Ah, Paris. The city of light and the city of love. The capital of France is a top contender on many people’s budget lists. Sites and attractions such as the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, and the Moulin Rouge paired with delicious French cuisine, beautiful architecture, and a rich history all add to the allure of Paris. But, how much does it cost to go to Paris?
Well, it’s not a cheap destination like Southeast Asia, but if you’re a savvy traveller, you’ll quickly learn that Paris on a budget is possible. In this article, I’m going to share how much it costs to go to Paris and get the most of the city, along with a few money saving tips and tricks to use along the way.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest a one-week (7 days and 6 nights) itinerary in Paris. 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).
|Food and drink||$300|
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. Paris 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.
The estimate of $650 is a rough average. Paris is a major hub in Europe, so if you start looking well ahead of time and keep your eye out for seat sales, it is possible to get a pretty good deal, closer to $500. Travellers should also consider the time of year they are visiting Paris. Summer months and holidays (especially Christmas time) will see an increase in airfare costs. Another way to save on airfare is to use up any loyalty points you may have.
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 Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (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 and it comes with airport lounge access.
Accommodation in Paris does not tend to be budget friendly, even hostels in the capital of France come with a hefty price tag. However, there is no shortage of accommodation choices in the city so if you do some price checking and are willing to be flexible you might be able to find a good deal.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on accommodation costs is to stay outside of the main part of the city centre, in one of the further arrondissements. Not only will accommodation be cheaper, but dining options will as well. Plus, you get to experience more of a local side to Paris. The disadvantage of this is that Paris is quite a large city, so getting in and out of the core will take quite a bit of time so you need to take that into consideration. Most travellers, especially first-time visitors, prefer to stay closer to the main attractions.
For the purpose of this article, I chose somewhere central with a mid-range budget. If you are looking for some central suggestions, I recommend the following:
Paris mid-range hotels
Paris luxury hotels
Or, you can try Airbnb; a popular choice for many travellers, including myself. Most offer clean and safe places to stay at reasonable prices. Just make sure to read the reviews ahead of time. Keep in mind it may be harder to find an Airbnb in the heart of Paris. Use my invite to get $45 towards your first stay.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
The best way to see Paris is by foot. However, the city is huge so while I absolutely recommend walking around to take in the sites and architecture, you can’t expect to walk everywhere.
Paris has a great metro system that is well connected to the main sites and places of interest in the city. For visitors, this is the best and most affordable way to get around the city.
A single use metro ticket will cost you €1,90, but you can save money by purchasing a carnet of 10 tickets for €16. Tickets are available from vending machines in the metro.
Taxis are available but can be quite expensive so I don’t recommend using them unless you are in a rush or are out late at night.
Paris’ sites and attractions is an area where your budget can really vary. If you are a museum person, it’s easy to spend quite a bit of money on attractions. If are someone who prefers to walk around and site see, then your budget will be significantly smaller.
Museum enthusiast or not, Paris does have some world-famous museums that are absolutely worth a visit while in Paris, such as The Louvre. For this reason, I highly recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass which really is the best deal- especially if you are a first time visitor and looking to see and do a lot.
The Paris Museum Pass offers free, fast-track entry to a number of museums and monuments. You can purchase the pass for 2, 4 or 6 days at a cost of €48, 62€, €74 respectively. Some people may think that price is high, but if you go to quite a few attractions, you’ll easily be able to get your money’s worth.
If you don’t think you’ll get good value out of the Paris Museum Pass, considering buying tickets in advance to the following so you can skip the lines.
- Eiffel Tower
- Disneyland Paris
- City tour and Seine river cruise
- Musée d’Orsay
- Pompidou Center Museum
- Rodin Museum
- Arc de Triomphe
- Paris Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
While it’s absolutely possible to spend your entire week in Paris, you may also want to consider a day trip or two exploring the nearby areas. Some of the top day trips include Versailles, Monet’s Giverny, or Mont Saint Michel. These tours can be done on your own or with a tour company.
Another consideration is the nightlife. Paris doesn’t have a big bar/club scene but cabarets, such as the Moulin Rouge, can be a fun option for a night out. Tickets will need to be purchased well in advance (a couple of months is best; they book up quickly). There are dinner + show options or show + champagne options. I recommend just the show + champagne since it’s a better deal.
For one week in Paris, I would suggest allocating $350 for attractions. If you are more of an outdoor explorer than museum person you will not spend this much, however, it’s always best to have left-over money than to go over budget.
Food and drink
Food and drink are where it can get really tricky to stay on budget. After all, you are in Paris; one of the foodie capitals of the world. For that reason, I would say that this is an area where you will likely want to allocate a little more money than you usually would; you’d be pretty disappointed to come all the way to Paris and eat on a tight budget. So allow yourself to splurge on a couple of really good meals.
Another great way to enjoy delicious French food without spending too much is to prepare your own meals rather than eat out. Instead of breakfast at a café, visit a boulangerie and pick up a croissant. Rather than dining out for lunch, visit a market and pick up a fresh baguette and some cheese and have a picnic-style lunch in a park or by the Seine. By getting into these more affordable mealtime habits, you can feel better about eating out at a good restaurant for dinner.
If this sounds like a good plan to you, then your food and drink expenses will probably look something like this:
- Breakfast – $6
- Lunch – $12
- Dinner – $25
That equals $43 per day which may sound expensive, but this is an average price. I don’t expect you to go to a restaurant every day so you’re overall costs will likely be lower.
A few other things to note. Generally speaking, eating outside will always cost you more. If you’re just looking to have a quick coffee, enjoy it at the bar instead of the patio.
If you want water, most restaurants will default to a bottle of still water. You can ask for tap water, but you need to specify “pichet d’eau.”
If you are a shopaholic, then you can easily spend a lot of money in Paris. If not, then this section probably isn’t something you will have to worry about.
For those who are interested in shopping in Paris, keep in mind that the major designers can be found worldwide now, and buying in Paris may not be the most affordable option. Especially considering the exchange rate. For that reason, I suggest sticking to more local boutiques and shops rather than the household name brands.
If you don’t really plan on shopping, I’d make sure to have a little bit of an extra budget for food and drink stops. An afternoon glass of wine at a café or a quick stop in a French macaron shop can be a fun little splurge.
For one week in Paris, I’d recommend having, at minimum, an extra $150 for spending money which should cover the occasional snack stop and basic souvenirs. If you plan on shopping, you will definitely need to budget more.
So how much does it cost to go to Paris and get the most out of the city? I estimate that one week in Paris will cost approximately $2,150 per person.
Paris is a great city filled with incredible sites and attractions and plenty to see and do. It can be easy to get carried away in your spending. However, if you use some of the advice above, you’ll also find that you can experience the best of the city while also staying on budget. For more travel inspiration, check out my guides on London, Dubai, Jordan, Disneyland, Tokyo, Europe, Rome and Ireland.