Paris Travel Tips: Advanced Online Tickets

Paris is crawling with tourists. Especially in the summer.

During peak times Paris can become very busy. It is one of the most visited cities in the world and visiting any of Paris's major tourist attractions can involve waiting in ticket lines. Luckily there is a solution. If you only have a limited time to visit, you need to plan ahead. There are a number of different tourist attractions you can visit that allows you to purchase tickets online and cut down on your wait time. Is it really necessary? Isn't it more fun to be spontaneous? It depends on how lucky you are with lines.

We don't like to plan ahead and sometimes it doesn't work out.

As usual, we didn't do a lot of planning before we went on our holiday. We had a rough idea about some of the stuff we wanted to see but we mostly planned to just wing it when we got there. This is not for everyone. We had a great time visiting Paris since our enjoyment didn't depend on seeing all the biggest tourist sights but chances are you are going to want to see at least one of the major tourist attractions while in Paris. The one we went to see was the Catacombs of Paris. You should definitely learn from our mistake and plan ahead. The Perks to planning ahead can include deals, no waiting, and maximizing your time in Paris.

Don't make the same mistake that we did.

What happened when we went to the Catacombs of Paris? Learn from our mistake. We planned our day around visiting the catacombs. We showed up in the middle of the day and we were shocked by how long the line was. Fooled by our experience with the long yet fast-moving line through Notre Dame Cathedral earlier we decided to give the Catacombs line a chance. 

Next thing we knew we had waited too long in the line to give up and we figured we might as well see it to the end. It was really hot out, we were exposed to the sun, and it was really boring waiting in line. Surprisingly we waited 3.5 hours to get in. It was by far the longest line we've ever waited in before. People were showing up 3 hours to closing and were being turned away. In the end, we were glad that we did wait in line as we really want to see the Catacombs but we know that a lot of people would never wait in a line that long.

It put us off waiting in any more lines on our trip so we mostly did activities that involved no lines. The line for the Eiffel Tower was just as long so we didn't even bother going up the Eiffel Tower.

These three tips summarize our advice about visiting tourist attractions in Paris:

1. Research what sights you would like to check out ahead of time. Look up attractions including museums, monuments and other sights before arriving in Paris. Check out their websites to see if they offer advanced tickets and entry times. They might even offer a discount rate for tickets purchased online. Look into where the sights you want to see are and how to get there. See what attractions fit into your budget.

2. Plan your time in Paris wisely. See how many of the attractions you can fit into your plans keeping in mind the logistics of getting from one place to another. Look into the average time it takes to visit the Louvre for example so you give yourself enough time to enjoy the places you visit before you are off to the next. You can book a hop on hop off tour bus or just take the metro to help you get around Paris. 

3. Purchase advanced tickets. Once you've worked out what you want to see and when you can see it, then it is time to purchase those advanced tickets. You can purchase them online and print out the tickets before you go. Another option is to purchase the Paris Passlib' which is an all in one option.

Here are a few examples of websites for attractions that offer advanced tickets:

You can go to the Eiffel Tower website and purchase a ticket for going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You can select the time you would like to go. It does take some preplanning but avoiding the line makes it worth it.

The Louvre has a similar advanced ticket system where you can purchase advanced tickets online and select a time slot. When we were in Paris the lineups were massive so although it requires some preplanning it is much better than waiting for 3.5 hours in a line when you can just purchase advanced tickets.

The Catacombs of Paris has an advanced ticket system as well where you can purchase tickets for a particular date and time to cut down on time waiting in the lineup. Seriously it is worth it considering that we waited 3.5 hours in the line to see the Catacombs of Paris. 

Have you been to Paris before? How did you find the lines? What did you see?