WHAT DOES A CYCLING HOLIDAY TO FRANCE COST?

If you are planning a cycling holiday to France and wondering how much it is all going to cost, then this article is for you. Rather than trying to tell you that a trip to France will cost so much per day or per week we have taken a different approach and obtained actual costs for a list of items you will likely purchase while you are there. Our list includes airfares, train fares, accommodation, car hire, bike hire, bike tours and eating and drinking. We have tried to focus on the low end of the market to give you an idea of the minimum amount you need for a holiday to France. Depending on your budget you can stay in better hotels or fly business or first class and this will obviously increase the price. 

Taking money out of an ATM in France

While you would not normally put France on a list of cheap holiday destinations, there are plenty of things you can do that make it a more than an affordable holiday destination. Paris is a notoriously expensive city to visit, but once you get out into the regional areas, prices drop significantly. How much you need for your holiday to France really comes down to how much you wish to or are able to spend. France has plenty to offer everyone whether you are looking for luxury or are on a budget.

Our price list

All the prices listed below were gathered in December 2020 for July 2021 travel dates. Our experience with travel says these prices will change regularly the closer you get to the actual travel date. We will update the prices we have listed monthly so they are always reflective of what you might expect to pay when you book your own trip. We have deliberately picked peak season so costs are most likely at their highest. Our price guide is designed to give you a ballpark idea of what things will cost if you travel in peak season. We have not searched out special deals or sales, rather we have used some of the major travel websites to get the best price they are currently offering.

Be mindful as well that with the current COVID pandemic these prices may change significantly, especially airfares and accommodation, once the demand for travel picks up again.

Examples of costs for your holiday in France

Airfares to France

Many people will travel to France by plane from different parts of the world and depending on how far away you are this could represent the largest single cost. Here is what we found about the cost of flights from different starting points. The prices quoted are the best available economy fare for 2 people using Skyscanner flying directly to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on 10 July 2021 returning 20 July 2021.

Prices are in the local currency of the departure country.

Accommodation costs in France

The next largest cost for most people is accommodation. We selected a range of locations in France to see what a seven-night stay for two people will cost. It should be noted that hotel rooms in France can be quite small to what you may be used to. We selected the cheapest room available and as such you could assume that they will be small.  

Car hire cost in France

Hiring a car is a popular way of travelling around the country and gives you more flexibility over public transport. The prices below represent the cost of a 7 day hire from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, returning it to the same place, basic insurance and unlimited kilometres. You will be charged an additional fee should you wish to return the car to a different location which varies from rental company to rental company.

Train fares cost in France

The rail network in France is extensive and a great way of getting around the country, especially on the high-speed TGV’s which travel up to 300km per hour. As train fares can only be booked 3 months in advance we were unable to get a price for July 2021. Instead, these prices are based on a one-way ticket in February 2021 for two people. Prices in peak holiday times are likely to be more expensive but you can still get good deals booking in advance. Often the price for a first-class ticket is only slightly more expensive than the second-class ticket.

Public transport in Paris is a great way of getting around the city and there are is a pass designed specifically for visitors. Zones 1- 3 are for the inner suburbs while zones 1 – 5 include both airports (Charles de Gaulle and Orly) and Versailles. The passes are valid on buses, metro (underground/subway), tramways and RER (train). Passes are available from 1 to 5 days. Unless you are staying in zones 4 or 5 the zone 1-3 pass will suit most people.

Eating and drinking costs in France

France is renowned for its culinary delights and every region has its own specialities. We have chosen a range of items you may purchase while you are there to give you an idea of costs. Prices in restaurants vary depending on where you are and obviously the quality of the place you are visiting.

Bike tour costs in France

Bike tours are divided into two groups, guided and unguided tours. As the name suggests a guided tour will include a guide or guides that will accompany the group for the duration of the trip. On an unguided tour, the planning is taken care of, including cycling routes, but you will be on your own day-to-day.

Our research has shown that prices vary greatly from supplier to supplier depending on what they provide and where they are going. We have aimed to find some tours at the cheaper end of the market to give you an idea of the minimum amount you need to spend. All prices are based on sharing a room. If you are travelling by yourself there will be an additional single room supplement to pay.

Bike Hire costs in France

Bike hire is readily available across France and especially in the popular cycling areas. Prices vary significantly between different regions and between different outlets within regions. This is reflected in the range of prices below.

If you are planning to spend a few weeks cycling in France bringing your own bike is definitely the more cost-effective option.

Money saving tips for a holiday in France 

There are plenty of ways you can save some money if your holiday budget for France is getting a little tight. We have listed some of the things we have learned along the way to help you.  

Book travel as far in advance as possible – airline bookings open 11 months in advance and you can save a considerable amount by getting in as soon as possible. Get an idea of when airlines offer their sale fares for the European summer. This also applies to car hire, train travel and ferry travel. 

Travel outside peak seasons – unless there is a specific reason to travel in the peak months of July and August consider travel before or after. Prices tend to drop outside these peak months for accommodation and travel and there are more bargains to be had. 

Eating out less – while there are plenty of reasonably priced restaurants in France the cost of eating out every day certainly adds up. Prices in supermarkets are reasonable and there are plenty of options to make a quick cheap easy meal. For example, on our last trip 4 of us were able to spend around €20 in total (€5 each) for an evening meal including wine and beer.  

Demi pension or half-board accommodation – you will find hotels in France offering “Demi-pension” or “half-board” which means the rate includes dinner, bed and breakfast. The cost of these are very reasonable and our experience is that food is great and plentiful. 

Plat de jour – this translates to “dish of the day” and you will see this on menus everywhere. The cost of this is generally cheaper than other options. You may also see “menu de jour” or “menu of the day” offering multiple courses. While we thought this initially to be a tourist trap we have been subsequently advised that this is not the case. By cooking a single dish or dishes in bulk restaurants can offer it at a cheaper rate. 

Choose your region – prices between different regions in France vary and can make a big difference to your holiday budget. For example, city areas are typically more expensive than smaller rural areas, especially when it comes to eating and drinking.  

More information

Once you have an idea of what you need to spend check out the other sections of our website to help you plan your trip.

Our Planning pages have lots of practical information including more detailed information about car hire, trains, airports, accommodation and eating.

Our Destination pages include destination guides for a range of cycling locations as well as route information.

Lastly, our Articles pages include our latest articles across a range of different topics.