How Much Does a Trip to Paris Cost?

IMG_2419Updated January, 2014

The first thing people ask me is, How much does a trip to Paris cost? Here’s my breakdown of what you may be spending on your dream trip to the City of Light.

Plane Tickets: Mid January to March tends to be the cheapest time to fly to Paris.  Summer and Fall are the most expensive!

First Class/Business Class: Roundtrip tickets can run anywhere from $3,700 to $9,000 for business class and up to $15,000 for first class depending upon how far in advance you purchase the tickets and if you are flying direct or with stops.

Economy: Flights from the U.S. can range between $750-$1350 depending upon your city of departure, how many stops you are willing to put up with.

Priscilla’s Tips: If you have enough frequent flyer miles, purchase an economy ticket and use miles to upgrade to Business Class or First Class. Search websites for the least expensive flights that fit your itinerary and then call the airlines or go online and book directly with the airline. This way you may get bonus miles for booking directly with the airline. Play with the day of the week to save money. Saturday night stays help bring the cost down. Sign up for fare watching websites and be ready to jump when you find a good deal.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailHotels

Luxury Hotels like The Four Seasons range from approximately $1,300 in the off season in January to $1,700 in September for the starting point for the least expensive room for two. An American breakfast will run you around $60 and a cup of coffee is $14.

Four Star Hotels like the Hotel Au Manoir range from approximately $275 in January to $450 in September for the starting ranges for a room for two people. The buffet breakfast is included in some packages, and when not, it can be as much as $20-30 per person extra.

Three Star Hotels like the Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain des Prés range from approximately $170 in January to $360 per night per person in September. Breakfast is not included at these prices; a-la-carte will run you $20-30 per person extra.

Priscilla’s Tips: Make sure you book a rate that includes breakfast. Many hotels offer a discount for three or more nights stays. Most offer better rates for booking online early, but you won’t be able to cancel the reservation without losing all or most of your deposit. Consider the cost of WiFi and make sure you check that your hotel booking includes it in their price. If not, contact the hotel directly to see if they will include it in your price. When traveling with friends, ask for connecting rooms or suites with twin beds. You can save loads of money by sharing a room and splitting the cost. Many hotels have “family” rooms with the option for rollaways for small children.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailExcursions 

Musuems: You can see so much of what is great about Paris for free if you take advantage of free museum days - The Louvre is free the first Sunday of each month and July 14th.

Outside Paris: All day excursions can be pricey, but well worth it.  There are many great day trips outside of Paris. When you book a guide from Paris to travel with you, it will always cost you more money than purchasing your own train tickets and booking a tour directly in the city you are visiting.

Unique Activities: Great wine and cheese tasting lunch at Ô Chateau in Paris is $100 per person.  There is more than enough food and you will not feel like eating dinner afterwards I think.  I feel if you are doing something new in place that cannot be duplicated at home then it’s usually worth the splurge.  Price shop for the Seine River Cruises.  They vary quite a bit depending upon what you want out of the trip down the most famous river in the world. Bateaux-Mouches have day tours for as little as 12€ and evening tours with wine from 32-188€ per person.  If you are a museum and excursion junkie, purchase a Paris Pass which has one set fee (around $125) for entry to almost every museum in Paris.  It may also include bus and boat rides as well and wine tasting.   Read the disclaimers well and make sure that you will indeed have time to visit enough places to make it worth you while before purchase.

IMG_0027Food and Beverage 

Breakfast: If you stay at a hotel with free breakfast you are all set, but if not, there are many places to pick up a croissant and cup of coffee without breaking the bank like Café Conti. Plan on at least $10-15 per person each morning. There are Starbucks everywhere now. A cup of coffee can cost you $8-10 so no bargains there.

Lunch:  For a lovely quick meal with great people watching there are of course the famous cafés like Café de Flore and Café des Deux Magots which will cost you around $22-$25 per person without wine.  For a less expensive option, visit the local sandwich shop to get one to go and have a picnic at your favorite park nearby. Pizza is always a great option and I love it at Del Papa.

