TRIP COACH

For visitors with children, is the Paris Museum Pass worth it?

You ask, we respond.

Next summer, BT reader Patricia Benedict, of Rockford, Ill., will be taking her 12-year-old granddaughter to visit Paris for the first time. The two of them plan to take in a ton of art and architecture in four days: "We want to see the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse, Sacré-Coeur, and, of course, to stroll down the Champs-Élysées and view the Arc de Triomphe," says Patricia.

With so many sights to see in a very short period of time, Patricia wonders, "Should we purchase the Paris Museum Pass?" The pass in question offers entry to more than 60 Paris-area museums and monuments for a fixed price, and it allows pass holders to jump the line and proceed directly to the ticket taker. The Paris Museum Pass is priced at €32 ($44) for two days, €48 ($66) for four days, and €64 ($88) for six days. There are no discounts for children or seniors.

So let's do the math: Among the places that Patricia and her granddaughter want to see, the Eiffel Tower is not covered by the Paris Museum Pass. Not to mention there's no charge to visit the Sacré-Coeur church, and it's always free to stroll down the Champs-Élysées and through the neighborhood of Montparnasse. In evaluating whether the Paris Pass is worth it for Patricia and her granddaughter, it helps to break down the admission prices for the remaining things they'd like to experience:

The Musée d'Orsay: €8 ($11) for adults and free for children under 18

The Louvre: €9.5 (about $13) for adults and free for children under 18

• The Arc de Triomphe: €9 ($12.50) for adults and free for children under 18

• The towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral: €8 ($11) for adults and free for children under 18

Thanks to the child discount offered at many museums and monuments, Patricia and her granddaughter would pay only €34.50 ($48) to visit the four sites that are covered by the Paris Pass. By contrast, a four-day Paris Pass would cost €48 ($66) per person or €96 ($132) for both.

One of the advantages of the Paris Museum Pass is the ability to bypass ticket lines, which can be lengthy during the summer months. But we suspect that Patricia and her granddaughter wouldn't want to spend an extra €61.50 ($85) for the privilege of cutting in line. Skipping the line and getting through the museums more quickly would enable them to see additional sights also covered by the Paris Museum Pass. However, packing in too many experiences can have the effect of dulling all of them—especially for children.

Other travelers who would otherwise pay full admission price may decide that ability to jump the line justifies the additional cost of the Paris Pass. But for Patricia and her granddaughter, we think it makes sense to take advantage of the child discount offered by their chosen monuments and to skip the Paris Pass.

Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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