Is Paris Expensive to Visit? Trip Costs And Budgets

Is Paris Expensive to Visit? Trip Costs And Budgets

Everybody loves Paris, including us. The French capital has a cultural symbol and status that not many other cities can even hold a candle to. It oozes class, cuisine, and art. And with a slightly gritty chip on its shoulder, it has a real personality that challenges and stimulates millions of visitors a year.

Whether you take a day trip to Paris or stay for a week, you’ll take astounding views of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. You’ll sample delicious cuisine and peer through the bars at the only vineyard in Paris, or check out the eerie Catacombs before sightseeing the Louvre Museum after hours. There’s so much to do and see. With that in mind, it’s no wonder you are wondering about the cost of your trip to Paris. Is Paris expensive to visit?

Costs of visiting Paris

In this guide, we’ll answer exactly that. How much you spend on your Paris vacation depends on whether your travel budget is low, mid-range, or luxury. To help you arrive prepared, we’ll give you a budget for each category. After 5 trips to Paris, I think we know what we are talking about.

Accommodation Costs in Paris

Is Paris expensive for accommodationsIs Paris expensive for accommodations

There’s no denying it; accommodation in Paris can get a little steep. And if you aren’t just taking a day trip to Paris, there’s no avoiding this major cost.

The thing is that there’s just so much novelty to be had in Paris. With landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, there’s no wonder that you have hotel rooms at $1,000s of dollars a night. But with that said, if you book far enough in advance, the French city does come into its own in the mid-range department.

The average hotel room price in Paris is around $130 a night, which is reasonable compared to the rest of Western Europe. The issue is more in Paris’ popularity; it’s a victim of its own success in the sense that modestly priced rooms sell out quickly. It is such an iconic city that it tempts people towards more expensive accommodation in the name of “landmark views.” You can see how it built up a reputation as being costly.

It’s also worth noting that hotel prices vary depending on your desired location. If you want to stay in the city center, your total accommodation cost will inevitably be higher. However, you’ll save hundreds if you’re happy to stay on the outskirts and take a “day trip” 20 minutes or so by Metro into the city center. The 14th Arrondissement, 10th Arrondissement, and 13th Arrondissement are all outskirt neighborhoods that offer more moderately priced accommodation.

Budget Accommodation

Budget accommodations in ParisBudget accommodations in Paris

The one frustrating aspect of budget travel is trying to cut costs on accommodation. There are many mid-range affordable places to stay, but—and we hate to be the bearers of bad news—there is nowhere near the amount of true budget accommodation in the city center. Accommodation is almost guaranteed to be the biggest factor in your trip to Paris.

With that said, if you’re willing to try hostels in Arrondissements further out, you could have a winner. You swap a traditional hotel room for a dormitory setup and get access to communal areas like a kitchen, reducing your spending on food since you can store and use groceries. Check out some of the following options:

Mid-Range Accommodation

Mid-range hotels are dotted all over Paris. However, these are the most popular choices, providing comfort and central locations for more modest rates. Because of this, you need to be tactical in your planning process. You want to bag the perfect accommodation, and so does everyone else. So make sure you book ahead when choosing a mid-range budget for your Paris vacation.

Here are a few examples of mid-range hotel costs in Paris:

Luxury Accommodation

Central Paris is full of luxury accommodations, many of which overlook iconic places like the Eiffel Tower or the Seine River. The expensive city center is well worth splurging on if you want to be within walking distance of major attractions when you visit Paris. And you get access to better views, facilities, and a more upscale experience overall.

Don’t get us wrong; luxury accommodation doesn’t come cheap in Paris. But it is definitely worth it for those with some wiggle room in their budget:

What About Getting There? Flying To Paris Cost

Cost of flights to ParisCost of flights to Paris

Of course, your largest budget factor will be actually getting to Paris. Depending on where you’re flying from, it could cost anywhere from $40 to $1,000, so we’ll give you a few different examples in a second. Knowing the general airfares is handy when calculating your trip to Paris cost.

You need to know that the main airport in Paris is CDG Airport (Charles de Gaulle Airport), which is a short ride on public transport from the city center. It is a large airport with direct flights all over the world. While flight prices rise in peak travel season, you can expect reliable services with some of the most competitive rates in Europe.

