Is France Expensive? A France Trip Cost Guide

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by Brittany Scott-Gunfield

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France is consistently the most popular tourist destination in Europe, with Paris welcoming tens of millions of visitors each year and only Istanbul and London coming close to challenging for the number one spot. But is France expensive to visit? We’ve worked out a France trip cost so you have a rough idea of how much a holiday in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries will set you back.

France is a very diverse country, however, so the price of your trip will change drastically if you have a skiing holiday in the Alps, a romantic weekend in Paris, a no-expense-spared holiday on the Côte d’Azur, a relaxing retreat among the châteaux of the Loire or an action-packed adventure in the valleys of the Tarn.

France can be an expensive country to visit with an average cost of €85-580 (roughly $94-640 USD) per person per day. That said, there’s something for everyone in France, and most locations have options to accommodate all types of budgets. Let’s look at the specifics.

France Trip Cost Guide

From the stunning Pyrenees mountains to the pristine Mediterranean beaches and the awe-inspiring Gorges du Verdon, to the wines of Bordeaux and the lavender fields outside Aix-en-Provence, there are many beautiful holiday destinations across France.

Our guide will compare prices between a broad range of locations to get the best idea of how expensive France is as a whole.

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux
Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux

Accommodation Prices

When making a France travel budget, accommodation should be the first thing to research as it can be relatively expensive if you don’t carefully look at your options.

Camping is one of the cheaper options for accommodation in France, but not everyone’s idea of a relaxing holiday is sleeping on the floor in a woodland, regardless of how beautiful the landscape is…

Solo young travellers may be disappointed by the lack of hostels across France, although you can find some in big cities like Paris, Marseille and Lyon. Outside of Paris, you can expect to pay no more than €50 for a single bed in a dorm room, although it’s hard to find a bed under €30 as you can in other European cities.

Within Paris, the majority of beds in dorm rooms are over €50, so if you’re travelling with a friend or partner, it’s usually worthwhile staying in a hotel and splitting the cost of the room. In general, expect the cost of accommodation to be more expensive in Paris over other cities and regions in France.

Looking at hotels in a variety of towns and cities in France, the majority of the double rooms cost over €100 per night, while only about one-third of rooms cost €50-€100, leaving just a tiny percentage of rooms that cost less than €50 per night. You can view mid-range options here.

If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, expect to make in excess of €300-550 per night for a room – and oftentimes much more depending on the hotel and location. You can view luxury options here.

This shows that accommodation in France can be expensive, although there are many reasonable options to be found if you’re visiting France on a budget; either way, accommodation is a big factor in your overall France trip cost.

Paris Skyline
Paris Skyline

Transportation Prices

On the other hand, travelling in France is as easy, cheap and comfortable as it is highly recommended. France, especially the South, is very welcoming to tourists and travellers, so moving around in the country is very simple.

If you’re willing to take a risk, you can even hitchhike from one place to another very easily to keep your trip to France cost to a minimum; the majority of French people are very friendly and will take you as far as they can as well as recommend places to visit and things to do in the area that you might not otherwise know about.

That’s also why the ride-sharing app Blablacar works so well in France. It’s hard to book a journey many weeks in advance, but if you’re on a loose schedule, you can find many different cars to join over the coming week and choose whichever driver you have more in common with or which journey best suits your timing or budget.

A 3-hour journey can cost as little as €15, and you can even find rides over long journeys such as 9 hours from Paris to Montpellier from just €50.

France also has an incredibly well-developed train network, with high-speed trains able to transport you to all corners of the country. The cost of train tickets, however, can vary depending on the journey length and how far in advance you book. You can view train schedules here.

There is also a decent bus network that can often be a bit less expensive than the train, however, the journeys can take longer and it’s often less comfortable than a train ride. You can view bus schedules here.

If you’re planning a road trip or are keen to try your hand at driving in France, however, you can easily rent a car from French Airports or city centres from €50-100 for a small car. You can view car rental options here.

Within French towns and cities, you can use the bus, tram or metro for €1.50-2.50 for a single ticket, although there are often cheaper alternatives for 10 journeys or 24 hours if you think you’ll use public transportation in France often over your stay.

Or, for a greener and more active alternative, you can find city rental bikes in the streets of most large cities in France, which you can rent for €0.50-1.50 per hour or €5 a day to get around easily.

These city bikes do require a credit card to make sure you return the bike, so if you don’t have one or you’re in a smaller town, you can still rent a bicycle for around €20-30 a day, sometimes with an additional few euros for a helmet or basket.

Some of these bike rental shops also have e-bikes available so you can save your legs, although the price can be a lot more expensive, from €35-70 per day.

Train arriving into Nice
Train arriving into Nice

Food Prices

Dining is one of the best activities in France, and the options won’t disappoint you. Sure, you can find cheap French fast food chains and cafeterias everywhere like Flunch and Quick, but it would be a waste of a trip to the gastronomic centre of Europe to eat here.

The cost of food in France can vary depending on your habits. Breakfast is a cheap and easy affair, with bakeries on every corner selling fresh pastries and baguettes for less than a couple of euros each.

Meanwhile, you can have a cheap and cheerful lunch of a delicious sandwich for a few euros from any cafe, or turn it into a meal deal in the French cafe La Mie Caline where you can get a sandwich, cake and drink for a very affordable price. The classic French croque monsieur can also be found everywhere, as well, for low prices.