Dinner: Luxury dining spots that should be on everyone’s bucket list include the charming Laurent (eat outdoors in good weather in their amazing gardens) and the breathtaking La Tour D’Argent.  These two options are not for the faint of heart – the price cost of luxury dining will run you $150-$350 or more per person including a decent bottle of wine. Bistros and Brasseries like Le Procope and my absolute favorite L’Epi Dupin will run you anywhere from $25-100 per person.

Priscilla’s Tips: Book your tables early! In general, the more expensive the restaurant, the more in advance you should book. Have back up ideas for places to dine in case your request cannot be accommodated. Many restaurants offer a prix fixe three course dinner menu that usually offer local French specialties at reasonable prices. Some restaurants even have “early bird” specials which come in handy for Americans on the first night of arrival when you are tired early.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailTransportation 

Taxis are $80+ one way to/from plus tip from Charles de Gaulle.  There are trains from the airport into Paris proper where you then switch to the bustling Métro to your local destination. Take the Métro or a bus an efficient and inexpensive way to get around the city.

Priscilla’s Tips: Use your smartphone app to book rides in advance or at the spur of the moment with the new car service called Snap Car Paris. Load the app onto your phone before you leave the states and voilà, you will be ready to travel around the city by car in just a touch of a button. If you are taking the Métro, use the offline app Kemtro for help on negotiating your way around Paris.

Delvaux handbagShopping Tips

The soldes (clothing sales) are amazing in Paris.  I try to travel either mid to late January or mid to late September to take advantage of the incredible prices.  Everything is 20-80% off, but items go fast so don’t hesitate.  He who hesitates, loses!  See my list of favorite shops which will let you know small boutiques where you will find the latest fashions for less.  If you shop at high-end places like Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton bring your passport to save money by filling out the forms to receive the Value Added Tax back (VAT) in cash or back on your credit card. If you do, you also much get your form stamped by Customs at the Paris airport and mail it from there before you check your luggage. The Customs Officials in Paris may ask to see the items you purchased so make sure you DO NOT check your bags until getting the form stamped. Arrive at the airport extra early to allow for this procedure.

Of note: I am using a conversion rate of 1Euro = 1.42 US Dollars for this article. Obviously exchange rates change daily and from year to year as do what credit cards charge for their rates. Hotel and airlines change their rates daily. The prices I use are approximates only.

All photos property of Weekend In Paris unless otherwise noted. Must obtain permission before use.

11 comments on “How Much Does a Trip to Paris Cost?

  1. stacey

    Hi Priscilla –

    My fiance and I would love to go to Paris in May for a honeymoon. We will be staying in an apartment/studio/flat and are trying to keep costs down. Any specific tips to keep costs down? We want to order tickets soon or decide on another destination if we cannot realistically afford it.

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Dear Stacey,

      Tips to keep costs down include some big things and small ones: Use an airline search company ( like Travel Zoo) to find the best deals for flying to Paris. You may have to go through a stop or two that are out of the way, but it will be worth it to save money to spend in Paris. Rent an apartment and pick up groceries for breakfast and lunches at local grocery stores like Monoprix to save money. Bring some Starbuck’s VIA coffee sleeves with you to mix with hot water to skip the expensive coffee in the morning or afternoons. Stop at 38 Ile Saint-Louis to get some picnic fixings for picnic dinner fixings and wine to go! Plan to go to the museums on the free days and remember that all the parks are free and contain some of the most beautiful art pieces in Paris. Get a Métro pass to save money on transportation.

      The bottom line, is you can do Paris on a budget and enjoy the city if you plan ahead and are flexible!

      Good luck and keep me posted!

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  2. Robyn

    Hi. I’m planning to go to Europe with a tour group. It will be my first time in Europe (unless you count stop overs at Frankfurt and Heathrow airports, which I do not) thus the group decision. However, we will be in Paris for 2 days. How much Parisian experience can I squeeze in those 2 days that also will not brake the bank?

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Robyn!