Here are a few of the most common round-trip fares from around the world, presuming you book in advance:

New York to Paris: $400-600
Los Angeles to Paris: $500-700
London to Paris: $100-200
Rome to Paris: $100-150
Dubai to Paris: $400-600
Sydney to Paris: $800-1,000

As you can see, flying within Europe is the cheapest option. Flying from the US costs around $400-700, depending on whether you fly from the east or west coast. The Middle East, like Dubai, has similar fares, while Oceania is by far the most expensive place to fly from, at around $1,000 for return flights.

As a quick note, though, for those traveling within Europe, hit pause for a second. Did you know that Paris has some pretty strict rules on taking short-haul flights when you have overland alternatives? Research train routes before booking short flights within mainland Europe.

Transportation Costs in Paris Once You Arrive

Cost of transportation in ParisCost of transportation in Paris

Transportation costs in Paris aren’t going to break the bank unless you take a private taxi everywhere (which, by the way, isn’t even efficient because Parisian traffic sucks). The most effective way to get around is on foot or by Metro. The Metro offers tickets at just a few euros for a single trip, so you can get around using public transportation for barely any money. Metro stations, including Charles De Gaulle Airport connections, are all over the city.

Paris has straggling suburbs, but its main tourist area is super compact. You are never more than a 20-minute Metro ride from other attractions, and really, you can walk everywhere if you stay centrally.

If you’re planning a day trip, like heading to the Palace of Versailles, you may use other forms of public transportation. Paris has a great bus and train network connecting it to other cities and attractions. Car rentals are also possible, but not for the faint of heart, as Paris is notoriously chaotic for driving. If you don’t believe us, just Google a picture of the Arc de Triomphe roundabout.

In this section, we’ll break down the costs per transport type, giving you a final summary of a suggested transportation budget for each travel style.


Is the Paris Metro ExpensiveIs the Paris Metro Expensive

The Metro is the best way to get around Paris, costing only 2.10 euros for a single ticket. There are Metro stations all around the city, and it’s a realistic way to complete your ideal Paris itinerary. With more than 380 stations, you’ve got so many options. The Metro stays open until just before 1 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Getting tickets is super simple; ticket machines at every station take cards or cash. Alternatively, you can book multi-day tickets for unlimited travel. These machines and Metro carts are always crowded in tourist areas. Still, the effect of safety in numbers is great for deterring crime. Just be wary of your pockets, especially during peak hours.

The Metro is an excellent form of public transportation that can be used to save money.


People walking in the platforms of the Gare du Nord station in ParisPeople walking in the platforms of the Gare du Nord station in Paris

Gare du Nord is Paris’s rail hub. While trains are not used to get around the city itself, they can be used to make the most of public transport to other nearby big cities. From Paris, you can catch the train to Lilles, London, and even cities like Rome. You can also take day trips to places around North France.

All tickets are available to buy at Gare du Nord’s machines, and it’s a great way to avoid car rentals (more information below). It’s a sustainable and cost-effective way to utilize public transportation for a perfect trip to Paris, including day trips.

Car Rental

Okay, a word on car rentals. For most of you, renting a car is an absolutely awful idea. Why? Because traffic is appalling in Paris, the roads are stressful, and public transportation is faster and cheaper.

Now, we realize that sounds strongly worded. So, what’s the exemption to the rule? A rental car could be helpful if you’re a very confident driver, used to tackling European cities, and are planning multiple-day trip adventures. Or if you’re planning on road-tripping through Europe after visiting Paris. If that doesn’t apply to you, hop straight on to find out what to budget for Paris trains and Metro services.

Budget Travel Style: $5-10

We’d allocate a total cost of $5-10 a day to public transportation a day if you’re experiencing Paris on a budget. This will allow you to factor in staying in further-away neighborhoods.

Mid-Range Travel Style: $5

Ironically, we’d actually factor in $5 to travel to Paris via public transportation when traveling mid-range style. You are more likely to be staying central, meaning you can walk easily to major attractions.

Luxury Travel Style: $5-20

Factor in less than $5 to get around with a luxury travel style in Paris since you’ll be walking most places with a central hotel location. As a slight twist, though, we’d suggest allowing a few Ubers or taxis here and there ($20-30 per spend). You might want that extra luxury if heading back from dinner late or it gets rainy.

