Paris is one of those universally appealing destinations. But how much does a trip to Paris cost? I’ve been to this bucket list city half a dozen times (summer, spring, and winter; with kids and without!) and have helped many families plan trips here—it never disappoints. That said, it comes at a cost and it can be tricky to plan a trip here on a tight budget, especially when traveling at peak times.
Try to avoid major events like Fashion Week, the French Open, and any large international gatherings that may be scheduled throughout the year. It’ll make accommodation tricky to find, and often the best value options will be booked months in advance.
Paris Trip Cost
This post outlines pricing for two adults and two children between the ages of 6-11, traveling in the summer, spending 5 nights in Paris. Remember to keep in mind the exchange rate when looking at rates listed in Euros. I use xe.com to convert currency
The budget for this trip to Paris is made up of the following elements:
- Tours/Entrance Fees
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Summer flights to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) can be quite pricey because its such a popular route (for leisure and business travelers, since you can get direct flights to CDG from many U.S. cities). For example, CDG is the only European airport I can fly to directly from my home airport of Indianapolis. But deals can be had, and it’s also a great route to cash in points/mileage programs. Families should estimate about $1,000-$1,500 per person for flights.
If you are willing to take an indirect flight or use a budget airline, you may be able to find flights as low as $500 per person (check options like Iceland Air and Norwegian.)
Please be advised that CDG is about an hour outside the city of Paris, and it is a notoriously chaotic airport with frequent security interruptions. This is definitely an airport where you need to allow plenty of time before your departing flight (I always advise 3 hours). Consider spending your last night in a hotel near the airport to make this easier, there are several major US hotel chains with locations here.
If you want to use credit card points to book your airfare, see my favorite credit cards for earning points.
Total airfare cost: $4,000
One of the biggest decision factors families have when planning a trip to Paris is what type of accommodation will work best for them. Unlike solo travelers, it isn’t like most families are going to stay in a Paris hostel.
Paris hotel rooms are notoriously small, and typically only sleep two people. So families looking to stay in a hotel will need two adjoining rooms or one family-sized suite. Cost for a five-star central Paris hotel stay for a family will start around 1,000 euros per night. At the four-star level, starting pricing point is usually around 600 euros.
Apartment stays in Paris are one of Europe’s best values. You’ll have more space, and you’ll truly be able to feel like a local. Shop the markets and prepare easy meals based on the delicious, fresh ingredients you can pick up in your neighborhood, just like Parisians do. It’s part of the experience in a city known for some of the best food in the world.
Cost for apartment rentals at the four-star level start around 400 euros per night and go up from there. Expect to pay a premium for views of the Eiffel Tower or for an outdoor terrace. (See my tips for renting a Paris apartment.)
Location is key in Paris. Because it is such a walkable city, it’s best to stay in one of the central arrondissements. For apartment rentals, I love the St. Germain area and the Marais because of the charming, walkable streets lined with cafes, markets, and independent shops. If you’re looking for full luxury hotel services, my favorite five-star properties in Paris are clustered around the Louvre giving your family easy access to play time in the Tuileries.
Total accommodation cost: $3,000 (based on $600 per night for 5 nights)
Paris is one of those cities where it’s best not to overcommit yourself. The magic here is in the unplanned and the hidden gems…wandering the Seine and sampling crepes, riding a carousel in one of the amazing parks, and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle every evening. That said, you won’t want to travel all this way and not see the top sites. I encourage families to pick their five must-see sites, and plan to hit one each day of the trip, leaving the rest of your time open for serendipitous discoveries.
My top splurge is to invest in a guide for the Louvre. This museum is so large, it’s almost not worth seeing unless you have someone who can help you focus on some highlights and make it engaging for your children. Cost for a family-friendly guide is around 250-400 euros for a half day tour.
And consider gifting yourself a fun introductory experience. A bike tour is popular, as Paris has some wonderful and easy bike paths that wind around to many of the major locations. You may also want to try a pastry class or a food tour. Or for a less expensive option, an hour-long Seine cruise is often a highlight and you can see a lot in a short period of time.
