Annual Memberships for Paris Museums

For  Museum membership see below.
For additional advice on Paris see my Top Ten Recommendations  or click here for all my Paris posts.
Past the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde in the February sunshine.

If you're in Paris for any length of time and plan to visit and revisit the museums it's worth considering a annual membership, which may be worth it merely to avoid the horrendous lines. It's the end of week one and I've managed to join both the Louvre and the Pompidou which I'm very excited about. It's an expensive business but I know we will use both enough to make it worthwhile. I love the freedom of being able to drop in for a short visit and I can't wait to go back multiple times. The Pompidou is only a few minutes away from the apartment and it's worth a quick trip over there just to look at the Parisian skyline.

I can walk to the Louvre in less than half an hour or just jump on the metro for two stops if it's raining. The Louvre is so huge that it's overwhelming but being able to drop in and see something briefly is much more appealing to me. I even like the idea of sitting a reading a book in the sculpture court which is what I did last week. It is such a gorgeous space even on a dull day.

I started at the Pompidou which is the wrong way around. The ladies in the membership office assured me that I would get a reduced rate at the Louvre with my new Laissez Passer card from them. They were wrong. As the woman at the Amis du Louvre office told me, "We are the oldest and largest museum, you must start here, then they will give you a discount, we do not offer discounts to members of other museums." Well that told me hey? A clear education in the hierarchy of French cultural institutions; in  first, second and third place the Louvre and then everyone else, no matter what they say!

I can't resist one more picture from the Louvre, I love their room of  Assyrian sculpture. There are similar pieces in the British Museum, the Met and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, but I think the Louvre has the most impressive collection and installation.


The Laissez Passer from the Pompidou (or Beaubourg as it seems to be called in Paris) is 48 euro for one person and 72 euro for a pass that allows the member to bring one guest. With either pass you can enter all permanent and temporary exhibits including the currently Dali exhibit. There is a separate and much shorter line for card holders. It costs less to renew the card and there are special rates for youth, artists and teacher see their site here.

The Amis du Louvre card now costs 110 euro for two card. You can bring in one guest each on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and use the Richelieu entrance which helps enormously with the crowds. A single membership costs 70 euro. At both the Louvre and  the Pompidou they will take your photo for the card to prevent them being used interchangably. The Pompidou card is flexible in that you can bring a different guest but the duo membership Louvre allows D. to go anytime without waiting for me to invite him!

Loking towards the Louvre from the Tuileries.
If we come on another trip like this I'll consider a membership in  ICOMOS which offers a very comprehensive access to cultural institutions run by the  French government  including the Musee D'Orsay, Versailles and the Louvre. It  also includes entrance to the Met and many other museums and sites across Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. Interestingly it looks like it's cheaper to join on the UK site.


GDOQ said…

Thank you so much for the tips, to do the ICOMOS Card, should I prove that I live in the UK?

HI GDOQ, Apologies as I didn't pursue the ICOMOS card, I'm not really sure what the rules are...
Philippe said…
It seems one has to be a professional in the field, and get support from two existing members.
Berger said…
I have recently applied for, and been accepted for ICOMOS UK membership. I wasn't required that I be a professional in the field, there was no nomination by existing members required, and I live in Australia.