Food Prices in Paris

Cost of food in ParisCost of food in Paris

It makes sense that you’ll have a large food budget when visiting Paris. It is a hub of world-renowned cuisine (we love French food) and is literally known for this. Whether you’re getting brave with snails or biting down on colorful macaroons, you’ll love the food in Paris. So how much food and drink should be allocated from your main budget?

In short, it is person-dependent, so we’re tackling this from a three-travel type angle. Even if you just take a day trip to Paris, sampling the delicious cuisine will be a priority. It’s safe to say that there are a few places to try lovely food. In this section, we’ll give you the rundown on budgeting for food in this beautiful city.

Budget Food: Less than $20 a day

For the sake of this section, we’ll assume that you are staying somewhere with self-catered accommodation. This means you’ll be relying primarily on groceries and home cooking. That should allow you to stick to a budget of $20 daily, with a little flexibility here and there.

Mid-Range Food: Around $45 a day

When calculating a mid-range trip to Paris cost, food should be around $45. This assumes that you have breakfast included at your hotel and will be eating out for a casual lunch and dinner for approximately $20 per sit-down meal.

Luxury Food: Upwards of $100 a day

A luxury food budget gets its additional cost from the class of restaurant, incorporating a fine dining-type for dinner. This could include a prix fixe menu or just a la carte. $100 will be sufficient if you have breakfast included in your hotel reservation. You can then go for a casual lunch for around $20 and a fancy dinner for about $80.

Cost of Activities in Paris

Cost of activities for a trip to ParisCost of activities for a trip to Paris

If you’re planning a trip to Paris, chances are you’ve already got a list of the iconic landmarks and exciting museums you want to see. The Mona Lisa, Notre Dame Cathedral, Seine River, Louvre Pyramid, and Eiffel Tower are all located in central Paris. So it’s no surprise that visitors allocate a large budget for sightseeing.

There are Paris-based activities to suit all budgets, and there are just so many museums. For those on a budget, you can enjoy free activities, including hidden gems like beautiful parks, or just sightseeing Gothic architecture from landmark exteriors rather than paying to go inside. Those on a mid-range budget can factor in things like a Seine River cruise when they visit Paris. While those on a luxury budget have things like cabaret performances, elaborate tasting experiences, and skip-the-line museum tickets.

When it comes to cost, even a standard three-day Paris itinerary it varies massively depending on the individual. That’s why we’re going to split things into our favorite three sections: budget, mid-range, and luxury.

Budget Activities: Free

You could easily lower your trip to Paris cost by picking free activities and admiring landmarks from the ground. If you are happy to explore on foot rather than by sightseeing cruise and sacrifice things like climbing the Eiffel Tower to admire it from Place du Trocadero, you could even budget nothing per day. It could be totally free.

Here are a few great activities:

Walking Tuileries and getting free entry into the Louvre Museum on the first Sunday of the month.
Admiring the Eiffel Tower from Place du Trocadero.
Visiting Petit Palais and other city museums

Mid-Range Activities: $50 a Day

Whether you visit Paris on a day trip or stay for a week, chances are you have a list of some non-negotiable attractions. For instance, visiting Versailles, seeing the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo at the Louvre, scaling the Eiffel Tower, or taking a sightseeing cruise.

All of these entrance fees cost around $25-40, so it would be feasible to budget around $50 a day for sightseeing on a mid-range budget. This allows you to incorporate a few free things to do and paid attractions and activities, too.

Luxury Activities: $150 a Day

As you can probably guess, Paris has some crazily luxurious activities. You could book a champagne cruise, a Moulin Rouge show, and skip-the-line queues to the main museums. This is about going above and beyond the standard sights and investing in indulgent experiences.

Each of these more indulgent experiences costs a minimum of around $100. So, if you want one a day, we’d suggest budgeting around $150 to $200. This will allow for one extra-luxurious activity and a couple of mid-range activities.

Total Cost: What To Budget for a Weekend in Paris

Budget for a weekend in ParisBudget for a weekend in Paris

You’ve sat tight and figured out which budget section works for you in each category. You know which budget you need for accommodation, food, activities, and transport. The real question now is, how does each budget type add up? What’s the overall cost of a weekend in Paris for someone on a tight budget, a mid-range budget, or a luxury budget?

