I afford a holiday in France ?
With the currently low value of the Euro, holidaying in France and
parts of Europe has become cheaper
for visitors from other parts of the world
has many reputations; and one of them is that France is an expensive
In matters of costliness, most
relative. France - like any developed country - is expensive compared
to Latin America, India, or other developing nations. It is cheap
compared to Dubai or Sweden; but compared to most other European
coutries, it is somewhere in the middle.
In reality, there are plenty of things in France
cheaper than in the UK or the Netherlands or Germany or Switzerland,
even cheaper than the USA; and others that are more expensive.
Fresh food tends to be cheaper in France than in
northern countries; but processed food, instant pre-packaged microwave
meals, tinned food and other industrial products are more expensive.
Bread and cakes tend to be more expensive, specially processed sliced
white bread; but sometimes this is because French consumers demand
Admiring the sites needn't cost anything...
and restaurants tend to be cheaper in France than in the UK, notably on
a quality-for-quality basis, though the margin of difference in hotel
prices has narrowed in recent years. And the cost of emergency medical
treatment (a visit to the
doctor or the dentist,
minor A&E treatment in a hospital) is far lower than the cost
private treatment in the UK or the USA - and largely reimbursed for
travellers with a European health insurance card, or private insurance.
In the end, the cost of living and
France depends on your lifestyle. If you want to live "à
"à l'américaine" in France, you will pay a
premium; if you follow the
old adage "When in France, do as the French", then your euros will go
I afford a holiday in France?
if you can afford a holiday anywhere in Europe, you can afford one in
France, as long as you work within your budget. If in doubt, avoid
expensive hotels and tourist traps, try alternative solutions. If
visiting Paris, check out our budget
Paris tips and Free
For the rest of France, check out our guide to Free tourist attractions, and to France's great cathedrals, which are free to visit.
are the alternative
solutions to expensive hotels?
Well of course, there are cheap hotels
(not always much fun for a stay
of more than one or two nights); among the cheapest chains are Formule
1 and Mister Bed ; slightly more up-market are comes the Ibis
chain, then there are the mid market economy chains such as Ibis
and Campanile. But if you are planning a long stay (a week or
two) how about trying a gite
(a holiday cottage), or B&B or camping.
Gites come in all shapes and sizes, but it is often possible to find a
gite for a week at less than the cost of an economy hotel room for a
week. Gites and B&Bs are plentiful in France.
and backpacker accommodation in France
For students and backpackers, there is also hostel
in most French cities; there are a number of organisations running city
hostels. The French youth hostel association FUAJ
one of these.
are the cheapest places in
Generally speaking, anywhere but Paris and the Riviera. But even Paris
need not be too expensive if you prepare your holiday carefully, book
your hotel on the internet,
and follow the advice on our budget
Paris tips and Free
That being said, rural areas are
cheaper than the seaside, and cheaper than big towns and cities. Among
regions of France are Auvergne,
These are very attractive regions with hills and mountains, and regions
that are underrated in tourist terms. Auvergne was rated as one of the
top six regions in the world to visit by Lonely Planet in
For more details on all regions,
see the About-France.com guide to
the regions of France.
In north-eastern France, the regions of Lorraine and Champagne are reputed
to be the cheapest of all for holidaymakers.
do you make your euros go further ?
in advance! In warm weather, picnic for your midday meal, but
stock up from the local "boulangerie" or supermarket before you set out
on a day's trip, so that you don't have to rely on roadside
garage-shops or cafés. As well as saving money, you will get
a lot more
choice for your midday meal. In hot weather, instead of stopping for an
ice-cream or a drink in a café, stop at a supermarket and
buy a box of
ice-creams or a big bottle of cold drink, then stop by the wayside. A
box of four icecreams from the deep-freeze counter in a supermarket can
cost less than just a single identical ice-creas in a café;
and you can
buy a litre and a half of coke in a supermarket for less than a 25
centiliter glass in a café.
As for eating out, look for unassuming places, and places
from the main tourist traps. You'll probably eat better and for less.
If you eat a meal midday, Chinese restaurants often offer good value,
and well-balanced meals too.
is the best time to visit France?
if you're not bound by children, May, June and September are best, as
you can usually get better rates in hotels and holiday rentals, and
the tourist attractions such as Mont Saint Michel (right) are less
crowded. Avoid the French
school holiday periods, and check out the least busy holiday weeks..
But take care: some attractions do
not open, or open for shorter hours, outside the main tourist months.
value in France
Follow these links and make your holiday money go further in France
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where otherwise indicated.
Coach services in France.
for visitors from the UK check out the Ouibus