Our plan for Monday was a trip out to the Palace of Versailles however after a quick Google search we discovered that it was closed Mondays. Tip: Many museums and other businesses’ in general are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We decided that Monday would then be a day to run around and visit all the sights we hadn’t yet had a chance to see so we woke up early to beat the line for the Notre Dame towers which was included in our museum pass. Note: We have been getting up between 8am – 9am most days so this was hard.
This is also a location where the passes do not allow you to beat the queue. We stocked up on more croissants and Mary’s favourite Chocolat et escargot and arrived 30 minutes before opening and lucky we did. They allow groups of 25 people in, every 10 minutes. We were in the second group for the day but by the time the doors opened there would have been enough people waiting for the first 2 hours. The view from the towers was amazing and the time allowed at the top was quite generous. Signs state that you will get 5 minutes at the very top of the tower but as you need to wait for other groups to clear the staircase you actually get about 15 minutes.
Wanting to make good use of the Museum Pass we next headed to the Conciergerie – halls from the former royal palace and used as a prison and courthouse during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette was imprisoned here for 76 days prior to her execution. While reading about the revolution was interesting there wasn’t much of note here really so we did what any other tourist would do and headed to the Musee des egouts de Paris – Paris Sewer Museum. While stinky, this was actually quite fascinating to see how the city sewer system has changed over the centuries. We did walk over gushing sewerage and we did see rats 😮 Paris’s sewer network consists of 2,100km of tunnels which were first established in 1850. Until the 1970s tourists were able to view the tunnels in boats!
Wanting to take a look of the city from Sacre Cour, we headed up to Montmarte which is the bohemian district of Paris and home to the Moulin Rouge. We lasted an hour tops. Great view but seedy. Montmarte is chockers full of pee, over priced cafes and sex shops. We high tailed it back to the Latin Quarter for a Nutella and banana crepe.
Our final day in Paris was spent at the Palace of Versailles, its gardens, Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon. Versailles was transformed from a hunting lodge into the royal palace by King Louis XIV in 1682. It remained as the home of the royal court until the French revolution, where revolutionaries massacred the king’s guard and King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were dragged back to Paris for the final chop. This baroque palace epitomises 17th century luxury and this is evident as soon as you walk into the courtyard by its gold-leaf gates. This is also a place where you need to arrive early. When we left at approx. 3pm the line doubled back the length of the whole entrance courtyard three times. The palace was of course lovely, but honestly there was so much pushing and shoving so we ended up quickly walking through and headed out to the gardens. Our pass would ordinarily covered entrance to the gardens however as it was the day of the musical fountain show we had to pay. Don’t bother making a special trip for this, it’s two fountain shows of about 10 mins each. The gardens are breathtaking and you can spend hours walking there. We walked through the gardens all the way around to the estate of Trianon. Versailles is definitely worth a full day’s visit in fact I would even go as far as saying two nights’ accommodation in Versailles would be worthwhile however if you are short on time just enter the gardens. It’s much cheaper than the palace and you won’t be disappointed.
For our final Parisian dinner we ventured into a tapas bar where we ordered the largest charcuterie plate (amongst other things) and ate our weight in cheese and cured meat.
Paris Museum Pass review
Did we get value from our 6 day Paris Museum pass? We sure did! Here’s a list of everything we went to including the cost of their adult entry fee we would have had to pay if we didn’t have the pass. Technically we only had the pass for 5 and a half days and we didn’t use it at all on Sunday so we definitely could have fit another couple of museums in.
Louvre – €15
L’Orangerie – €9
Notre Dame Towers – €10
Sewer Museum – €4.20
Palace of Versailles – €25
Panthenon – €7
Conciergerie – €9
Musee D’Orsay – €12
Tomb of Napoleon – €12
Arc de Triomphe – €12
Total Value: €115.20
Cost of one 6 day museum pass: €72