We’ve got a final summary of what to budget for a weekend in Paris.

Paris Weekend BudgetParis Weekend Budget

Budget: Weekend in Paris

Not including flights, we’d budget around $65-80 daily for a budget weekend in Paris. The breakdown of this trip to Paris cost is as follows:

Hostel accommodation for $35 a day
Public transportation for $10 a day
Food (cooked from groceries in a shared kitchen) for $20 a day
An optional $15 a day on activities

Mid-Range: Weekend in Paris

Not including flights, we’d budget around $320-50 daily for a mid-range weekend in Paris. The breakdown of this trip to Paris cost is as follows:

Hotel accommodation for $220 a day
Public transportation for $5 a day
Food for $45 a day (breakfast included at hotel and sit-down casual lunch and dinner)
$50 a day on activities, like river cruises and climbing the Eiffel Tower

Luxury: Weekend in Paris

Not including flights, we’d budget around $800 a day for a luxurious weekend in Paris. Here’s our breakdown of this trip to Paris cost:

Hotel accommodation for $500 a day
Public transport or taxi for $5-20 a day
Food for $100 a day (breakfast included at the hotel, a casual lunch, and a fancy dinner)
$150-200 for activities, including luxury experiences like the Moulin Rouge

Top 5 Ways To Save Money in Paris

Money saving tips for ParisMoney saving tips for Paris

Of course, just because these are the average costs of a trip to Paris doesn’t mean you have to accept them as the given. There’s so much you can do to reduce your trip’s cost. It just depends on how much research you want to do beforehand.

For those of you who are in a rush and need quick, efficient information, we’ve got you covered. We’ve whittled down all of our favorite money-saving tips to just five ways to save money in Paris. You’ll notice some serious reductions in costs just from these handful of important ideas. Here are some rough ideas for you.

1. Eat Outside and Dodge the Sitting Fees

Did you know that Paris restaurants often charge a surplus for sitting down inside? It is like the coperto system in Italy. However, instead of having an entire name and category for it, you’ll just notice a sneaky cover charge or service fee added to your bill.

The best way to avoid this is to sit outside or stand at bars for alcoholic drinks and coffee. Check the menu for any mention of sitting fees or service charges, and even better, find takeaway lunches and drinks.

2. Remember City Museums Are Free

Money saving tips for Paris MuseumsMoney saving tips for Paris Museums

Another exciting fact about saving money in Paris is that the city museums are free. A great way to reduce your trip to Paris cost is with free attractions and activities. And while these city museums are less well known than some of the big superstars in Paris (think the Louvre), they are fascinating and come with fewer crowds, so it’s a win.

Petit Palais
Maison de Balzac
Musée Carnavalet
Museum of Modern Art
Victor Hugo Mansion

If you want to visit famous museums like the Louvre, just visit outside of hours or on their designated “free days.” Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre both run discounted after-hours openings. You can also visit both for free on the first Sunday of each month.

By the way, are you an EU citizen under 26 years old? If so, you’ve got free access to tons of museums anyway. Just check them out here.

Paris museums are fantastic value for money once you do some research. The reason most people find them so expensive is because they don’t realize how to get the good deals.

3. Create Your Own Walking Tour

Paris Walking TourParis Walking Tour

Everyone knows that exploring cities on foot is cheaper. One fantastic way to reduce the cost of your trip to Paris is by creating your own walking tour. With some research beforehand, you can create a loop around the best iconic landmarks in Paris. For instance, you could walk from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Louvre Pyramid, through the Garden of Tuileries, to the terrace overlooking the Tour Eiffel.

You can pick your own route, depending on your fitness level and interests. Do some research or screenshot some information about each stop beforehand so that you can read the information as you stand in front of it. It’s a fun way to be independent and stick to a budget in Paris while still learning. It’s also a compact city, so you won’t struggle.

4. Be Tactical With Accommodation

Accommodation is one place where you can save serious money. We recommend that you get tactical with your accommodation, such as choosing a self-catered option or a walkable location.

