Every year, over 30 million tourists visit Paris, and that number has more than doubled in a little over a decade. Those figures are not surprising, even if you have never been to Paris in person. The capital of France is a fantasy vacation destination for millions of people. The stunning beauty of this legendary city is undeniable.
Unfortunately, despite its popularity as a worldwide tourist destination, you and your bank account might be in denial about just how much a trip to Paris costs.
The Short Answer
So how much is a trip to Paris anyway?
That question does not have a definitive answer. For experienced budget travelers, it might be enough to get by with a Paris trip budget of $1,000-$1,500 USD for a five-day trip and just shy of $2,000 for one week.
However, if you are trying to get the most out of your experience, including things like day trips, private tours, swanky hotel rooms, and a Paris food tour, you might consider as high as $4,000+ for a five-day luxury trip.
This doesn’t even begin to take into account fluctuating round trip flight costs and hotel pricing, which may dramatically increase the total cost of your Paris travel budget.
Paris holds a secure spot as one of the must-see tourist attractions in Europe.
Given the city’s notoriety, the price of a trip to the French capital can quickly multiply.
Still, the stereotypically expensive City of Lights can still be a practical vacation destination with thorough planning and plenty of personal flexibility.
While we will try our best to give you a full picture of a Parisian vacation budget, it is nearly impossible to pin down real-world numbers for reference without specifics.
The Truth About Planning a Trip to Paris
It can be hard to outline the average price of a Paris trip because of the many variables like time of year, where you stay, current exchange rate, and what you plan on doing while you are there.
If you want to make a realistic Paris budget plan, it’s best to know exactly what you want out of your Parisian vacation well in advance.
With a plan in hand, you can budget appropriately, and throughout this guide, you will find information on how to anticipate just how much you will end up spending on your vacation.
Things to Consider
No two Paris vacations will look the same, and that is especially true when it comes to budgets and price ranges.
If you do choose to visit Paris, you will find that the city is surprisingly affordable to get into compared to other cities in the region.
The capital’s position in central Europe means it’s well connected to many other European cities by train, so if you are planning on seeing more of the continent, Paris is a great place to start.
Always plan accordingly and come to terms with the fact that you might spend more money than originally estimated. You will surely find activities and purchases that take you by surprise in a city as diverse as Paris.
Alternatively, you might even find yourself in an emergency involving an injury or damage to property. It never hurts to set aside a little extra cash.
About 10 percent of your Paris vacation budget can be safeguarded for impulse spending, and to safeguard against accidents and mishaps.
PRO TIP: When traveling to Paris, or anywhere in Europe, keep in mind that you are not usually expected to tip at bars and some other establishments. If you do choose to tip, you certainly don’t have to pay the standard US rate of 15 percent. In France, where workers are paid a living wage and tips are a literal gratuity, a 5 percent tip is generally considered to be a great tip. There! Saving money already!
See Related: London vs Paris: What’s the Difference
The millions of people who visit Paris every year mostly arrive by plane through either Paris Orly Airport or Charles de Gaulle Airport.
No matter where you are coming from, you shouldn’t have much trouble booking a flight to the French capital.
As a major European travel hub, if you begin looking ahead of time and scour the internet for ticket sales, you can potentially score a sweet deal on your Parisian airfare. If you can afford to be a bit more flexible with your arrival and departure dates, you could potentially save some money as well.
Even flying a day or two earlier (or later) can make all the difference.
Some travel credit cards offer flier miles you can cash in to fly to Paris. You might also save some money by using free miles from an airline loyalty membership.
Either way, you can potentially free up a lot of money to spend on your dream Paris vacation instead.
Save money on flights by getting free cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox by using Scott’s Cheap Flights.
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Alternatively, use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Paris during any time of the year.
See Related: Best Ways to Get Cheap Flights Alert
When planning a trip to Paris, you will generally find that plane tickets are your biggest expense, followed in a close second by the price of vacation accommodations.
Paris is notorious for being one of the most expensive places to stay in the world, especially when it comes to your traditional hotels. If you try to stay at a hotel near popular attractions and activities, your budget will immediately skyrocket.
