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I am very confused whether or not to buy advance tickets for the Catacombs in Paris and what the prices are. I believe the official site is:

http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/visit/access-opening-times-accessibility/museum-admission

If you look at the information you will see: Type of visit Full rates Concessions Catacombs and exhibition 13 €* 11 €* Coupled ticket Catacombs of Paris - Archaeological Crypt 17 €* 14 €*

I believe "Concessions" means "child", "disabled", "elderly" and certain other terms, BUT I'm not sure. In fact I have a 15-year old with me so it's relevant.

  1. What is the Archaeological Crypt? Is it worth it? It's not described on the website.

Further adding to my confusion, a few lines down one sees:

PLAN YOUR VISIT! BUY YOUR TICKET ON-LINE TO REDUCE YOUR MINIMUM WAITING TIME, AND BENEFIT FROM AN AUDIOGUIDE. AT FULL PRICE WITH TAPE GUIDE: 29,00 € YOUTH RATE FROM 4 UNTIL 17 YEARS OLD (WITHOUT TAPE GUIDE): 5,00 €

These prices seem completely different than the 17 and 14 given above! Finally to add to the confusion I see this on the same page!

Free Admission (upon presentation of a valid ID):

Youth 17 and under,

Why pay for a youth when they are free?

At the actual site where you pay:

http://b12-gat.apps.paris.fr/Offres.aspx

You will see: CHOISISSEZ LE NOMBRE DE BILLETS PAR CATEGORIE Tarifs au 29/03/2018 reste 20 Places Prix unitaire Quantité Plein tarif coupe file avec audioguide 29,00 € T. jeune coupe file sans audioguide 4-17ans inclus 5,00 €

  1. Can someone explain the pricing for adults and youth? Is it perhaps more to get advanced tickets? Is the audio guide essential?

Many thanks.

  • Oh boy that web site is crap, even in french!!! I can't even start to help you. – Max Mar 26 '18 at 23:02
  • Thanks Max. I didn't want to come right out and say that. And I couldn't think of a way to succinctly and eloquently state it, but I think your choice of "crap" is appropriate in this case :) – Dave Mar 27 '18 at 12:28
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maybe it's not so well translated, anyway "concessions" means reduced rate. So you have the full price and the reduced price.

below is explained who can benefit from reduced price and who can enter for free:

Reduced rate (upon presentation of a valid ID) : Youth and young adults (18-26), large families and holders of the "Paris Pass Famille", school teachers and librarians, holders of "Navigo-Améthyste-Emeraude" card, members of : la Sauvegarde de l'Art Français, la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français, la Société francaise d'archéologie, la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France.

Free Admission (upon presentation of a valid ID) : Youth 17 and under, disabled and their personal care attendant, job seekers and beneficiaries of the following income support supplements : RSA, allocation parents isolés, allocation personnalisée d'autonomie et aide sociale de l'Etat pour les réfugiés, city of Rome inhabitants (Paris twin City), city of Paris employees and councillors in activity or retired, professional visual artists with written evidence, Art World professionals : International Association of Art Critics, museum guides, French and foreign curators, « la commission du Vieux Paris », ICOM and ICOMOS members, journalists, art press reporters and federations.

Consider that the prices you see in the table on top are for ticket bought on-site, as written below the table.

so your son can enter for free if you buy the ticket there. If you want to buy the tickets online you pay 5 euro for your son (without audioguide) and 29 for the adults (with included audioguide).

Honestly I would not buy the tickets in advance. Usually the catacombs are not so crowded, you can go "early" in the morning and the queue will not be so long.

The Crypt is a different attraction located below Notre Dame Cathedral. The entrance is in front of the cathedral. So a complete different location. It shows some old ruins of the ancient roman village.

  • Thanks Val for the answer. I'd note that the website is confusing BUT do buy some sort of ticket in advance. There is a chance you could wait a very long time without one. – Dave Mar 31 '18 at 7:33
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We visited the catacombs in 2015. I can share our experience.

We did not buy tickets in advance. We went about one hour prior to opening and lined up. It did take us about half an hour after opening to get into the catacombs. The later in the day you go, the longer you'll wait. I didn't find the wait to be objectionable. The nice thing is that they limit the number of people inside, so you have a pleasant, unrushed experience inside. It really is a very interesting tour.

The audioguides aren't essential but they are very good . We enjoyed having them.

I can't comment about the archaeological site - I'd suggest asking about this when you buy your tickets, if you take my advice.

This was one of the highlights of our experience and I certainly recommend that anyone who goes to Paris visit them.

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To answer my own questions...

  1. The Crypt is below the Pantheon. The day I was there, you could just walk into the crypt. You did have to pay for the Pantheon (perhaps 8 euro for adult and 0 for children). I found the Pantheon and crypt well worth it.

  2. Still can't figure out the pricing on the website for the Catacombs. All tourists (and french folks ) thought the website was horrible. I CAN SAY that I highly recommend getting some tickets in advance. The difference between the different options is slight, but the wait times on the day I went was significant. We ended up going without tickets and waited slightly less than 3 hours! The wait for folks with tickets was not trivial - I'd estimate about 1 hour. But that's a significant savings in time that more than covers paying 5 or 10 euros too much. I can easily believe that on days it's not crowded one could just show up and get in almost as quickly as those with advance tickets, but personally, I wouldn't risk it.

  • The Crypt is not below the Pantheon but below the Notre Dame Cathedral area. You say that you can't figure out the pricing, have you tried to read my answer? there are the prices explained. – Val Mar 30 '18 at 6:20
  • My apologies Val. I didn't examine your answer carefully. I'll mark as answer but note in a comment that I DO think it's worth buying tickets in advance as we waited a very long time. Good to know about crypt under Notre Damme. Must do another time. Seeing Victor Hugo and others burial places under Pantheon was also worthwhile. Regards. – Dave Mar 31 '18 at 7:32

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