Heading to Paris? Lena from Salut from Paris shares her cost of travel in Paris tips for those wanting to plan a trip to Paris.
We love Paris and the amazing things to do in Paris so we are so happy to have Lena, an expat living in Paris, sharing her up-to-date cost of travel guide to help you budget your trip accurately.
The exchange rate at the time of publishing (January 2020): $1 USD = 0.90€ EUR = 76p GBP
Introduction to Paris
Paris is one of the most popular destinations worldwide – be it for honeymoons, weekend trips, or as a leg on a trip to Europe, and France’s capital is living up to the expectation. There are tons of things to do and see, and to taste and try, no matter what you’re into, you surely find it in Paris! One fun fact about Paris is that it is home to more dogs than children -perhaps this is why it is seen as such a romantic destination? Either way, there is a lot to love about the capital of France.
How much does a trip to Paris cost?
Accommodation in Paris
Like many other things in Paris that you can buy with money, there is no limit when it comes to accommodation costs. Generally, the more central, as higher the prices.
A bed in a mixed 12-bed dorm starts at €30 while a double room at the Hotel Ritz next to the Louvre starts at €1200 per night.
But apart from these extremes, a double room in a mid-range hotel in a safe and central area will cost around 150€/night. We loved the Eiffel Capitol Hotel, not too far from the Eiffel Tower and with decent-priced rooms. You can also choose one of the hotels with a view of the Eiffel Tower but these start at around €300 a night.
When picking one of the thousands of hotels in Paris, it’s best to keep in mind that there are no objectively unsafe areas within Paris and as every corner of Paris is very well connected by the local Metro, there is nothing really outside the center.
I suggest staying within the highway ring around Paris and if possible, avoiding the north and northeast of Paris – not by all means, but it’s just less nice. Also, visiting Paris in March or September can give you good weather but hotel prices are more affordable than other times of the year. If you don’t mind the cold, visiting Paris in Winter but outside of the holidays can save you a lot of money on hotels.
Transport costs in Paris
The most convenient and cheapest way of getting around in Paris is clearly the Metro. The price of a one-way Metro ticket is €1.90 but there is also the option of buying day or week Metro passes.
The costs for those are varying between €7.50 and €32.90 and are depending on the validation lengths and if the pass is for central Paris or also for locations further out like airports, Disneyland Paris, or Versailles.
Alternatively, there is always the option to take a taxi or an Uber, it might just take longer during the day time due to traffic. From the airports, the prices in town are fixed. From Charles de Gaulle airport in the north, it costs between €50 and €55 and from Orly airport in the south between €30 and €35, depending if the destination is left or right bank.
Prices of food and drink in Paris
Paris is food heaven and while it is possible to have a lunch menu in a Brasserie for €12 or street food for less than €6, there is actually no limit if you really want to spend money.
However, starting your day in a typical French way is ideal for budget travelers. An espresso (you need to order a café though) in a typical Parisian Café costs less than €1.50 when taking it at the bar and a bit more if you want to enjoy it sitting down. As the Parisian breakfast is very basic, you are all set by ordering also a Croissant, which won’t be much more than the café. A fresh croissant from a bakery cost around €1.10.
The cheapest way to eat in a sit-down restaurant is having a classic Parisian lunch in a brasserie. Brasseries are all those little bars and restaurants that are opening early in the morning for breakfast, they serve lunch and close somewhen in the late afternoon. Often they are equipped with a terrace and a counter where you can buy lottery tickets and cigarettes. They also have a lunch menu between €10 and €15 per person that comprises at least the main dish, plus a starter or dessert.
Having Dinner in Paris is tricky in terms of budget, as there is really no limit on how much you possibly could spend. However, including a starter or dessert accompanying your main dish and a bit of wine, you will pay between €30 to €50 in most restaurants per person, and Michelin star restaurants are excluded.
Eating and drinking out in Paris is clearly not the cheapest, but how much you will spend depends also heavily on where in Paris you decide you order your drink and food. For example, a pint of Lager on a terrace in the center of Paris can easily cost €12 while you pay only €5 in many bars in less touristic areas like the 13th or 18th arrondissement.
If you are traveling on a budget or maybe just for a little appetite in between meals, you always can get Crêpes with butter and sugar for €2.50 or a baguette with ham and cheese from the bakery for €4.
Activities & attraction prices in Paris
Paris has tons of activities to choose from – and most of them unfortunately aren’t free. The most known sight in Paris is, of course, the Eiffel Tower and tickets for accessing the top floor cost €25.50 However if you are up for some exercise and happy with the already quite fabulous view from the 2nd floor, you can buy a ticket for already €10.50 and use the stairs! Very popular is as well is a visit to the Louvre. Apart from every first Saturday evening of the month, this one isn’t free either.
The general admission fee starts at €15 but like most other French museums, the entrance is free for every one visitor under 18 years. Many visitors are doing a sightseeing tour when in Paris. A classic is a cruise on the river Seine and €15 is rather cheap compared to most bus tours. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, why not visit some of the more unusual things to do in Paris instead.
From our own travel experiences, the prices of groceries in Paris are cheaper than in the USA or in New Zealand. 1.5l of Water costs for example around €0.60 and a liter of milk €0.95. But more interesting: a bottle of French quality wine starts at around €5.