A simple way to give your wallet a break is to choose accommodations further away from the city’s center. This way you also get to experience the charming and beautiful neighborhoods surrounding Paris without missing the must-see tourist attractions you’ve been dreaming of.
You can also save money by skipping the hotel stay altogether! There are all sorts of alternatives to booking a hotel for your vacation, and some of them could cut your accommodation budget right in half.
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If you want to go all out and experience a luxurious Parisian getaway, staying in a hotel is the right choice for you. Just know that this is an expensive route, especially during heavy travel periods.
If you do choose to stay at a hotel, you will find the level of service in Paris is well worth the sometimes exorbitant prices. Paris is home to more than 2,000 hotels, including many 3-star hotels and 20 5-star hotels. If you pay more, you will more than likely have access to many more amenities and facilities.
You can also find budget hotels for as little as $70 a night, depending on where you look.
The closer your hotel is located to popular tourist attractions, the more you will have to pay.
When you want to feel at home while you’re on vacation, renting a Parisian house or apartment offers the best of both worlds.
You can save money compared to traditional hotels, enjoy lots more space, cook for yourself, and enjoy more privacy in a vacation rental property.
Sites like Airbnb make it easy to find a whole slew of best Airbnb in Paris as well as different rental properties in Paris, from small studios to grand chateaus.
If you are unfamiliar with hostels, they are low-priced accommodations for large numbers of travelers, and a staple for budget backpackers.
When you book a stay in a hostel, you usually book a bed for the night instead of an entire room.
Your hostel dorm is usually housing other travelers as well, from as few as 3 to as many as 20.
The bathrooms in hostels are laid out dormitory-style with lots of shower stalls and a long row of sinks and toilets. You share the bathrooms with your fellow travelers as well. There are usually one or two bathrooms on every floor.
Believe it or not, hostels are one of the most popular types of accommodations in Europe and they are also the cheapest by far.
If you like a lot of social interaction with other travelers and are comfortable with a more casual atmosphere, you might love staying in a hostel. You can find several cheap hostels right in the middle of Paris and most are conveniently located near public transportation.
For those interested in experiencing the nearby countryside, staying at a lodge could be the best choice for you.
If you are looking for a quieter, more peaceful place to stay outside of Paris’ bustling city center, you can opt to stay in a Parisian lodge and get more in touch with nature during your visit.
Certain lodges house visitors in a designated area of a larger property, while some lodges reserve the whole building just for you.
In Paris, lodges are often small businesses run by families, which means you will get an up-close and personal look at local Parisian life. You won’t get that experience staying at a run-of-the-mill hotel.
If you want to save money and get a feel for authentic Parisian life, you could always elect to bed down at a homestay instead of a hotel or a lodge.
A homestay refers to spending your vacation with a local family in Paris, like fostering a foreign exchange student abroad. Some homestays are indistinguishable from hotel and vacation rental accommodations, while others will be cozier and homier.
Certain homestays will include specific rules and regulations you have to follow if you choose to book one. Some might not allow guests, alcohol, or smoking.
Some homestays may even insist on a curfew for their guests.
Choosing a homestay for your trip to Paris might be outside of your comfort zone, but this unique accommodation could save you a ton of money and let you enjoy a more authentic Paris vacation.
See Related: Hotel vs Motel vs Inns: What’s the Difference?
No matter what you have planned for your trip to Paris, it’s important to note that most places in the city are accessible on foot. Paris is such a walkable city, and many of the top attractions are within walking distance of one another.
Walking around the French capital is one of the best ways to experience the City of Lights, but if you cannot walk to your destination, you will be pleased to know that public transportation is very accessible and affordable in Paris.
You have lots of different options when it comes to transportation to fit any budget big or small.
Scooters and Bicycles
Like many other large cities around the world, Paris has seen a rise in popularity among tourists using eclectic stand-up scooters to get around. Renting electric scooters to see the sights in Paris is a fun, cheap way to get around and you can organize it all from your mobile phone.
You can also find plenty of traditional bicycles to ride through the city’s large bicycle rental scheme, Vélib.
