
Paris Opera House (Opéra Garnier) Skip the Line Tickets
The best way to visit the spectacular Paris Opera House is by joining a guided tour which includes skip the line tickets. The expert guides know the Opera House inside and out, and will show you all the magnificent art, costumes, and sculptures as well as share stories about this famous landmark and even its role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera.
More Paris Attractions Where Skip the Line Tickets Save You Time
At the following Paris attractions, you'll sometimes encounter slow-moving lines, and at other times, you can breeze right in. Although longer lines typically happen during prime tourist season, special exhibitions throughout the year can attract crowds and crush your hopes for a speedy entrance.
All of them offer online tickets giving you priority access for the same price as the tickets you'd stand in line for, so even if you save yourself only 5-10 minutes line time, the advance tickets are well worth getting.
Show your e-ticket at the priority entrance of Centre Pompidou to bypass the ticket line to this famous showcase of modern and contemporary art. Your ticket includes temporary as well as permanent collections (but not special "blockbuster" exhibits) and access to the rooftop terrace and reflecting pool.
Another option for skipping the line at Pompidou - book a private tour with a guide who's an expert in art of this period.
"Priority" tickets give you a full day of access and let you go to the front of the line at the popular Picasso Museum, located in a gorgeous mansion in the Marais neighborhood. Only a limited number of these tickets are available each day due to the museum's smaller size, and they go fast.
Soaring stained glass windows make visiting the medieval Sainte Chapelle a memorable experience like no other. Skip-the-line tickets with priority access are worth getting in advance because the chapel can accommodate only a limited number of visitors at one time. Get your tickets
Money-saving combo skip-the-line tickets for Sainte Chapelle and the nearby Conciergerie, first a royal palace and then a prison where Marie Antoinette spent her final days during the French Revolution are also available. Get combo tickets
Another value-packed option is a 3-hour guided tour of Île de la Cité (the small island in the Seine River where Sainte Chapelle is located) that includes skip-the line-entry tickets and tours of Notre Dame Cathedral (free entry but sometimes long lines), the Conciergerie, and Sainte Chapelle. You also get skip-the-line tickets to use at your leisure to the scenic Notre Dame Towers, where long ticket lines almost always stretch along the sidewalk. Find out more & get tickets
Truly a fun experience as you wander through creatively staged rooms and pose next to 200 or so life-like wax figures, the fantastic Hindu temple and light show in the Hall of Mirrors, and fascinating historical re-creations. Get your skip the line tickets
Espace Dali, located in the scenic Montmartre neighborhood in Paris, boasts the largest collection of surrealist artist Salvador Dali's work in France. Skip-the-line tickets let you enter without waiting and cost about the same as those sold at the door. Get your tickets
Paris Museum Pass: Another Way to Skip the Lines
The Paris Museum Pass gives you free skip-the-line admission to 60+ top museums and monuments in Paris and the nearby suburbs for a fixed period of time - you choose 2 days, 4 days, or 6 days when you buy the card.
The Paris Museum Pass includes fast track skip-the-line access to most of the popular attractions mentioned above: Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre Museum, Conciergerie, Musée d'Orsay, Pompidou Center, the Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles Palace. It also covers plenty of others for which skip-the-line options are not normally available, such as the Branly Museum, Cluny Museum (Musée National du Moyen Âge), and the Air and Space Museum located north of the city.
Not every museum in the city is included in the Pass nor are attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, Catacombs, or the Paris Opera House.
But if the Paris Museum Pass includes enough of the places you want to visit and if you can compress your visits into 2, 4, or 6 days, it can save you money - and of course also time, due to the skip the line feature.
An enhanced version called the Paris Pass is also available for 2-6 days. It bundles the Paris Museum Pass with other benefits such as free travel on the Paris metro, buses, trams, and trains, a Seine River cruise, a Paris Opera House guided tour, additional attractions such as the Grevin Wax Museum and the Chocolate Museum,Hop On Hop Off sightseeing buses, a wine tasting experience, and discounts on still more attractions.
Frequently Asked Questions: Skip the Line Tickets
Q: How soon before my trip should I get skip-the-line tickets?
A: For the most popular destinations such as the Eiffel Tower, you should order your skip-the-line tickets as soon as you know your travel dates. The tickets do sell out, especially for late spring and summer dates - sometimes as much as several weeks in advance.
Q: Do you pay more for skip-the-line entry tickets compared with regular tickets that you'd stand in line to get?
A: It depends. Museums such as the Louvre typically offer skip-the-line tickets purchased in advance at the same cost as regular tickets. Other attractions such as the Catacombs and Eiffel Tower sell skip the line tickets at a premium price, whether you buy them on the attraction's website (if available) or through a ticket booking website.
Q: I've heard you still have to go through a security line. True?
A: True - you cannot skip the security line. But many of the biggest attractions now have special expedited security lines for people with skip the line tickets, so they usually move fast. Typically, the longest wait in a security line might run about 5 minutes.
Q: Should I get skip-the-line tickets even if my trip to Paris isn't during the busy summer months?
A: Actually, during the coronovirus pandemic, almost all attractions require that you buy your tickets online.Even before the pandemic hit, buying skip the line tickets saved time and trouble. Why waste even 5-10 minutes of your time in Paris by standing in line when you don't have to?
Q: Why do you show skip-the-line tickets on Paris Discovery Guide from GetYourGuide and other ticket distributors instead of directly from the attractions?
A: GetYourGuide, Tiqets, and other ticket distributors offer secure ticket booking platforms and offer tickets for many different attractions, tours, and experiences in one place - usually a much more convenient way to find out what's available, compare offers, and quickly book tickets, and, when necessary, reschedule or get refunds. Their websites are also easier to navigate.
GetYourGuide lets you book in your own currency, which can save you conversion fees. They do not add booking or service fees of their own; on the rare occasions when an attraction charges an online booking fee, GetYourGuide tells you the amount up front. They also pass on small discounts to you when available. If you need to change a date, cancel a ticket, or get help with something else, they provide customer support in English and other languages.
Alternately, in many cases you can purchase tickets directly from the attractions' or tour guides' websites - just remember to convert Euros to your own currency to get an accurate idea of your ticket cost. If you have to book your tickets in Euros instead of your own currency, use a credit card that doesn't charge extra currency conversion fees (beyond the 1% that almost all cards charge) if possible.