Who hasn’t dreamed of one day traveling to France? The country is renowned for its sparkling Mediterranean beaches, stormy Atlantic coastlines, stunning architecture, and wildflower-covered country meadows.
Plus, the country is endowed with a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. The Lascaux cave paintings are 17,000 years old, while Roman ruins stretch back 2,500 years.
Construction began on Notre Dame in 1163. France’s more recent cultural contributions include the works of painters such as Degas, Monet, and Manet. Today, you can view all of these and more, making it hard to imagine a nation more storied than France.
That’s certainly reflected in its financials. “France has been the world’s leading tourist destination for more than 30 years.
In 2019, 90 million international tourists visited France to discover our rich natural and architectural heritage and to enjoy our world-renowned hospitality and way of life,” France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains.
They’re not kidding when they say it’s a way of life. “In France, tourism accounts for 8% of GDP,” the Ministry adds. “This is thanks to the millions of people, passionate about their jobs and their country, who uphold its excellent reputation day after day.”
In other words, the French really want you to come see their beautiful country and spend your money there! The good news is, France doesn’t have to be the sticker-shockiest vacation you’ll take.
By taking the right steps – and avoiding the wrong ones – you can experience the trip of a lifetime without going into serious debt. Let us show you how.
Average Trip to France Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to France for two people in 2023 will cost around $5,000:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $125 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,000
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $400
- Total Cost: $5,000
Overall, France is highly affordable if you know how to do it right. Plan to spend a lot on airfare, but once inside the country, there are many ways to travel on a budget.
Below, we’ll take a look at accommodations, flights, food and drink, activities, and transportation. Once you’re finished reading, you’ll have all the information you need for a cost-effective and wonderful vacay.
France Trip Cost: Average by Item
While France has a reputation for being très cher, it’s a more affordable adventure than many folks realize. If you break up your costs, spend some time price shopping, and live daily on the cheap, you can enjoy yourself in 5-star style on 3-star costs.
Lodging in France is actually pretty reasonable. You can get by in Paris on $100 a night – more like $150 or $200 if you’re looking for true luxury. Other large cities such as Bordeaux, Marseilles, or Nice offer roughly the same prices.
If you’re interested in a bit of country flavor, plan on staying in a small village like Locronon in Brittany or Pesmes in Burgundy. Both of these will cost about the same, around $125 a night.
Overall, this is a reasonable price tag for accommodations throughout France during the high season of July through September.
You may be able to find them for less if you book well ahead of time or go during the low season – November through March – or “shoulder season,” the months in between.
Flying to France from the US is a bit of a headache, but not nearly as bad as going to Asia or Africa. Plan to spend between 10 and 20 hours in transit, depending on where you’re coming from and if you live near a major hub.
From Los Angeles to Paris during the high season, you’re looking at around $1,000 round trip, though dedicated price shoppers can certainly find tickets for less. From New York to Paris, it’s closer to $700.
If you’re flying out of a smaller town or city, add on a few hundred dollars for the hop to a hub. On average, you’ll probably end up spending about a grand on airfare.
A money-saving hack for those who don’t live in a big city is to try splitting up your domestic and international airfare. You should still book your international ticket out of a nearby hub a year in advance, which is when you’ll want to lock it down.
However, you don’t need to book your domestic flight until 1 to 3 months in advance, which is when the best deals will appear. If you can stand the loose thread, wait to book!
Note that while many people traveling to Europe look into packages that bundle airfare and hotels, this probably isn’t a good bet in France.
As one of the premier travel destinations in the entire world, you won’t find the best prices here – neither from airlines nor from hospitality organizations. For instance, a 7-night stay in Paris, including lodging and round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, is about $5,000 minimum.
As compared to $1,200 per plane ticket per person, plus $125 a night for 7 days, you’re looking at only about $3,300. That’s a major difference, so do your research before opting for a package!
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Most locations in France are absolutely beautiful and offer plenty of free activities. Walking around and admiring the landscapes and architecture is what many people live for, and it costs absolutely nothing.
In the countryside, you can walk in the lavender-covered lanes. In the city, you can admire buildings from ancient times through to the most modern structures. At the beach, well, you know what to do on a beach!
Other activities do cost money, especially in Paris, but even they are pretty affordable. If you want to visit the Louvre, it’s about $19. The Palace of Versailles is roughly $14 per vehicle.