      I used to go for a long weekend from the US to Paris so let me tell you, a lot can be seen and done in Paris in 48 hours! A good idea, if this is your first visit, is to take an “overview” tour – either by water or by tour bus. If you prefer a walking tour, make sure you check out Context Travel’s tours which will give you a great feel for the city while learning where the great dining and shopping spots are near you. Make sure you check out my dining section on the blog for places to eat that are reasonable.

      Figure out which museums are on your priority lists and then check out what is the most expeditious route to get to them so you don’t waste time. You can easily save money by seeing which days are free at the museums and also if it is nice out, grab a picnic and eat in Luxembourg Gardens. There are many inexpensive creperies around and it is also cheap to roam around the city by Métro.

      What part of the city are you staying in? Hopefully you are not too far out of town so you won’t waste time on traveling. You cannot see it all or do it all, so just accept that and enjoy your precious little time in the City of Light. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Cheers,
      Priscilla

    2. tenille

      HI Robyn, I am a budget travel alot myself. things i saw that didnt break the bank :
      Eiffel : 14/pp if you want to go to the top, and even less if you want to go halfway.
      The museums are relatively cheap .. Louvre was about $15, but the museum is so huge, it will take you hours to go through it, depending on your interest level
      Luxembourg gardens, is beautiful.
      Arc Triumph is free to go through the tunnel and take pic, but to go inside, i think the fee was about $10
      Sienne boat was 13/pp, and its a 1 hour tour.
      Montparnasse observatory is inexpenisive, but we didnt have time to see that definitely travel by train if possible. download the ratp app for android/iphone, it helped us out alot with the subway.
      You can always sight see as well for free!

      I always plan ahead by doing alot of searches and review reads! It helps when on a budget

      These are just a few ideas i hope these help you.

  3. Topanga

    I’m saving up for a trip to Paris so I can go when I graduate high school. Which is really soon. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris since I was little. I’ve been saving up since my freshman year. How much all together do you think I would need to go? Like everything all together? Hotel, food, souvenirs, etc.

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Dear Topanga,

      How neat that you are saving up for a trip to Paris! What are you doing to save? It’s worth every penny, so save as much as you can. It’s so terribly expensive! Are you going alone? That makes a huge difference as to your hotel price or you could stay at a hostel and save quite a bit of money. I think for your first trip it would be nicer if you went with one of your friends so you can have a friend to enjoy the city with and to stay safely in a foreign city.
      It’s difficult for me to know how much money you will need because I don’t know what you will be doing or your accommodations. One area I can tell you where you can save tons of money if you like coffee is to bring Starbuck’s Via coffees with you. That way you can ask for hot water at your hotel or hostel which will be free and mix your own coffee. You can also stop in a Monoprix or other grocery store to get snacks, bottled water in bulk and items to make lunches with to save on dining out.
      Take advantage of free museum days and also if you will be in the city for a week, buy a Métro card and ride as much as you like on the buses and trains.
      Good luck and stay in touch; I want to know if you make your goal and what your plans are when the big day comes for you to book your ticket. Speaking of which, make sure you are using a fare tracker online now to give you alerts when the fares go down. Leah Travels just got a fare from TX to Paris for less than $400 going through Mexico. It will take her longer, but she got a good deal by using a service which alerted her to the deal.
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  4. Adam stewart

    Paris is one of the most visited city in the world, with it’s romantic ambiance and magical environment its always been special for people who visit Paris. Being the largest city in France, expecting Paris to be cheaper is like a joke. City of lights has some lavish hotels and biggest shopping hubs in the world. But with proper planning and knowledge you can make you Paris trip under budget. Instead of hotels you can choose rental apartments to make your budget in control, there are many type of apartments available in Paris. You can choose apartments which suits your standard.

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Adam,
      In fact, this January I will be staying in an apartment in Paris so I will be writing a whole feature on that aspect come the new year!
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

  5. larry

    Can you give me the total of the most expensive for me and my fiancée?

    1. Weekend In Paris

      Hi Larry!
      The most expensive hotel or restaurant? I am not sure which you were asking me about. I am happy to answer for you. :)
      Cheers,
      Priscilla

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