The Top Ways To Skip The Lines In Paris – Call It "Eiffel Without Effort!"

The Top Ways To Skip The Lines In Paris

Paris is a very popular place, and rightly so. The museums and monuments and the just-plain-charm of the city make it attractive to millions of visitors every year. And that's where a difficulty can arise — millions of visitors and glorious attractions usually mean long line-ups waiting to get in. Who doesn't want to get inside the Louvre or to the top of the Eiffel Tower or visit private rooms at Versailles? That's why you come here.

As you know by now, we hate standing in line and do whatever we can to avoid it. Luckily, we've discovered ways to do just that in Paris — guided, skip-the-line tours. All tours we talk about here include priority access; your guide leads you past the long lines and into the landmark. Here, then, are the top ways to avoid waiting in line in Paris.

Visit Versailles Without Lineups

The Best of Versailles Full-Day Tour

Versailles is a don't-miss destination when you're in Paris. It's a little ways outside the city, but that doesn't stop throngs of tourists heading there… and then waiting in long lines to get it. But here are popular options that a smart visitor can use to avoid the lineup that snakes its way across the grounds. Honestly, a guided tour is the only way to do it.

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#1. The Best of Versailles Full-Day Tour

Visitors love this priority-access tour, and for good reason. It's a full-day, 8-hour, small-group tour that picks you up and returns you to your Paris hotel. You spend your time at the estate exploring (with the help of your guide) the Royal Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and other majestic rooms. You also visit the Grand Trianon, Louis XIV's private palace and there's plenty of time to spend exploring the amazing gardens.

Even better, this is also available as a private tour, for just you and your party.

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#2. Your Own Private Versailles

Experience the Palace of Versailles on an exclusive half-day private tour. It starts with a Eurovan whisking you from your Paris hotel to the priority entrance at the Palace of Versailles. There, you'll glide past the velvet ropes to areas previously seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences as well as the magnificent gardens.

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#3. Versailles Monarchy Private Full-Day Tour

Our pal Lorde tells us that we may never be royal, but you'll feel like it on this private tour. The day starts in central Paris, whence your driver/guide whisks to the royal estate. Included in your dossier are priority, skip-the-line tickets. Go directly inside to experience the grandeur of the chateau on a guided tour. Then stroll through the gardens until it's time for lunch. Afternoon finds you at the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette's farm, before you're driven back to Paris. Everything is included.

Lose the Louvre Lineup

Louvre

The Louvre is definitely a place you want to do your best to lose the lineup. What does ten million visitors a year mean? That's right — long lines. Since avoiding the queues is our life's mission, we've delved deep and found some ways to go directly to the Mona Lisa.

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#1. Masterpieces of the Louvre

Don't just wander around the world's biggest museum. Skip the lineups and go straight to the Louvre's greatest masterpieces. In the time you'd spend in line, you will be admiring the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and of course, the Mona Lisa. This small-group tour is led by an expert museum guide. After the tour ends you're free to explore the museum on your own. Also available as a private tour.

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#2. Louvre Inside Out: Skip the Line Private Tour

Skip the long lines and revel in a personalized experience at the world's most famous museum. On this highly-rated art tour your expert guide leads you past the lineups directly to the iconic treasures of the Louvre. Whether this is your first visit to the museum or your sixth you're going to be surprised and delighted. This is our top Louvre recommendation.

Eiffel Without the Effort

Skip the Lines at the Eiffel Tower

This iconic symbol of Paris is tall, thin & popular, with long lineups any time of year. Happily, you can sign up for guided priority-access tours that get you up the tower quickly.

  • Access tickets are only available three months in advance. So for instance, to book a May 1 tour you have to wait until February 1.
  • Some skip-the-line tours take you to Level Two; while others get up all the way to the summit, Level Three.
  • The view from Level Two is glorious, in some ways maybe even better than at the top because you can distinguish buildings and places better.
  • Then again, getting to the top of the Tower (and being able to say you did) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The most important planning advice for the Eiffel Tower is to remember that everybody wants to visit, so tours and other Eiffel Tower activities sell out quickly. This means you may have to do a bit of searching to find an available skip-the-line tour on your dates. We've made the search a bit easier by providing the links below

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#1. Eiffel Tower Level Two Priority Access

You meet your escort at the base of the tower for priority access to the Tower. This activity can also be combined with a Seine River cruise — which we recommend as a great option.

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#2. Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Summit Access

This is the way to go if you want the complete Eiffel Tower experience. Meet up with an expert guide at the base of the tower, then follow her through the priority-access entrance and up the elevator. You'll view the city below while learning facts, history, and anecdotes about the tower.

At the end of the guided part of the tour you use your included tickets to ride all the way to the top, where you can spend as long as you want gazing at Paris from 900 feet, sipping champagne. Because, of course, there's a champagne bar at the top of the tower !

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#3. VIP Eiffel Tower Tour + Evening Champagne Cruise

This kicks off with a nighttime, champagne-fueled cruise along the famous Seine River. Your guide pours the bubbly while filling you in on the iconic landmarks you are gliding past. By the time your boat docks the Tower is all aglow and waiting for your VIP, priority-access tour that takes you to Level Two. Finish the evening on the Tower viewing the lights of Paris for as long as you like.

Skip the Line at Musée d'Orsay

Private Guided Tour of Musée d'Orsay, photo by Mark Craft

Musée d'Orsay is second in importance only to the Louvre. Its collections of Impressionism and other masterpieces of 19th-century art are unsurpassed. We love visiting here again and agin, especially since there are always temporary exhibitions tempting us to come back. And the building by itself is worth the visit — a Belle Epoque former train station.

But being in second place doesn't often translate into shorter lines. So, this is another place where we search for skip-the-line ideas. We recommended this well-liked private tour that enters the museum at Door B, exclusively reserved for tours with a booked time-slot, so there's no waiting.

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#1. Musée d'Orsay Impressionists Tour

As we mentioned, the Musée d'Orsay is a very busy place. This small-group tour just might be the best way to see the highlights of the collection and beat the crowds. You skip the long line and follow your guide directly to the masterpieces of Manet, Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh, all the while learning all about the Impressionists and the story of the magnificent museum that was once a train station.

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#2. Semi-Private Skip-the-Line Tour of d'Orsay

5-STAR REVIEW — "Best tour guide ever. Incredibly knowledgeable. Very good at communicating the significance of each artist and painting to us in a way that engaged three teenagers! Perhaps the best tour guide I've ever had. Truly amazing. Highly recommended!"

Bonus – Private Tour of the Louvre Museum + Musée d'Orsay

Private Tour of the Louvre Museum + d'Orsay

For the whole enchilada (to use the appropriate French term) choose this skip-the-lines museum activity that takes you to both the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay on tours led by an experienced guides. It's another private tour for just you and your party, ensuring lots of personal attention.

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