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daily spending $$

this will be my first trip to Paris. Going July 26 - Aug. 3 (anybody ELSE out there on my trip?

What I'm really writing about here, is I was told that $70-$100 / day is a good amount of $$ to figure for spending daily.

Anybody like to address this question ? Low? Medium? Just right amount?

Thank you.

Cathy Ortiz
Bothell, WA.

Posted by
211 posts

Cathy, I suppose it depends on what you are doing. Are meals included in that amount? Admission to sites you may be visiting? Bus or subway fares? Souvenirs?

Posted by
9732 posts

The Paris tour includes a metro card for the week and a museum pass so all you will need to cover are lunches, half your dinners and souvenirs along with any museums you choose to visit in your free time that aren't covered by the pass. It will kind of depend on what level of restaurant dining you choose. For me, that figure would probably be a little high. For others just right.

In any event you will have a wonderful time!

Posted by
16883 posts

I agree that dinner is likely to be your biggest budget item, but with plenty of options. I could spend that much in a cheese shop. Don't take out the whole budget at once. You can take 300 euros cash from the ATM in Paris and see how far it gets you. Machines are all over if you need more cash. There will also be times when you can use your credit card for dinner or a larger purchase. See also

Posted by
39 posts

Nope.. I am not a heavy drinker.. lol one glass of wine and I'm good... ;) My deal is to take in the sights, eat lighty and maybe buy a t-shirt here or there.... I think I am a low maintenance tourist. ;) Will just wing this I guess.. the reason why I CHOSE a tour is that is I DO want to be around others.... am coming into Paris solo... but I know the tour company has much of this covered. I can relax, let the tour company do their thing and I can pick and choose what I spend money on. :) so, sounds like its anybodys I guess as to how much $$ I spend daily. But at least I have some light deadlines. And no, I'm not a cheese junky (my words ofcourse and meant respectfully and with some humor).

Posted by
9732 posts

So...the rest of the story is I am doing this one in Sept! I am mentally thinking $50-$75/day, closer to the $50 end but some days will be more some less. I am meeting up with a friend after and am budgeting quite a bit more for those days.

Posted by
5262 posts

For me, $70 a day would be more than enough on average if RS is covering the Metro, most admissions, all breakfasts, and half the dinners. I don't shop a lot. I do stop in cafes for coffee or wine, and a cheese plate at lunchtime. Dinner can cost a lot or not so much, your choice. Call me cheap, and Paris is expensive, but I'd say $70 is high. I might exceed it on a day when I'm buying dinner, but not when I'm not.

Posted by
31471 posts


The amount of daily spending money tends to vary according to the individual habits of each traveller. Keep in mind that US$70 is only about €50. That should be adequate when meals are covered by the tour, but may not be enough on days when you're on your own. Breakfasts will be supplied by the hotels, so you'll only have to worry about lunch and supper. I normally keep records on what I spend, but would have to dig those out and go through them (and of course my spending patterns may differ from yours).

I'd suggest taking at least two ATM cards, in case of a malfunction with one (I've had that happen), and at least one credit card (preferably Visa or MasterCard). The ATM cards will normally access your chequing account, as that's most often the one designated as the "primary account". You'll have to check with your bank to clarify that. Many of the ATM's I've encountered in Europe don't provide a choice between chequing and savings (although that seems to be slowly changing). It's also a really good idea to notify all your banks and credit card issuers that you'll be travelling, so they don't "freeze" the cards when they detect transaction activity in Europe.

You may want to obtain €50-100 at your local bank prior to departure for "travel expenses", until you get settled in your hotel. That way you'll be able to buy a meal or whatever during travel, without having to look for the nearest ATM while dragging luggage through the airport.

One important point to mention is that when using automated ticket machines (such as the ones at CDG), it's essential to have a "Chip & PIN" credit card, as the machines will NOT work with the older magnetic stripe cards. You can however still use the magnetic stripe cards at staffed ticket windows.

Posted by
1761 posts

Hi Cathiy, I just returned from a few days in Paris and a RS tour. I spent 10-15 euros for lunch (for example, a sandwich and drink from a deli is about 10 euros, salad and a drink at a cafe is about 15). Dinner was 15-25 euros (nothing fancy, an omlet, salad and drink was about 15 euros). There are also price fixed menus that offer a starter, entree, and dessert or wine for various prices - maybe 25-35 euros. There are many nice restaurants that require reservations but I didn't really go there by myself. Cafes and bistros post their menus so you can see what they offer before you sit down. Your guide will also provide some suggestions. As others mentioned, you will have museum and metro passes so no additional expenses there. It's basically whatever you want to spend on food not covered by the tour and souvenirs. Hope you have a great time in Paris!

Posted by
4 posts

I am still confused. Will we be able to get money from the ATM machines at the airport or not. Rick Steves said, "Yes." Some on here have said, "No." Only if the booth is a manned ticket booth.
I do not have the new type of card.

Where do you get the new cards?

Posted by
500 posts

You can get cash from any ATM in the world with a card that has a cirrus or plus logo. There is often a limit, sometimes from your back, sometimes from the bank of the ATM you are using but it is usually at least the equivalent of $200 or more, in Europe it's often the equivalent of $500 or so. It is the best way to get cash especially if your bank has no foreign transaction fee, always cheaper than going to a bank or currency exchange.

Posted by
4 posts

As to the question re the new chip and pin cards the Chase Sapphire has a chip and does not charge international fees. Check out who has good reviews of cards. Also just learned cam get Charles Schwab ATM if open checking there. No min balance and no ATM fees they refund
On your statement if you are charged. Both are gloal cards.

Posted by
11289 posts

"I am still confused. Will we be able to get money from the ATM machines at the airport or not. Rick Steves said, "Yes." Some on here have said, "No." Only if the booth is a manned ticket booth.
I do not have the new type of card."

You have mixed up two different issues.

At an ATM, as said, your current debit card will work fine. This is how you get euro cash.

If you want to use a credit card at an unstaffed machines (say, in a Metro station), you need a card using the chip and pin system. A credit card without a chip and pin won't work in these machines. But you can go to a manned ticket window and use the cash you got from the ATM.

At places where you are paying with a credit card and dealing directly with a person (a hotel, restaurant, or store), it's almost never a problem to use your swipe credit card. If you're dealing with a younger and newer employee, there are reports here that you may have to show them how to swipe your card (since all French cards have been chip and pin for years, they may literally have never seen any other kind, and don't even know that there's a swipe slot on the side of the credit card machine, in addition to the slot on the front for the chip).

Of course, just as in the US, some places are cash only. Hence, most people take out a few hundred euros at a time from an ATM. If you need more, replenish as needed (ATM's are everywhere). If you have extra when you are leaving, you can use them to pay down your hotel bill, then put the rest on your credit card. Or save them for your next trip, or sell them to a friend going to Europe, so he/she has some upon arrival.

Posted by
3685 posts

Re: Donna's meal prices (and anything else you might want to buy).

Time to start thinking in EUR like she listed rather than USD. The exchange rate at the moment from Oanda ( is about $1.36 per EUR.

That means roughly the following:
E 10 = $13.63
E 15 = $20.45
E 25 = $34.00
E 35 = $47.75

I think you will have enough money unless you go hog wild and pig crazy on the T-shirts or anything else -- like maybe ice cream at Berthillon.

Your budget stacks up like this today:
$70 = E 51,30
$100 = E 73,30

Thinking in terms of a budget of roughly E 50 - E 75 rather than constantly trying to calculate the exchange rate should make your shopping and eating more fun. And if you wind up with some EUR left over, save 'em for your next trip to Europe.