How Much Does It Cost to Bike Across France?

Nov 02, 2015    /    budgeting + saving

As you may already know, this September I packed up everything I owned, loaded it onto a vintage Swiss military bicycle, and made the long, hard journey almost 1,500 kilometers across France on the Eurovelo 6 long-distance cycle path.

The path began in Basel, Switzerland, and continued (in a not-exactly-straight fashion) along the banks of a number of rivers, including the Loire and the Canal du Centre, finally ending at France’s Atlantic Coast.

I started my cycling trip on August 30th, finished cycling on September 25th, and spent the final few days of the month in Paris processing, healing, and catching up with friends. As usual, I’ve tried to track every expense along the way and today I’m going to share them with you.

Without further ado, then…my budget for a month-long cycling trip in France:


Category Euros Dollars
Accommodations 1,278.27 $1,448.04
Transportation 231.58 $262.34
Groceries & supplies 390.40 $442.25
Eating/drinking out 596.57 $675.80
Entertainment & activities 53.50 $60.61
Luna (vet bills, supplies)
Health & wellness 99.75 $113.00
Business 36.54 $41.39
Other 42.50 $48.14
Totals 2729.11 $3091.58

Notes on my spending:

I originally planned to camp most nights, but after two nights sleeping on the hard ground after a long day of cycling, I realized that I really needed to rest my aching muscles in a real bed. I love camping, but not after 70 or 90 or 100 kilometers of cycling. This knocked my accommodation budget way up, but the combination of doing something physically trying during the day, working through some intense feelings, and this being my first vacation in two years made it feel worthwhile to me to spend a little more.

That said, I did get a handful of free nights along the way: for one night when I stayed with a host from warmshowers (the cyclist version of couch surfing), for a few really wonderful nights in Paris when I stayed at the home of a new cyclist friend I’d met online (thanks Aaron!), for one luxurious and much-needed night in Basel, Switzerland, where a fancy luxe hotel offered me a free night in exchange for a review (more on that soon), and for two also-much-needed nights in a countryside gite. So my budget was saved from going even higher.

Anyway, if you did this same route, but managed to camp almost every night, you could probably reduce this budget by at least half. And if you’re staying in hotels all along the way, expect to add at least another 25% to the budget above.

The transportation budget above includes my train tickets to Basel, Switzerland, from Slovenia, train tickets and metro tickets within France, and my train from the end of the cycle path to Paris.

If you keep up with my budgets, you already know that my food budgets were a lot higher than usual this month. Part of this is because when you’re cycling you just eat more. Part is because staying in hotels doesn’t really lend itself to cooking, so you end up eating out or at least buying pre-made stuff at the grocery store, which costs more.

Entertainment and activities includes entrance fees to a handful of castles and/or castle grounds.

And even though I wasn’t working, you’ll notice a small amount of business expenses. These are mostly monthly fees (for things like e-junkie, the service I use to sell books here on the website) and other expenses that keep on going even when I’m not working.

Finally, don’t forget that this budget doesn’t include yearly health insurance premiums. For details on how I manage those and other overarching expenses during full-time travel, visit this extensive post



Interested in seeing more travel budgets? You’ll find them all here.


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2 Comments
  • Una Nelson-White
    November 3, 2015

    There is a compromise between camping and hotel stays. Stay at hostels or Pensiones. Hostels are often not much more expensive than camping. Pensiones are always cheaper that hotels, but more expensive than hostels, because you get a private room, but no private bath. If you stay at hostels, you share a room with another travelers, but you get a bunk, but you usually need a sleep sheet. You also can save money on food, because they provide a community kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals.

    • gigigriffis
      November 3, 2015

      Hi Una,

      Hostels weren’t really an option for me for two reasons, the first being that there weren’t many in the places I stayed (I tend to stay in small towns, not bigger cities) and the second being that most hostels are not dog friendly unless you get a private room, which costs the same as a budget hotel room generally.

      But you’re right that they’re an option for other travelers, certainly.

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