How Much Does a Month in France Cost?

Room at The Hotel Emeraude in Dinard, France. Probably the nicest hotel we stayed in. Lovely, but not exorbitant.

New contest alert! A while back I asked everyone to guess my weight gain after a month in France. (The short answer: 0; the long answer is here).

Now, I have another giveaway—and another contest. Be the first to guess within $100 how much a month-long stay in France cost me this year, and you’ll win a signed copy of my cookbook. And if you already have one, why not give it to a friend?

I know. It feels rather gauche to talk about money. But as a food writer/travel writer/lifestyle journalist, I like to lay bare the machinations of the things I cover. My hope is that this can help you decide if an extended trip to France would be worth it for you.

To enter this contest, you have to either answer on my Facebook page (Chez Bonne Femme) or, if you’re not on Facebook, post your  answer below.

So, to help you ascertain the figure, let me tell you a little bit about how we traveled:


• Let’s not include airfare in the total. This year, we were fortunate to have enough points to get over there for minimal amount. Airfare fluctuates so much—depending on time of year, when you buy, and where you live—let’s just leave it out the equation.

My little town: Collioure, France


• We spent 2 weeks on the road in France, traveling from Senlis (near Charles de Gaulle airport) (1 night), to Normandy (3 nights) Brittany (2 nights), Loire Valley (2 nights), Perigueux (2 nights), and Narbonne (1 night). We stay in moderately priced hotels—that is, they’re not budget hotels, but they aren’t Relais et Chateau hotels, either. Tout confort and charme.

• We landed in Collioure, France, where, for 2 weeks, we rented a vacation studio apartment, beautifully furnished with a balcony, just 1 block from the Mediterranean sea.

• We finished our trip with 3 nights in a Paris hotel before heading home.

No, we did not have foie gras every night, but we did eat well the entire trip.


• For the entire 2 weeks on the road—and then in Paris—we dined out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Again, we didn’t go to three-star Michelin spots, but we also didn’t stint, either. We had come to France to eat splendidly, and we did.

• While we stayed at our studio apartment in Collioure, I cooked often in my little French kitchen with groceries I picked up at local markets. But we did eat out now and then. Just not every night.


• We rented an economy-size car from Paris to Normandy and all the way down to the Mediterranean. That’s a lot of gas and tolls. We left the car in Collioure, and took the TGV back to Paris at the end of our stay there (tickets for that were about $230 total).

Also Keep in Mind

• The Dollar to Euro exchange rate isn’t that great. Each 1 Euro cost us from $1.30 to $1.34 the month we were there. It’s not the worst exchange rate I’ve endured ($1.40 in 2003), but it’s also not the best I’ve had in the recent past.

Post your answer today. The contest will end as soon as someone has guessed—within $100—how much we spent for a month in France, not including airfare. 

View of the fortress from my balcony in Collioure. Just around the corner is the sea.


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