A lot of friends and readers ask me almost every day: How much does it really cost to travel in Paris? Can you recommend a budget plan? What if I told you that €100 or ₱5,000 is enough to enjoy Paris? Here you go!
Paris is a dream.
Let’s face it, most Filipinos biggest excuse avoiding trips they desire is that they simply expensive. Frequent travel around the world is a luxury of the rich, in their minds. For me, it is so not true. You do not need to be rich to travel the world. I was able to backpack throughout Europe on a shoestring budget and come back without being broke.
What if I told you that you can definitely follow your dream to see the city of lights without breaking your bank?
Paris, one of the most beautiful cities on earth, the most visited place, the most romantic destination, and everything about it is just so amazing. Its timeless beauty and world-class scenery is all what we dreamed of to visit. But the France capital city isn’t cheap, it is notoriously pricey.
It was April 2015 when I was celebrating my 27th birthday drinking wine under the white lights of the Eiffel Tower. It was a dream come true and something I can be proud of. The amount of money I spent for that trip is more than enough of my expectation. Surprisingly. Well, each traveler spends on a trip will vary from person to person. You have to consider a lot of planning and reading travel guides on how you can save for your trip. Ask yourself, how much money can I spend? Or how much money will I spend? Once you’ve chosen a budget, think on how you’re going to save money and calculate exactly how much you need (weekly, monthly). There is nothing wrong being frugal, if you really wanted to save that dream trip then cut down all unnecessary expenses. Don’t forget to include extra spending cash for souvenirs.
Maybe by know you can’t wait to know how I made it. Simple, know the best and practical way, choose what you are willing to spend money, and what you can do without. For example, I chose bed and breakfast accommodation instead of a fancy hotel. I spent money on delicious local baguettes and croissants from the bakeshop instead of eating out in a luxury restaurant. I used public transportation instead of over-priced taxis. And a lot more.
To help you plan your next trip cheaper and better, I have made a budget plan for a 3-day stay and a good choice for accommodation, transportation, attractions, food & drinks and miscellaneous. Note that the following doesn’t include visa application fees and plane ticket to and from Paris.
Ok, let’s break it down.
Again be smart and practical in choosing accommodation. If price isn’t everything to you, then there will be mid-range hotels, even 3 star hotels, well under €100/night available somewhere, 5-star ranges €200-€500/night. If splendid luxury hotels are not your type then pleasant budget hotels are scattered through all the best areas. The cheapest accommodation available in Paris, is the Hostel (at least if you are under 35). Paris hotels price ranges €20-€30/night for a dormitory bed.
The advantage of choosing dorm-type accommodation is that you will be able to meet like-minded travelers. I stayed at Young & Happy Hostel which I found fairly cheap in Booking.com for €58 (3 days) with breakfast. I had a great stay. The location is very accessible to the metro and it is nearby bars and restaurants. The staff is just so friendly and gay. I would definitely recommend this hostel.
Want free accommodation? Then you should consider Couchsurfing. Parisians are willing to open their humble homes to complete strangers for nothing in return but the opportunity to share their experience. Bonus is that they will cook for you, show you around the city and experience local living if you are lucky enough to find a host. I would recommend you to request ahead of time and have a good profile.
Stick to public transportation on your trip and you’ll save a pile of cash you can use on something way more fun.
- Walking – Free
Getting around Paris is very easy, make sure you have your map or GPS with you. It is the perfect place for walking whether you’re hoofing it from point A to point B or strolling aimlessly along the Seine or in Champs Elysées. Reminiscing my trip, it was probably the most interesting walk-about city I have ever visited.
- Metro – €19 (€9.50 x 2 to/from airport) + €13.70 (getting around the city)
Paris’ extensive Metro system is an affordable means of transport within the city. Single tickets for the Metro are known as “Ticket t+”, which cost 1,80€. These tickets are also sold in bulk. Save more by buying book of 10, called a “carnet” is sold at a discounted price for 13,70€. I’m pretty sure 10 rides are more than enough for the duration of stay as most of the attractions are just walking distance. You don’t worry much about the payment as these ticket vending machines accept Euro coins, cash notes or credit cards. From Charles de Gaulle Airport, metro is a smart choice. It will take you 25-50 minutes (depending on your destination and whether or not you get an express train), and costs €9.50
- Bus and Coach – €12 (€6 x 2 to/from airport) €32.00 (getting around the city)
Discover sights of France’s Capital from the top deck ofan open-top double-decker bus. This is the very cool way to and no hassle. You will be able to see all the main sights you have the freedom to choose your itinerary. Prices range from €32.00 (1 day) and €36.00 (2 days) for adults and €16.00 for children. Fare to and from the airport taking a bus ride ranges between €6- 20€ and will take 60 mins to 90mins depending on the traffic. The shuttle buses, circulating every 4-5 minutes, can be found just outside the arrivals area of the airport.
