Paris travel cost

If you stay in a hostel or in a showerless, toiletless room in a bottom-end hotel and have picnics rather than dining out, it is possible to stay in Paris for €50 a day per person. A couple staying in a two-star hotel and eating one cheap restaurant meal each day should count on spending at least €75 a day per person. Eating out frequently, ordering wine and treating yourself to any of the many luxuries on offer in Paris will increase these figures considerably.

If greater Paris were a country, its economy would rank as one of the world’s largest (in fact, placing at No 17). The 617,000 companies employing just over five million people in Île de France contribute to the region’s €415 billion GDP, which accounts for upwards of a third of the total for all of France. The service industries employ the most people – almost 82% of the workforce, of which 4% are in tourism. Not surprisingly, only 0.5% of Parisians are involved in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry or fishing.

Manufacturers – software developers, electronic industries, pharmaceuticals, publishers – employ about 18% of the workforce. As most industry is located outside the Périphérique, about the only factories you’re likely to see during your visit are those lining the highway from Charles de Gaulle airport. As a result, 50% of Parisians commute out of – rather than into – the city every day to work.

That is, those who have a job to commute to do. Unemployment is currently at a low of around 7.5% nationally, and the jobless rate for Paris is about half that figure. However, for youths living in the dire housing estates surrounding the city, the figure reaches more than 20%, one of the reasons that the banlieues (suburbs) erupted into violence at the end of 2005. Bids by the previous government to reduce the number of jobless youth through its controversial CPE plan were stymied early the following year when a million workers and students took to the streets in protest. They argued that the law, which would allow companies with more than 20 employees to fire workers under 26 within the first two years of employment with no severance pay, encouraged a regular turnover of cut-rate staff and did not allow young people to build careers. The French government decided to withdraw the CPE altogether later in 2006.

To a certain extent the government’s ability to boost employment through training and aid is crimped: it simply doesn’t have the money. First and foremost is the need to reduce debt, which stood at almost 67% of GDP in 2007. The country was also in danger of breaching EU rules regulating national debt – again – if it didn’t cut its spending. The national public deficit was expected to rise to over 3% of GDP in 2008, which is above the EU limit.

To fill the national coffers, France has raised billions of euros by selling stakes in state-owned companies. In late 2007 and early 2008 it sold a stake of 2.5% in the power company Électricité de France and one of 3.3% in Aéroports de Paris, the company that manages Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. It’s not the first time that the government has flogged the family silver.
HOW MUCH?
An hour’s car parking: from €1 (street), €2.40 (garage)
Average fair/good seat at the opera: €40/60
Cinema ticket: €5.90 to €9.90 (adult)
Copy of Le Monde newspaper: €1.30
Coffee at a café bar: from €1.20
Grand crème at Champs-Élysées café terrace: €4.50
Metro/bus ticket: €1.50 (€10 for 10)
Entry to the Louvre: €9 (adult)
Litre of bottled mineral water: from €0.70 (supermarket), €1 (corner shop)
Pint of local beer: from €6.50 (€5 at happy hour)
Pop music CD: €13 to €18
Street snack: from €2.50 (basic crêpe or galette)

London travel cost

London can be a wincingly expensive experience, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. The main expense any visitor will have to bear is that of accommodation. To make your life easier, try hard to befriend a Londoner who has a spare room, otherwise you’ll need to budget an absolute minimum of £25 per night for a hostel dorm, rising sharply to at least £60 for a room of your own almost anywhere, and further to somewhere around £100 for a room you’re actually likely to want to spend any time in. Booking in advance is always a good plan, and most hotels will offer reductions on the room prices if you’re staying for more than a few days. Most hotels also do excellent web deals that dramatically undercut their rack rates, and, if you haven’t booked in advance, websites such as www.lastminute.com and www.laterooms.com often have some fantastic deals suitable for most budgets.

Money is an issue in other aspects as well, with the general cost of living in London being far higher than anywhere else in Britain and, unless you’re Norwegian or Japanese, probably higher than where you’ve arrived from. While prices have been tamed slightly by both the economic crisis and the fall in the value of the pound, London is never going to be a bargain city.

Eating out can be done on a budget, with plenty of good cheap eats to be had in every neighbourhood. However, even at the cheapest of the cheap, it’s no trifle – a decent sandwich will cost you around £3.50, and you’re unlikely to get much change from a tenner for a sit-down meal. London’s fashionable eating scene is a huge draw in itself, and it’s not cheap. A good meal for two with a bottle of wine is usually around the £60 to £80 mark, rising quickly to over £100 for some of the city’s more fashionable tables.

Getting around London can also be expensive. One obvious step to save cash is to get yourself an Oyster card immediately upon arrival as this gives you access to lower fares across the system and will dramatically decrease the cost of using the public transport.
HOW MUCH?
Admission to a big-name club on a Friday £15
Adult football ticket £20 to £40
Bus ticket £2
Cinema ticket £10
DVD £10
Guardian newspaper 90p
Pint of lager £3.50
Three-course meal with wine/beer from £30
Tube ride within zone 1 £4
Tube ride within zone 1 with an Oyster card £1.60
West End theatre ticket £50
Entertainment is likewise not cheap: cinema tickets in the West End have long since crossed the £10 threshold and many cinemas in further out areas are following, meaning seeing a film for under a tenner is becoming a bargain, although art-house and independent cinemas do still offer much more competitive prices. The big-name gigs are also fairly expensive, usually starting at around £20 and going up to £150 for a superstar at Wembley or Earl’s Court. Clubbing is a mixed bag: a Saturday night at Fabric will set you back £20 just for entry, while some of the best clubs in town are free or very cheap – it’s just a question of research. Flyers with discounted entry rates are available all over the West End in music and fashion stores.