Vélib supplies over 20,000 bikes which are available to rent on a per-day or per-week basis. You can also find about 1800 24-hour pickup stations all around the city. You simply pay a deposit using a credit card and pay a flat fee to rent your bike(s).
When renting bicycles in Paris, remember that it’s safest to ride when traffic is lighter, so try to avoid renting bikes during rush hours. It’s also a great idea to study French road rules, as they are significantly different to US ones.
The Paris Metro is the quickest, cheapest way to get around Paris. It’s reliable, clean, safe, and more stylish compared to its global counterparts. The trains get you to your destination quickly and will save you a pretty penny on your transportation costs.
This underground metro system has 16 interconnected lines and also offers access to the Paris RER. The RER is a regional train transport system that spans from the center of Paris out to its surrounding neighborhoods.
The underground opens at 5:30 am and closes at 1 am from Sunday to Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, it runs until 2 am.
You can purchase either single journey tickets called T+ Tickets or weekly and monthly travel cards.
Though bus travel can be very inexpensive, remember that it can be a bit less reliable due to Paris’ high traffic rates. It will take you much longer to get to your destination when riding on Parisian buses.
If you aren’t in any rush or prefer a slower ride so you can take in all the sights, then you can save a lot of money compared to some of the other transportation options on this list.
It must be noted that the normal bus service in Paris does not typically run during the night, though you can use a night bus service if you need to.
Taxis and Ride Shares
Unlike in the States, traditional taxis are still more popular than rideshare services. Taxi passengers pay a set price per kilometer, but all of these rates are applied to all Parisian taxis.
When choosing a taxi service, remember that the price will vary based on what time you order a car, how far you are going, and how bad traffic is at that time. You will also have to pay a flat pick-up fee and a meet-up fee if you reserve the taxi ahead of time.
If you are traveling with more than four people or you show up late to meet your taxi, you could be charged additional fees.
If all this sounds too rich for your blood, in some cases you could save some money by using a rideshare service instead.
As Lyft does not operate in Europe yet, Uber is the most widely used rideshare app available in the French capital
Though you can find some cheap fares when using rideshare services, remember that the prices can skyrocket in the blink of an eye due to surge pricing.
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When you think of Paris, you cannot help but daydream about its famous food, culture, fashion, and romantic atmosphere.
When you visit Paris, you will realize that all those daydreams don’t hold a candle to the real thing.
There are endless attractions and activities you can savor during your trip to Paris, whether that means going to concerts, restaurants, shows, or anything in between.
However, this is where your budget calculations might start to swell a bit.
If you want to go shopping, try the nicest foods, and get access to the best tourist attractions you will spend significantly worse than someone who enjoys scenic strolls and sightseeing.
If you love museums, you will be delighted to know that Paris has some of the best museums in the world, but most of them charge an entry fee. If you plan on visiting paid attractions, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a Paris Museum Pass, especially if you are a first-time visitor to the city.
The most popular sightseeing opportunities in Paris are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Picasso Museum, and the Paris Science Museum.
For one adult to visit all these places would cost approximately $90.
That’s not exactly an arm and a leg, but it can get pricey when you travel in groups, making the Paris Museum Pass an attractive money saver.
See Related: Essential Budget Paris Travel Tips
Dining and Shopping
As you might imagine, Paris is a food lover’s paradise.
The city is full of many different restaurants from all over the world. They offer everything from traditional French cuisine to cutting-edge vegan eateries.
No matter what your taste buds want, Paris has all the flavors you could ever want or need.
It’s best to set aside a bit of extra money specifically for food costs because some of the expensive food around the city will surely tempt you.
Think about allocating enough money for one or two meals at more expensive restaurants so you can experience the beauty of French cooking.
Of course, if you really want to make it a tight budget trip or if you’re a solo traveler, there’s also the option of making your own meals, especially if you’re in an Airbnb or short-term rental. If you don’t want to skip on authentic French cuisine, book a cooking class!
If you cannot wait to get started with your Parisian shopping spree, you will find no shortage of places to spend your hard-earned cash.
You can cut corners on cost here by sticking to smaller boutiques and local shops instead of splurging on pricey brands name clothes.
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