Paris is so saturated with museums, monuments and historical landmarks that it’s difficult to know where to begin planning. But once you’ve booked your airfare and secured a good price on a Paris hotel, it’s time to start thinking about the fun stuff.
For those looking to save some euros, one place to begin your research is by looking at Paris’ free museums and attractions (or those with reduced admission).
It is possible, after all, to take in a lot of the city’s culture without forking over too much cash. Here’s a quick guide to a few of our favorite free museums and tips for finding discounted admission.
• 47 ways to save on your trip to Paris
• 11 best cheap hotels in Paris for 2023
Always free museums in Paris
Some museums and many public monuments are free every day — also great to know when you get caught in the rain and don’t want to kill time in a café.
Note that some of these have a (sometimes strongly) recommended “donation ticket.” While giving something isn’t required, it’s certainly a nice gesture.
Free museums include:
- The Musée d’Art Moderne, not far from the Eiffel Tower, is one of two modern art museums in Paris. Its special exhibitions cost 5-12 euros, but the permanent collection is completely free.
- Notre Dame Cathedral, and any church (other than Sainte Chapelle) for that matter, is fair game.
- The Musée Carnavalet in the Marais, allows you to tour the complete history of the city for free. (“Donation ticket” €5.) Temporary exhibitions can cost 10-13 euros.
- Arène de Lutèce, the city’s old Roman amphitheater, is just hanging out in the Latin Quarter waiting for visitors to drop in for a picnic while watching the local children play soccer.
- You can also walk through the courtyards and outer halls of the Hotel des Invalides and check out the canons guarding Napoleon’s tomb without paying to actually go inside.
- The Atelier Brancusi displays the sculptures of Constantin Brancusi just outside of the Centre Pompidou, including the famous sculpture l’oiseau dans l’espace. The workshop is completely free to visit.
- More museums that are free every day include: Maison de Balzac, Maison de Victor Hugo, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Curie, the Shoah Memorial, the Petit Palais – Musée des Beaux Arts, the Musée du Parfum-Fragonard and more. Note that many of these charge admission to special exhibits, but visiting the permanent collection is free.
Sometimes free museums in Paris
If you’re planning your trip like a Cheapo, come to Paris on a weekend for the first Sunday of the month when many national museums are open for free, like the Pompidou and Musee d’Orsay.
Keep in mind that some museums will only offer the free first Sunday per month in the off-season. Take a look at the “practical information” section of the museum website that you’ve got your eye on, and it should tell you.
To celebrate the national holiday, Bastille Day, national museums, like the Louvre, are also open for free on July 14 every year. (This could also be to distract the revolutionary-minded from storming any more prisons.)
Discounted with a Paris Museum Pass
Purchasing a Paris Museum Pass (available for 2, 4 or 6 days) will provide entrance to most national museums and monuments, including the Palace at Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe.
If you are a history and art buff, the pass will easily pay for itself if you plan your visits in advance.
For example, a two-day museum pass costs €55. If you plan on visiting both the Conciergerie prison (where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned) and the adjacent Sainte Chapelle church, admission will cost a total of €30, if purchased independently. Throw in a ticket to the Louvre (€17), the Rodin Museum (€13), and the Centre Pompidou (€15), and in two days you saved quite a bit of cash.
We don’t mean to oversell the pass. However, if you are dedicated to using it and to visiting multiple museums, the pass can be a very good deal.
Free for visitors under 26 years old
- EU citizens under 26: All permanent collections of national museums and monuments are free for EU cardholders under 26 years of age.
- Other residents under 26 (with carte de sejour): Many Americans and Canadians may think this law passes them up, but wait! The thousands of study abroad students, au pairs, and English assistants who have legal residency in France or elsewhere in Europe are also covered by this law. So, if you’re under 26, head to the Musée d’Orsay or the Natural History Museum, wave your passport and carte de séjour, and you’ll get a free ticket.
- Children: Also, children often get into places for free, but ages vary considerably, so be sure to ask at the ticket window.
And remember that free entry usually only applies to a museum’s permanent collections and often doesn’t cover special exhibits. However, these special exhibitions often offer discounted youth tickets.
Discounts and other deals
If a museum’s entrance is not free, you can often find various discounts if you know where to look, so work up the courage to ask if the price seems steep. Youth and “under 18” visitors can usually get reductions even if you don’t have EU paperwork, so visitors can still benefit from reductions.
Also, museums often work in tandem to offer discounts. For example, if you present your ticket to the Musée d’Orsay when you visit the Palais Garnier, you’ll receive a discount (if you visit within 14 days). Obviously, right? Check out the offers posted at the ticket booth.
The Paris Tourism Office has a website in English that can be useful for finding up-to-date information for any museum in Paris. Search by museum name and soon you’ll realize how much money you can save (and how many Mona Lisa mugs you’ll finally be able to buy at the Louvre gift shop!). They even have an incredibly comprehensive list of all free and reduced admission museums and times.
Looking for even more free ideas? Here’s a list of 25 free things in Paris that we love and 7 things in Paris that are always free.
The post Paris: A list of free and discounted museums appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.
Source: Euro Cheapo