Paris on $1,000 per Day

I was talking to a fellow today and he said that he and his wife were planning a trip to Paris for 2014. He asked me, after hearing that we’d been there quite a few times, if $1,000 per day was enough for Paris. He’d heard that it “…was expensive” there. I laughed and told him I though they could have a great vacation on half that amount. Then I got to thinking about how much it could cost. Here’s my estimate, based on how we spend money when we’re in Paris:

Hotel $300 Hotel des Deux Iles
Breakfast $32 At the hotel; expensive but worth it for us.
Lunch $20-$25 Sandwich and dessert from a boulangerie, or eat at a creperie.
Dinner $100-$150 Can get much higher! But this range will get you a very nice dinner in a nice restaurant, with a bottle of wine.
Museums, visits, etc. $25 This amount will get two people into a museum. We never do more than one museum a day, so you might spend more. If we spent more that this, we'd be fried.
Metro, busses, batobus, etc. $25 Might be more if you took taxis, but the metro is fast and the busses are fun.
Bottle of wine for, er, refreshment and nourishment $10-12 Really, you can get very nice wines for this price. Want to splurge? Go all the way to $20. You won't believe the quality at that price compared to what you get for $20 in the U.S.
Total $512-569 See, not bad!

I was a little off on my “half of a $1,000 per day” estimate, but not much, and I think with a slightly less expensive hotel, and staying at around $100 for dinner, you’d be there.

Now, you could spend a whole lot more (the prix fixe dinner at La Tour Argent is $260 for each person, not including wine, which probably starts in the $80/bottle range), and you could spend less. Hotel des Deux Iles is a small (17-room) hotel that we love dearly and has been our Paris “home”for almost 20 years; its location is unbeatable, on Ile St. Louis, but you can certainly find hotels for less. Careful, though; if you drop much below $200 per night, you are likely to be either a long way from the interesting parts of the city, or in a place that will disappoint. There are some excellent hotels in the $200-$250 range: Hotel des Deux Continents or Hotel de Seine, for example.

Our travel style tends toward the simple. Paris calls for walking, so we walk a lot. Our favorite thing is to walk along the Seine, especially at night. I think we do that every night we’re there (helps that we stay on an island).

And of course, when you throw in airfare, the per day costs go right up. Summer 2014 airfares Seattle – Paris are in the $1,600 range, so add another $3,200 for airfare, spread out over ten days and now you’re looking at $850-$900 per day, airfare included. All the more reason to stay longer: spreads out the airfare. In our case, we got tickets for $1,200 each (British Airways, before May 17) and we’re staying 146 days, so our plane tickets add  only about $16 per day.

I think that a good minimum for us would be about $500 per day, which gets a nice hotel, meals in neighborhood restaurants (which will still be amazing), and no shopping sprees!

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