Do you dream of eating macarons in Paris, drinking wine in the French countryside, or exploring coastal seaside towns? You’re not alone. France is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. But, just how much does it cost to go to France? Read on to find out.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest a two-week (14 days and 13 nights) itinerary in France. Please note that this guide is based on the costs for a single person. If you are travelling as a couple, make sure to double these estimates (except for hotels). It should also be noted that this budget assumes you will be using trains and public transit to travel around France, rather than renting a car.
Local transportation $200
Food and drink $700
Random spending $200
Total $4,000 USD
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
Also, keep in mind that this is just an estimate. France isn’t necessarily a cheap travel destination, however, savvy travellers will be able to reduce their costs by using some of the tips and suggestions shared in this article.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
Visitors to France will likely find the best prices by flying into Paris since it’s a major hub. Paris has three airports, though chances are if you are coming from North America you will fly in and out of Charles de Gaulle. There are several other airports in France, though not many offer direct routes- most will require you to stop in Paris anyway.
As with flights to most destinations, you’ll find the most expensive airfare booking on weekends, during the holiday season, or high season (summer months for France). If you can plan around these times, you will be able to find lower costs.
The average cost of a return flight to Paris is $650. Keep in mind flights will be cheaper if you are flying from the east coast rather than the west coast, and those flying from the USA will often see cheaper fares than Canadians.
Accommodation in France tends to follow the same guidelines as finding flights: weekends, holidays, and the high season will see the most expensive prices. Thankfully, France has lots of choices when it comes to accommodation in terms of budgets. All major cities will have options ranging from hostels to five-star luxury hotels and, of course, everything in-between. I’ve used the average cost of a mid-range hotel for this estimate which is about $150 per night.
My preferred website to book accommodations is booking.com. What makes them unique is that you can search different types of accommodations at the same time including hotels, apartments, vacation homes, hostels, luxury tents, and even treehouses.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
Getting around France and its cities is pretty easy by public transportation. Trains will take you across the country while local metro systems, buses and your feet are perfect for exploring cities.
How much you spend on transportation in France really depends on where you plan to go. If you are spending most of your time in one part of the country, then you will spend less than if you plan on going all over.
With that being said, I don’t necessarily recommend getting a France rail pass. These often come with limitations. For example, you can only use it on trains that don’t require seat reservations. Often, you can find better deals by booking each train journey individually, though you will get better prices doing this if you book in advance.
I recommend budgeting about $200 for public transportation in France which will give you a few travel days. If you plan on hopping around a lot, you will need to allocate more.
Attractions is another category that can really vary in price depending on your interests. Those who love museums and galleries will spend much more on attractions than those who would prefer just to explore by foot and take in the sights.
That being said, France (especially Paris) has some really great paid attractions that are worth your money. Be sure to pick up a Paris Museum Pass if you plan on seeing a lot of attractions as it’s easily the best value. Regardless of where you end up, buying your attraction tickets is usually worth it so you can skip lines.
If a lot of the museums and attractions in France’s cities are on your list of things to see and do, then I highly recommend looking into individual city passes such as the Lyon City Card. They really do offer a better deal value-wise.
Other attractions and tours you’ll want to consider while in France include:
- Disneyland Paris
- Eiffel Tower
- Louvre priority access ticket
- Saint-Émilion Village
- Normandy U.S. Sector, D-Day half day tour
- Mont Saint Michel
- Marseille Hop-On Hop-Off Colorbus Tour
Overall, you’ll likely want to budget at least $300 for attractions during your two weeks in France.
Food and drink
Foodies will love that local food and drink can actually be quite affordable across France. Of course, you can also spend a small fortune on meals in small restaurants, but you don’t have to in order to be able to enjoy good food.
One of the best ways to eat in France is by shopping at local food markets and bakeries. You can buy bread, meats, cheeses, fruits, and even baked goods like quiche for only a few euros. Additionally, many cafes offer low cost meals (around 10 euro or less) such as sandwiches, crepes, or even salads which means you can eat out affordably too.
Granted, you’ll no doubt want to enjoy a couple of nice, higher-end meals. After all, this is France, but you can rest a little easier knowing that eating out here doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of what you can expect to pay for food and drink per day:
- Breakfast – $7
- Lunch – $13
- Dinner – $30
That works out to $50 a day which seems a bit high, but I just want to give you a rough idea of how much to budget. I don’t expect you to go to a restaurant every day for dinner. Quite often you’ll likely just grab a sandwich and drink which will cost you less than $10. Many supermarkets also have prepared meals that are inexpensive.
With every trip, it’s always a good idea to have a little extra money for unplanned expenses or random spending. Maybe you’ll want souvenirs, maybe you’ll want to take an unplanned day trip, or maybe you just want to splurge on a really good meal. I recommend having an extra $200 on hand just in case.
So how much does it cost to go to France? Based on my estimates you can expect to pay approximately $4,000 USD for a two-week vacation. Of course, this is just a guideline and you can either increase or decrease this budget to reflect your preferred travel style. Need more inspiration? Check out my guides to Croatia, Italy, Amsterdam, Ireland, New York City, Dubai and Bali.