The cost of living in Paris often reaches dizzying heights, but the quality of life in this enchanting city more than makes up for it. Paris appeared in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2024, ranking as the 29th most expensive city out of the 226 global destinations surveyed.

Expat salaries in Paris are also considerably less lucrative than the financial packages given to those who move to the Middle East or Asia for tax-free wealth or high-powered positions. That said, living the Parisian dream on a budget is feasible, especially if you embrace the city's more affordable outskirts.

Cost of accommodation in Paris

The cost of accommodation in Paris can devour a significant portion of your income. In fact, it can easily swallow a third to a half of your monthly salary, depending on where in the city you reside.

That said, housing on the city's outskirts is naturally much more affordable than those in affluent and in-demand city-centre neighbourhoods. Affordable gems await discovery in the suburbs, nestled away from the city centre's opulence.

Utility bills are comparable to those in the rest of Europe, offering no surprises, with electricity and gas prices being rather average.

Cost of groceries and clothing in Paris

Parisian food is of the highest quality, thanks to France's strict food regulations and the French people's pride in their cuisine. Savouring exquisite Parisian fare comes at a price, but it's worth it for the abounding culinary delights. Shopping at local markets, bakeries, and cheesemongers guarantees top-quality produce.

A 20 percent sales tax in France makes purchasing general goods slightly pricier than in many other European countries. With Paris as a global fashion epicentre, Paris is home to notoriously expensive clothing stores. You may need to choose between pricey luxury boutiques with high-quality clothing and economical, lower-quality options.

Cost of transport in Paris

Paris boasts an impressive public transport system, and you will find an effortlessly mobile life without a car. If you dare to drive, you may discover that it isn't a pleasant experience, with nightmarish mazes of traffic and exorbitant parking fees. Furthermore, many employers in Paris even subsidise a portion of transport expenses, so don't be afraid to ask.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Paris

Paris leads the country in terms of the cost of eating out, and France, the birthplace of the modern restaurant, is known for the price and quality of its dining experience. Dining out in Paris can be a pricey affair, and you will probably have to budget carefully and prioritise which aspects of the Parisian lifestyle you want to experience.

If you're on a tighter budget, numerous budget-friendly entertainment options await for you. There are many things to see and do for free, like visiting one of Paris's many public parks and historical sites, and museums and galleries are generally affordable. You will have no problem soaking in the city's rich culture on a budget, especially if you keep abreast of the many events in this cultural capital.

Cost of education in Paris

For citizens and residents, public education in France is free, and some public schools, known as Sections Internationale, are specifically designed to help non-Francophones integrate.

You might consider enrolling their kids in a private school for a greater fee, although you should be aware of the distinction between privately funded and state-sponsored private schools; the latter have a better reputation.

Paris is home to most of the international schools in France. These schools are very pricey but are often favoured by expat parents because they allow their children to continue with a familiar curriculum in their home language.

Cost of healthcare in Paris

In France's capital, you will find a world-class healthcare system that balances quality and affordability. Paris boasts a robust public healthcare network called Assurance Maladie, with an array of private clinics and hospitals catering to a more exclusive clientele. The public system, funded through social security contributions, offers universal coverage for all French residents. However, it only covers some medical expenses, leaving you responsible for the remainder. Many expats purchase complementary health insurance, a mutuelle, to bridge the gap and ensure peace of mind.

La vie en rose is not without its peculiarities, though. Parisians take their healthcare seriously, and the capital's dense population can lead to long waiting times at some hospitals or clinics. Moreover, while there are English-speaking doctors, they may be difficult to find. You may find that investing in private healthcare alleviates these inconveniences, providing swift access to premium care, often in luxurious settings. In any case, whether exploring the public or private healthcare sectors, you should be prepared to navigate this labyrinthine system with patience, determination and a keen understanding of your insurance needs.

Cost of living in France chart

These are the average costs for Paris in April 2024. Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 3,100
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 2,250
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 1,450
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 980
Food and drink
Dozen eggsEUR 5.90
Milk (1 litre)EUR 1.60
Rice (1kg)EUR 2.40
Loaf of white breadEUR 1.80
Chicken breasts (1kg)EUR 8.10
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)EUR 11
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantEUR 80
Big Mac MealEUR 12.50
Coca-Cola (330ml)EUR 3.60
CappuccinoEUR 4.40
Bottle of beer (local)EUR 2.70
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)EUR 0.40
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)EUR 30
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)EUR 195
Taxi rate/kmEUR 2
City-centre public transport fareEUR 2.20
Gasoline/Petrol (per litre)EUR 2

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