The main sites can also be notoriously crowded. Definitely book ahead for anything you know you want to see, like tickets to go up to the Eiffel Tower or a bike tour at Versailles. Then balance that out with free afternoons playing in the parks, or visiting some of the major churches, like Notre Dame or Sacre Couer, where entrance lines move quickly.
If you plan on visiting many of the main museums and sights, you may want to evaluate whether or not a Paris City Pass is worth it.
If you are planning a day trip to Disney, be sure to check out this guide to Disney Paris!
Total tour/sightseeing cost: $900 (based on one private tour of $400, plus $100 per day for 5 days in additional entrance fees)
I recommend booking a private airport transfer upon arrival. The train can be tricky to navigate with bags and jetlag, and this is an expense you’ll be glad you made. Expect to pay about $300 for round-trip service.
Fortunately, if you stay in a central location, Paris is fairly easy to do on foot, with an occasional metro or taxi ride to locations a bit further out (like Montmartre). If you’ve got your mind set on a day trip out to places like Versailles or Disneyland Paris, then you’ll want to factor in train tickets to your budget plans.
Total transportation costs: $400 (based on airport transfers and some taxi/metro rides)
I’ve always believed everything tastes better in France, so a trip to Paris is no time to penny pinch on food. That said, meals at upscale restaurants in Paris can be slow and time-consuming, and children are expected to behave and demonstrate good manners. Given that, I have always found the best way to enjoy dining in Paris is to mix a few pricier restaurant meals with more casual, grab-and-go options throughout the trip. I find my children are far more patient with a slower dining experience when they don’t have to do it 3 times a day.
And the best part is that you’ll only be enhancing your culinary experience in this city, by grabbing picnic fixings in upscale markets and shops, or even quick croissants at the local patisserie if you don’t have access to breakfast at your hotel.
Total food cost: $850 (based on free hotel breakfast, $20 for lunch x 5 days, and $150 per day for dinner x 5 days)
Paris has some of the world’s finest shopping, anything from independent shops tucked away in beautiful neighborhoods, to some of the most well-known department stores in the world, like Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche. So if you love to shop, this is a great place to splurge on a few special items.
Warn your children that vendors will approach them at many of the major tourist stops (the Eiffel Tower in particular) to buy kitschy souvenirs. Perhaps give your kids a small budget in advance of this, or discourage them from this type of purchase altogether. I explained to my children that the quality of these items is usually not very good, and they understand the disappointment of a broken toy, so it made saying no easier for them.
Total souvenir cost: $400 (based on each family member spending $100 while on the trip; you may spend quite a bit more or far less depending on how much time you devote to shopping)
Total Cost for a 5-day Trip to Paris: $9,550
I’ve never met anyone who regretted a trip to Paris, so while your bank account may temporarily suffer from the cost, the memories of this magical city will be money well spent. Keep in mind that nearly half the cost of this budget goes toward flights… consider spending another week in a different part of France to get the most bang for your travel buck. Accommodation and food costs are typically much lower outside of Paris (just avoid the popular beach areas of France if traveling in the summer). And France has a robust network of high speed train lines… you can be on your way to enjoying gorgeous countryside landscapes within a few hours of leaving the city.
Not sure where you want to go yet? Find out the cost of other destinations, be sure to check out these posts:
- How much does a trip to Italy cost?
- How much does a trip to London cost?
- How much does a trip to Iceland cost?
- How much does a trip to Greece cost?
This guest post was written by Nicole Wiltrout. Nicole is a freelance writer and travel expert based in Indiana. She has traveled throughout North America and Europe with her children for the past nine years, including three years spent living abroad in England. She has written for a variety of websites and publications and is the author of “Dispatches from England,” available on Amazon, which chronicles her family’s time as expats. You can follow Nicole’s travels on Arrows Sent Forth. Photos above courtesy of Nicole Wiltrout.
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