In our A Total Trip series, writers document what they spent on a recent getaway. In this edition, Stephanie Ong shows us how much a weekend of food and fun cost her and her partner in Paris.

I’m a writer based in Milan, Italy, and recently went to Paris with my partner for a long weekend because it’s one of our favorite cities for culture, architecture and unparalleled sweets.

We weren’t planning on splurging, but wanted to leave room for small indulgences. As we’d visited before, we were keen to explore lesser-known haunts. 

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Pre-trip spending

We were lucky enough to be staying in a friend’s apartment in the Marais, a neighborhood that’s central and filled with great restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s also home to attractions like the Centre Pompidou and the Musée Picasso. It’s pricey, though. If you’re looking to stay in the Marais, an average apartment on Airbnb will generally cost about €800 for three nights.

Creme Brulee and daily menu on table at Bouillon Republique Paris
Splitting the crème brûlée at Bouillon Republique Paris © Stephanie Ong

On the ground


Airport transfer: We arrived around 9pm at Charles de Gaulle airport and took the RER B line train to Châtelet-Les-Halles (€11.45 per person). From there we took a taxi to the Marais (€17.20). 

Dinner: It was late so when we arrived, we headed to the one thing we knew would be open: a bouillon. These traditional places often have charming belle epoque interiors, and some of the best-value dishes you’ll find in Paris. We spent just €25.50 at Bouillon Republique in Pigalle, for an above-par appetizer of herring, two mains (we each got ratatouille) and a crème brûlée. 

Total: €65.60

Olives, wine and coffee at Chez Janou
A snack of olives before our meal at Chez Janou © Stephanie Ong


Breakfast: We were running late so we grabbed coffee and croissants (€5 total) to go from nearby Saveurs de Pains

Morning museum: Our friend was kind enough to give us a tour of the Philippe Starck Paris is Pataphysical exhibition at Musée Carnavalet (tickets €13 each). We left convinced of Starck’s quirky genius.

Lunch: Recommended to me by several friends, Chez Janou was an easy choice: a Provençal bistro where the desserts alone merit a stop. The signature chocolate mousse comes dished out from a ceramic pot; the portion we received was almost bigger than my head. We spent a total of €61.80 on a duck breast cooked to perfection, red mullet filets with tapenade, plus that enormous dessert and espresso.

Minimalist-style clothes and Scandi-style furniture on display at Merci Paris
Merci is one of Paris' most beloved concept stores © Getty Images

Shopping and galleries: The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the many galleries and boutiques in Marais. I made sure to stop at Gallerie Perrotin and Merci, Paris’ most famous concept store.

Transport: We bought a three-day electric bike pass on Lime (€7.99 each).

Dinner: Zipping through town on our newly acquired transport, we arrived at Kodawari Ramen (Tsukiji) in the 2nd arrondissement. The restaurant evokes Tokyo’s fish market – and while the line was insane (it doesn’t accept bookings), the fish ramen lived up to the hype. We spent €41 for two bowls of ramen, an extra serving of pork and two ice teas.

On our way home, we stopped for a drink (€4 for a half pint of beer; €5 for a glass of wine) at Le Saint-Gervais, where a mix of fashion students and creatives made for standout people-watching. 

Total: €158.78

People dine on the terrace of Le Saint Gervais Paris on a sunny evening
Le Saint-Gervais is a great spot for people watching © Getty Images


Brunch: The day started slow with brunch at Breizh Café. We both opted for a savory crepe made from buckwheat flour and then split a sweet crepe (with sugar, butter and yuzu) so light and divine I could have had two (total €31.50). My partner finished his meal off with an espresso (€3) – because he’s Italian, and has to order a coffee everywhere and then complain about its quality. 

Architecture: Our next stop was the sublime apartment of architect Le Corbusier, which he tailored in minute detail to his needs and those of his wife. A 40-minute bike ride away, it was close to Villa La Roche, also designed by Le Corbusier, for a Swiss banker. We compared the two thanks to a combined entry ticket (€15 each).

Mid-century interiors of the Le Corbusier apartment in Paris
Le Corbusier’s mid-century modern apartment in Paris, where he lived from 1934 to 1965, is open to the public © Stephanie Ong

Snack: After an exhausting bike ride back, we rehydrated over two ice teas and a deeply satisfying crème brûlée–inspired cake (€21 total) at Le Loir Dans La Théière

Dinner: We decided to stay close to home and walked to Recoin, whose small plates and wine choices were recommended by friends. We ordered five dishes (€55), from blini to a plate of mouthwatering mussels, along with two glasses of wine (€7 per glass).

Total: €154.50

People dining at outdoor terraces during an evening in the Marais neighborhood Paris
Paris's historic Marais district is a convenient base if you want to sample the city's terrace culture © Shutterstock


Breakfast and transport: We bid goodbye to the city with our last pastries: an almond croissant (€2.60) and a fantastically flaky pain au chocolat (€1.85). We washed them down with two coffees (€6.20), all from Brigat, a place we’d visited the day before. An Uber (€21) took us to the train station. From there train tickets to CDG cost €11.45 each.

Total: €54.55

The final tally: €432.93 for two

Accommodation is usually the biggest cost factor when traveling to Paris. We were lucky enough to stay in a friend’s apartment; otherwise, we would have had to rethink our budget. Our biggest surprise, especially coming from Italy, was the price of coffee (€5 for a cappuccino). Our best buy was the three-day electric bike pass, which was well priced and made getting around fast and easy.

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