Of course, it’s always affordable and a great way to support local vendors to pick up some bread, local cheese or some meats from small delis or market stalls and have a picnic for lunch, as well!

However, if you’re going to make the most of your trip to France and dine as the locals do, you can find excellent set menus for lunch for €15-30 for 2-3 courses of usually expertly prepared and locally sourced dishes.

For dinner, there are many options to be found in France in terms of price and cuisine, but you can almost always guarantee it will be high-quality food.

A mid-range restaurant will serve exquisite dishes, often prepared in the same traditional way over many generations, so you know they have the classic French cooking down to a T. Evening set menus can cost anywhere between €20 and €45 for three courses in most restaurants, with a bottle of wine costing €20-60.

So, there’s really no need to spend a fortune in a 5-star restaurant in France unless you’re out for a special occasion or want to enjoy a spectacular view, such as in the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Here you can have a 5-course dinner time tasting menu for €255.

Food market in Provence
Food market in Provence

Activities Prices

France isn’t just a tourist hotspot for its incredible scenery; it’s also full of museums, galleries, historic sites and landmarks that make the country such a wonderful place for a holiday.

Some small towns will have a museum or gallery that costs only a few euros to enter, however, most larger towns, cities and popular tourist destinations will charge €10-20 for an entry ticket to a museum or art gallery.

It’s best to visit the website of each museum or gallery you plan on visiting before you go, as some offer free entrance at certain hours of the day or days of the month. For example, in Paris, some of the most popular museums are open for free on the first Friday or Sunday of the month, except in July and August.

What’s more, some places with many activities offer combined tickets for a few of their popular attractions, such as in Avignon or the  Paris Museum Pass, so you can save a few euros if you’re in the area and planning to visit all of the main sights.

Historic sites also have a similar price range, with the Pope’s Palace, Lascaux Caves and Pont du Gard all priced at €12-15, while the Catacombs cost €30 to visit, and the spectacular cable car journey to and from the Aiguille du Midi in the Alps can have a hefty price tag, but it is worth it.

If you’re concerned about the cost of a trip to France and want to save on activities, then you can simply walk around the areas and enjoy the views, architecture and life in each town’s main square for free.

There are even free walking tours available in most cities, so you can learn as you wander and make some friends along the way. Keep in mind that you do need to tip the guides on these tours, so the price tag isn’t completely free.

France is also dotted with incredible churches, abbeys and cathedrals, all of which you can enter for free.

Pope's Palace
Pope’s Palace in Avignon

Entertainment Prices

There is also plenty of entertainment to be found across France, with spontaneous gatherings regularly popping up in parks and squares, especially in cities with young populations like Montpellier and Rennes, so there’s no chance of missing out on the action.

Just head to the nearest supermarket and get a bottle of wine for a couple of euros or a case of beer and join in the fun for a very reasonable price.

Cafés, bars and restaurants are all over France, even in the tiniest of villages, and the prices don’t change much; a coffee will cost €1-3, while a draft beer can cost €3-5 for a draft ½ pint, or €6-9 for 50cl.

A glass of wine in a bar can range from €4-6, depending largely on your proximity to a wine-making region as well as the standard of place you’re in, while cocktails are the average price for Europe, at around €10-16 each. Pastis is usually the cheapest alcoholic drink on a menu, at just a few euros per glass.

Many French cities also have excellent concert venues, which are similarly priced to other European venues, with tickets ranging from €35-100 according to who is performing and where in the arena you’re sitting.

Throughout summer you can also find many small festivals across France, although usually in the South, each at a similar price, with day tickets around €60 and weekend tickets around €100.

If you prefer something a bit more lively, you can find cabaret tickets in Paris for just €35 for the show and a drink of choice, although average tickets cost €40-50.

Théâtre de Lyon
Théâtre de Lyon

Is France Expensive? Average Prices in France

So, how expensive is France to visit? What are the costs in France that you need to consider?

It largely depends on where you are and what you plan to do as you can very easily pay next to nothing by hitchhiking and camping in the free camping spots in France, or driving down in a campervan from England in the Eurotunnel or ferry and saving a great deal in transport and accommodation costs. However, this is neither ideal nor feasible for everybody.

We’ll work out an average cost for one person for one whole day in France, assuming they use transport, take part in a paid activity, have an evening out, eat three meals a day and drink one coffee, one glass of beer or wine and one cocktail. This is also assuming that some costs, such as accommodation, are split between two people.

Accommodation: €30-275 / night

Transportation:  €5-30 / day

Food: €30-150 / day

Activities: €10-75 / day

Entertainment: €10-50 / day

On average, expect to spend roughly €85-580 per person per day during your trip to France. Of course, this can vary greatly depending on your habits and you can find ways to pinch pennies even further and it’s certainly possible to spend more.

France is as diverse as it is beautiful so you don’t need a strict France travel budget; you can easily have a dreamy holiday without breaking the bank. Just prioritise whatever matters most for you, and you’ll find the perfect location that fits your needs and your budget, whether that’s in the mountains, on a beach or in the city. France has it all.

Are you visiting France? Have any questions about your budget? Let us know in the comments!

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Brittany Scott-Gunfield

Brittany is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Colchester, England, she is slowly but surely travelling the world as a digital nomad. She loves to hike around different landscapes and has a deep love for travelling around France (and elsewhere in Europe).

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