- Taxi – €100 (€50 x 2 – to/from airport) + €100 (getting around the city)
Taxi rides can sap the typical daily backpacker budget. While many people do take taxis going around the city, for me it is not worth it. A minimum fare of €6.4 for first 3.3km plus €1.21 per km will be charge for a ride. Even getting a taxi to and from the airport is not practical. It will cost you dearly (around €50-70, plus tip and luggage surcharge) per ride from and to Charles De Gaulle Airport and take about an hour, depending on the traffic.
Food & Drinks
If you are a foody like me, Paris will be in pure heaven with its mouth-watering restaurants and to-die-for patisseries. It is also known for its baguettes, cheese and saucy French dish.
- Breakfast – FREE (3 Days)
Are you staying in a hostel? Take advantage of the free breakfast to save money. Filipinos love breakfast and they eat like a hippo, this is also a technique to save your lunch. If it is not included, stop by a local city’s bakeries (boulangeries and patisseries) and eat like a Parisian. Enjoy a fresh croissant or baguette, French butter and jam for breakfast. Price will be €4 with a tasty cafe au lait.
- Lunch – €12 (3 Days)
One of the best meal deals in Paris is the three-course fixed price lunch menu for €15. If you want to skip set menu, buy a crepe from a street vendor for 4€ and pick-up soda at a grocery store €1. McDonald’s is also a good choice at €6/meal but I won’t recommend it (if you know what I mean).
- Dinner – €24 (3 Days)
Come on! You are in Paris, for sure you don’t want to miss dinner in a highly rated and expensive restaurants in the world (for once). Prepare a budget between €40-€60/person for a three course meal in a fine dining establishment. Add €15 for a glass of French champagne. If you don’t want eat on touristy streets like the Champs-Elysées, have a picnic under Eiffel Tower for €8 includes wine.
- Drinks – FREE
Tap water is perfectly potable in Paris. There are more than 800 drinking water fountains located throughout the city where you can easily fill up your water bottle for free. If you are in a restaurant, it is illegal if they refuse your request of water. For cheap beer and even cheaper French wine, you can buy in any super market for like €2.
Being said that, remember that you can always head to the grocery store for basics and have the freedom to select what you want to eat.
The best way to explore the city’s attraction is on foot. Joining free walking tour is a good idea. This guided tour will bring the scenes that you have been dreaming about to life, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Cathédrale de Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. I would suggest you to join the group which meets daily at 11:00am and 1:00pm in front of the fountain at Place Saint-Michel. It is 3.5 hours continuous fun walk led by a knowledgeable and experienced local guide. Note that tip of at least €5 is encouraged.
If you missed the guided tour, you can always go by yourself. All the gorgeous architecture and monuments can be appreciated for free from the sidewalk. Some famous landmarks and museums that we admired are impressive enough from the outside rather than paying the entrance fees. Cathédrale de Notre Dame is free but if you are visiting the bell towers, the admission is is €8.50 and be ready to walk up 387 steps. The famous glass pyramid of Musée du Louvre is astonishing and a selfie material. This famous museum has a fee of €12 for adults if you want to see Monalisa and other century-old artifacts. Arc de Triomphe is already gorgeous from the outside and if you are curious what inside then a charge of €9 will be collected. No trip to Paris without visiting parks and gardens which are also worth visiting and always free such as Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc du Champs-de-Mars and Jardins du Palais Royal. So you might have heard about our famous “love-locking” bridges, well it is really romantic to pass by even if you are travelling alone.
Finally, the highlight of your trip for sure is to behold the timeless beauty of the Eiffel Tower or Le Tour de Eiffel in French word. You’ve never been to Paris if you don’t take a selfie with the giant iron tower. Count yourself as lucky if you experience getting to the summit. The elevator takes you to the sky and goes up diagonally on an angle same as the legs. For just €9 fee (second floor) or €12 (peak) you will enjoy the 360° view of the entire city.
Although you are not oblige to bring souvenirs for friends back home but if you have extra budget you opt to get the miniature Eiffel Tower for €1. “I love Paris” t-shirts can be bought for less €10 if you haggle. A city tumbler from Starbucks which I used to collect every place I go is a good idea also for €12. Ofcourse, you have all the choice to go gaga in the fashion capital of the world if you aren’t thinking of the budget.
Maybe by know you can’t believe how I made it. Simple, know the best and practical way, choose what you are willing to spend money, and what you can do without. For example, I chose bed and breakfast accommodation instead of a fancy hotel. I spent money on delicious local baguettes and croissants from the bakeshop instead of eating out in a luxury restaurant. I used public transportation instead of over-priced taxis. And a lot more.
here’s the summary: €98.70 so that’s around 5,000 in Philippine Peso