Cost of Living in France

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Piggy Bank to show cost of living in France
The cost of living in France is high, especially within the country’s large urban centres, such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Expenses decrease considerably further into the rural countryside, a result of both lower prices and a typically less extravagant lifestyle. 
Furthermore, expat salaries in France are rather average, and considerably less lucrative than the financial packages given to those who move to the Middle East or Asia for tax-free wealth or high-power positions. 
That said, the pull of France, as any of the countless foreign retirees will attest to, is that plenty of money is not necessity to enjoy a high quality of life. This is especially true in the storied South of France and among the charming provincial villages. 

Cost of accommodation in France


Accommodation in France is frequently the most intimidating expense for expats, and can easily swallow between one third and half of their monthly salary if residing in a posh urban centre. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment within Paris city proper goes for no less than 800 EUR, easily climbing to 3,000 EUR for a stylish abode within the sought-after first, second or third arrondissements.

On the contrary, expats who are members of the impressive contingency of retirees that have flocked to France in search of sunny shores and purchased property may not even have a monthly mortgage to worry about. Property taxes in France are lower than those in the UK, which means that the sale of property in the UK can provide funds for a new home in France, as well as for renovation costs.

Expats in this situation need only be concerned with the rising cost of utilities.

Utility bills are comparable to those in the rest of Europe; however, because of the monopoly held by the national telecoms provider, calls and broadband costs in France remain high. Prices of electricity and gas are fairly average, but air conditioning can be particularly expensive; this is especially true in the south, where even the most fastidious household accountants will be tempted by the heat.

Expats should budget around EUR 200 per month for utility costs associated with a two-bedroom, fully-furnished and spacious residence (including electricity, water, Internet and a landline). 

Cost of clothing in France 


Clothes are notoriously expensive in France, with very few instances of high-quality mass produced clothing. This means that expats must often choose between boutiques, specialty stores or upscale department stores, which are notably expensive, and low-priced, poor quality goods. A plain T-shirt can cost as much as 40 EUR.

There is a 20 percent sales tax in France, which makes everything slightly more expensive than many other countries in Europe. 

Cost of transport in France

France boasts an impressive public transportation system, and expats living in the big cities will find that life without a car is an easily realised reality. Furthermore, many employers in Paris even subsidise a portion of transport costs – so expats should not be afraid to ask.

Rural infrastructure, on the other hand, is not as comprehensive as that of the larger metropolises. Expats living in the countryside may therefore find it necessary to buy a car, which can make village life slightly more expensive than anticipated. 

Cost of living chart for France (Based on Paris, 2014)

(Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices)
Accommodation (monthly)
Furnished two-bedroom apartment 

EUR 1,200

Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment

EUR 900

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 0.95

Cheese (500g)

EUR 6.60

Dozen Eggs

EUR 2.77

White Bread (1 loaf)

EUR 1.29

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.77

1 packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 6.60

Public transportation

One-way ticket (local transport)

EUR 1.60

Taxi rate per km (Paris) EUR 1.24
Eating out
Big Mac Meal EUR 7
Coca Cola (330ml)    EUR 2.41
Cappuccino EUR 2.65
Bottle of beer EUR 4
Three course meal at a mid-range restaurant EUR 25
Internet uncapped ADSL per month EUR 29
Electricity (average per month for standard household) EUR 62

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