The Eiffel Tower is roughly $13. However, if you’re the type who wants to see All The Best Things, then those costs can really add up.
You might consider a “Paris in a Day” tour for around $200 or a three-day Paris pass that will grant you entrance to all the major sights for roughly the same amount, maybe a little more. Food and drink are more affordable than you might think as well.
French groceries are subsidized heavily by the state, and travelers report organic heads of lettuce and baguettes for only about a dollar, which is pretty amazing compared to skyrocketing American grocery prices.
Grabbing a loaf of bread, wheel of brie, and pint of fruit at the grocery store will cost you $10 or less. If you like to eat out, plan to spend more money.
While cafes are roughly equivalent to American prices – expect to pay around $10 for a latte and a pastry or two – the restaurants are more. A decent meal is $25, while a nice one is more like $50.
If you want to dine somewhere with a nice view, such as on the waterfront or on a boat, you’ll pay more like $100 for the privilege. The best way to save money in Paris, and France in general, is street food!
The food truck scene is bumping, and you can get simple fare such as waffles, hot dogs, or French fries for between $3 and $5.
If you’re willing to eat one reasonably priced meal at a restaurant and dine the rest of the time out of the grocery store or on the street, you can easily get by on $100 per person, per day in France, including activities.
Transportation is not terribly affordable in The Republic, but there are ways to get around spending a ton. Public transportation is amazing in most big cities and small towns in France.
Because tourism is such a big part of the French economy, they’re highly motivated to get you from A to B so you can spend more money there.
If you’re inside a city or traveling between two nearby cities, definitely take the train or the bus, which will run you between $2 and $20 or so. If you want to take a taxi, beware of the possibility of getting stuck somewhere while the meter is running.
Prices that seem fine at 10 miles might start to stick in your throat if you end up sitting in traffic for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, as some travelers report. At about $5 a mile, they’re affordable enough if you have at least two people traveling.
However, that meter doesn’t stop when you do, so watch out.
If you’re going long distances, it’s better to go by foot or public transport, and save your main transportation budget for a few rides to the airport. If you do, you shouldn’t need more than $400 or so.
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve discussed basics, here are a few more things to keep in mind:
- Driving is the best way to see the country. It’s easy to rent a car and you don’t need an International Driver’s Permit if you’re American.
- Many people don’t know that France has a thriving Islamic community, so if you’re interested in experiencing the wide range of cultures, be sure to visit sights such as the Grande Mosquée de Paris.
- As in any country, traveling alone can be dangerous in France. If you are a solo traveler, stick to populated areas and travel by train during the day.
- Try your hand at some French, even if you’re bad at it. The French appreciate the effort if you can make it, and it may earn you an “in” with a local who has valuable information to share or would love to offer you anything from a free tour to a free croissant. Even if you only have a little and soon switch to English, your French counterpart will warm right up to you.
- While it’s only an 18th the size of the US, France isn’t a small country. It will take roughly 10-12 hours to drive north to south, and 8-10 to drive east to west. If you want to see a lot of it, plan accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit France?
France is best during high summer or in spring and fall. If you choose the latter seasons, you will face less tourist competition, but there’s a greater chance of cloudy weather and rain. Except for Christmas, when France shines, it’s best to avoid winter.
What should I pack for a French vacation?
Always pack layers in France. Depending on where you are, it can rain even in summer. Make sure you’ve got everything from shorts and sandals – assuming you’re going when there’s a chance of hot weather – to close-toed shoes and a slicker.
Is France expensive?
Surprisingly, not very. The food and drinks there are affordable if you don’t eat out much, and France has a wide range of fun activities with nominal cover charges.
Is it safe in France?
Yes, France is quite safe for tourists. As with any country in the world, women will want to avoid walking in remote places alone. Everyone should avoid driving during the wee hours in unpopulated or dangerous places, as hijackings and muggings do occur.
Should I plan to drive in France?
You can absolutely drive in France! It’s easy to rent a car, and the French drive on the right – by that we also mean “correct” – side of the road.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a France Trip?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$125 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,000 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$100 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$400 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$5,000|
The average cost of a one-week trip to France is around $5,000 for two people. While some of its costs are spendier – flights aren’t cheap and transportation within the country takes a little doing – you’ll be surprised by the affordability of daily life there.
If you’ve always wanted to visit La Gaule, this is the time to do so! Pack your bag, use your new budgeting tricks, and off you go. Bon voyage!