A good tactic is to go for a hotel that includes breakfast. If you can wangle breakfast included, then you’ll be able to approach your days with more flexibility. It’s always harder to save money when the first thing on your mind is, “Where on Earth shall we get breakfast.” This way, you can grab a quick takeaway lunch while sightseeing – giving you more time to find the best deal, not the closest solution. A hungry stomach can really blind you to budget (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us).

5. Buy a Paris Pass

Using the Paris Pass in Paris FranceUsing the Paris Pass in Paris France

A Paris Pass is a super savvy way to save money while visiting. This digital pass is downloaded onto your mobile, and you can use it to access over 85 attractions for free across Paris, including the Louvre. There are even cheese and wine tasting experiences included. Two-day passes start at around $150 per person, so see how much you’d be spending and weigh up whether it’s a good option for you.

If you aren’t under 26 years old and an EU citizen, it’s a good choice. However, you don’t get free museum entry, and that can quickly rack up. A Paris Pass is an excellent option for those who don’t fit that category.

Do you feel even more inspired to save money in Paris? Not to worry, we’ve got an entire guide on ways that we save money while visiting Paris. It’s kind of “our thing”, so head over there for some extra tips and tricks.

*Planning for the Paris Olympics*

Cost of a trip to Paris during the 2024 OlympicsCost of a trip to Paris during the 2024 Olympics

The Paris Olympics are ever-looming. The Olympics are running from the 26th of July 2024 to the 11th of August 2024, with millions of tickets on sale. The whole city will be on manic action for the duration of the sporting celebrations and festivities, with many of the major landmarks closed or booked out.

If you plan to visit the Olympics, you must be savvy. There could still be time to book hotels, tickets, and attractions, but you’ll need to be quick.

Paris sells out at the best of times, so if you travel during the Paris Olympics, you’ll face fierce competition for literally everything.

Our advice? Don’t travel during the Paris Olympics if you want a normal Paris experience and aren’t interested in sports. The pay-off just isn’t worth it, and you’ll spend so much more money than you usually would. You don’t want to be forced into more expensive hotels just out of necessity, and you certainly don’t want to miss out on sightseeing.

Either book in advance and stay extra savvy. Or pick alternative dates to travel, as a trip to Paris cost will easily triple during this period.

Visiting Paris Cost: FAQs

A man taking a trip to Paris.A man taking a trip to Paris.

Are you feeling more informed about your trip to Paris cost? If you’re anything like us, knowing what you can expect for your money is handy guidance.

How much does a meal cost in Paris?

A sit-down meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $20 per person in Paris. However, you can keep this under $10 if you stick to water, takeaway paninis, etc. On the flip side, a fancy three-course meal for two people will cost a minimum of around $80, so prepare a hefty budget if you like fine dining.

Is Paris more expensive than New York?

Paris is slightly cheaper than New York, which has more expensive accommodation and tipping demands.

Is Paris expensive to eat and drink?

Paris can be expensive to eat and drink if you choose tourist trap spots and sit-down meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re savvy, bagging includes breakfast at your hotel and grocery lunches, so you won’t find Paris as expensive for food and drink.

Is Paris more expensive than London?

Paris is on a par with London. It has similarly expensive accommodation, with a few options to cut prices by staying outside the main touristy areas. The same goes for food and drink. Both cities offer a balance of free and paid activities as well.

So, Is Paris Expensive?

Based on our experience, Paris can be an expensive city, especially when compared to other European cities. And why shouldn’t it be? You’re visiting one of the most beautiful and intense cultural environments in the world, so you should be able to quickly rack up a huge budget. Whether you book round-trip flights to Paris from the US in peak season or splurge on front-row Crazy Horse tickets or a luxury room overlooking a landmark, Paris can get expensive.

A river cruise past the Eiffel Tower.A river cruise past the Eiffel Tower.

However, where people go wrong is thinking that there’s no flexibility. Just as Paris is an easy place to spend money, it’s also an easy place to save money.

Knowing what to expect from each budget category (budget, mid-range, and luxury) is half the battle. A little research goes a long way to calculating a trip to Paris cost that works for you. And with our tips and tricks to save money, you can make your dollars go a long way. We hope you have an amazing time visiting Paris – whatever your budget.

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