When considering traveling to France, the most common destination that comes to mind is Paris. The city has a rich history, amazing architecture, romance, and some of the most incredible cuisine. So even if you only have a few days or a week, Paris should be on your travel list to explore.
France is one of the largest countries in Europe and one of the world’s top six economies. It is bordered by six countries: Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.
France has so many other interesting cities to explore, such as the French countryside in Bordeaux, the islands of Corsica, Alsace near the Switzerland border, and the French Riviera. In France, you will find stunning coastlines, valleys, wine countries, forests, and beaches.
In addition to its beautiful landscape, France is also well-known for its cuisine and wines. French people love to cook and enjoy their time socializing. Typical French tradition is offering cheese before dessert and all meals accompanied by freshly baked bread and wine. A popular French dish is a chicken in a red wine sauce, known as Coq au Vin, and Sea Scallops cooked in butter called Coquilles Saint-Jacques.
There is so much to like about France. If you’re a lover of nature or a foodie, I highly recommend you plan a visit to France. The best time to visit is during its shoulder seasons, April to June and September to November.
Accommodation – Hostel accommodations that are dorm-style range from $18- $50 per night, depending on location in France. Budget hotels begin around $75 per night for a double room with Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. Staying on the outskirts of any major city will reduce your cost of accommodations, but you must consider public transportation. When wanting to remain inside cities like Paris, consider booking Airbnb, which starts at $60 per night with a shared bathroom. Expect to pay on average for a three-star hotel $170 per night.
Food – Shopping at a local grocery store for breakfast or lunch is the cheapest and best way to save while traveling in France. You most likely will find local food markets selling fresh bread, cheese, and meats that can be packed in your backpack for lunch. The cost for a pre-made sandwich is about $6 – $9 per sandwich. It is best to purchase wine at the supermarket than on a vineyard or wine tour. Eating at a restaurant will cost you an average of $24 – $45 per person. The best grocery stores to shop at are Aldi and Lidl.
(Visit Travelzoo to find best places to dine)
Transportation – The transportation system is reliable and the least expensive way to travel. Most cities and towns have an extensive train, bus, and tram systems. Expect to pay $1.50 – $4.00 per trip. Transportation to and from the airport will cost about $12 in Paris. Taxis will be much more expensive!
If you plan to travel by air, several major airlines are offering budget-friendly airline tickets. For example, to fly from Paris to Nice, the average cost is about $60 one way. You will need to book in advance to receive the best deals.
France has several bus operators (Euroline, Flixbus, Isilines, and Ouibus). I recommend Flixibus, with which a bus trip from Paris to Marseille will cost about $40 one way. Although the bus is a great way to see France, I highly recommend using the train.
France is a big country, so most of us don’t want to spend our time riding buses or trains, but if you are on a budget and need to travel across France, the train is the best way. France offers a high-speed TVGV or the SNCF, which is the national railway system. You can buy tickets on the website. For example, a ticket purchased in advance from Paris to Nice will cost about $30 in 2nd class. If you plan to spend a long time in France or traveling to many cities, consider getting a EuRail Pass, which allows travelers to explore Europe by providing a set number of stops in a specific time period.
Activities – France offers so many activities that can quickly become costly if you are not prepared. A wine tour will cost about $110 per day. Most attractions and museum entrance fees cost about $12- $25 per person. Please do your homework and check all the entrance fees to the attractions you want to visit while in France by visiting their website.
Suggested daily budget – Average daily budget should be approximately $165 per person, including hotel, transportation, meals, and sightseeing. A week’s vacation for two people costs roughly $3,500 staying at mid-range hotels.