Sunday, January 2, 2011

How much money should I take to Paris?

How much money should I take to Paris?

How much money should I bring to Paris, France?

Your costs in Paris can vary very widely but I will assume you are neither trying to get by on a rock bottom budget nor independently wealthy.

If breakfast is alrady included in the hotel price then, of course, eat there. But if it is not then don't eat at your hotel but have breakfast at a local cafe and eat as the French do. Cafe au lait, perhaps some juice, and a sweet roll or a simple piece of bread with butter and jam. Even this won't be cheap by American standards, 5-7 euros but still much less than a full American or English breakfast would cost (assuming you could find it being served).

Eat your big meal of the day at lunch when prices are better for full meals. Along the Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissment you can find three course meals with a drink for as little as 10-15 euros. Cafes usually have a lunch special up on a chalkboard, its usually good value for the money.

For dinner consider a sandwich or other light fare at a cafe. If you'd like something a bit fancier then try my favorite little place, La Methode at 2 rue Descartes in the 5th. You'll get some really good food and wine for about 30 euros a person.

Buy your metro tickets in a "carnet" of 10 and the price of a metro trip drops to 1.11 euros. If you think you may actually travel more than 5 times on public transport in a day then buy a one day pass called a "mobilis" which will cost 5.60 euros .

Add another 10-15 euros for admissions to museums and sights unless you're going to try to see every musem in Paris in 4 days in which case you might consider a Museum Pass.

Then figure at least some money for night time entertainment. A carafe of wine will cost 20 euros at my favorite hangout, Aux Trois Mailletz at 56 rue Galand in the 5th but you can listen to music all night for that.

Plan on AT LEAST $100/day. This is for food, transportaion, and visiting the sights. The cheapest way for transport and the local sights is a metro pass and a museum pass (the Eiffel tower is not included) This pass allows you to go in the sights at the head of the line, as many times as you want, so if you have a couple of spare hours, you can revisit your favorite. Great for making short visits to the museums so you don't get overwhelmed by trying to do it all in one visit.

if you want to buy designer clothes, take twice that (at least). They are not cheap. I'd avoid the clothes, especially since your dad is paying. Go window shop instead. Even then the prices are daunting. For fashion that is NOT designer, there are cute things in shops in the latin quarter, where students abound. IF you want fashion, shop around there. Look at the locals, you'll be amazed at the fashion you see in everyday people there without designer clothes. The shoes are amazing.

I would recommend you DON'T take traveller's check, instead take a credit/debit card and use it for cash withdrawals when you need it. Use it for credit purchases when you can. There are banks everywhere and you can make a lot of purchases with a credit card so you don't need to carry a lot of cash. Getting money from an ATM is far easier than finding a place to cash traveller's checks, so you won't get slowed down. I'd recommend taking 2 cards, so you can use one and have a spare if anything happens to the other one. write down card no.s and phone no.s to call if it gets lost and keep somewhere safe in the hotel room. Before you leave the US, let the bank know you will be using your credit card in France - sometimes they will assume it has been stolen since the normal pattern for card use is not in France.

You should try to avoid looking like a tourist - carry a purse instead of a fanny pack, keep a death grip on it while on the metro or in tourist places, wear nice jeans and shirts, and you'll blend in better and not stand out as a tourist. Be especially careful the first day, as jet lag will make you tired and make it harder to pay attention.

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