City Pass: To Buy or Not to Buy

City passes are all the rage at the moment, with reduced entry fees, free admission and free transport all featuring. All the big cities in Europe and beyond are getting in on the act – so should you? We’re here to break down the costs and the realistic savings by seeing what a typical 48 hours in Paris might see you doing.

The Card

A two day pass in Paris costs €115 for adults (teen cards cost €61 and children’s cards are €34). Be aware that even if you use your pass for part of a day, that counts as one of the days, so be sure to begin in the morning to make the most of your savings. Prices in other cities can vary a lot – a Barcelona City Pass costs just €27 for two days, but you don’t get anything free, just discounted.

Day One

The city pass gets you free travel on all the public transport, so no matter how far from the centre your hotel is, you can hop on the RER or the metro and be in the centre in no time. Once there, you can use the hop-on-hop off city tour buses to get around so you can see the sights on the way.

The Louvre by pululante

Let’s start off at the Louvre, one of the most iconic museums in Paris. If you want to make the most of your pass, there’s not time to explore it all (actually, 48 hours probably isn’t enough to explore it all), just be sure to see the Mona Lisa! I’d also recommend the Napoleonic Apartments for their outlandish décor.

Sainte Chapelle by inoc

You’ll definitely be in need of lunch, which is where your discount book can come in handy, and after that it’s off to the stunning Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de Cite. Look out for the Passion relics and the amazing medieval stained glass windows. The nearby Notre Dame is better known, so head there next. Take the tower tour for the full Quasimodo experience and see the great views.

Arc de Triomphe by wlappe

Continue with a River Cruise, then enjoy dinner and perhaps take a walk up the Arc de Triomphe to finish!

Savings: Metro €9.75 Tour Bus €26 Louvre €10 Sainte-Chapelle €8.50 Notre Dame Tower €8.50 Boat Tour €26 Arc de Triomphe €9.50

Total: €98.25

Day Two

Montparnasse Tower by Jim Linwood

The free metro pass comes in handy again, with another trip to the centre. Begin your second day at the Musee d’Orsay, which is my favourite museum in Paris – head directly to the Impressionist rooms to see some of the genre’s most iconic paintings. Skip the statues though, Paris is full of statues! Then it’s over to the Montparnasse Tower for a stunning 56 floor high view of this beautiful city.

Centre Pompidou by summer park

Lunch over, the Centre Pompidou is next on the agenda, with its inside-out architecture and modern art. Look out for street performers here, it’s where the best in the city ply their trade. Then head to the Opera House for a tour, complete with its underground lake, the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera. You can’t miss out on a walk (or even better, take the funicular for free with your pass) up to Montmartre for the view from the Sacre Coeur steps – there are nightly parties as the sun sets.

View from Sacre Coeur by edwin.11

Dinner could perhaps be combined with a wine tasting experience. After all, it would be wrong to go all the way to Paris without sampling some of the best that the city has to offer! And you’ll probably need to head to bed after that…

Savings: Metro €9.75 Musee d’Orsay €9 Montparnasse Tower €8 Centre Pompidou €12 Opera House €12 Wine Tasting €30

Total: €80.75

Grand Total: €179 – that’s a saving of €64!

Verdict: Great value BUT not for every day!

That’s a tidy saving and we do think that city passes are great value for money. However, although this itinerary is achievable, it certainly doesn’t leave much time for wandering the streets, shopping, drinking coffee at street cafes or browsing the book stalls along the left bank! We’d recommend doing something like getting a two day pass for a four day holiday so you can have a couple of days seeing all the big sights and saving yourself a good chunk of cash, and a couple of days enjoying the atmosphere!

Speaking of savings, use our city breaks tool to find a great deal on your next adventure!