Cost of Living in France

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The cost of living in France is high, especially in the 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 less extravagant lifestyle. 

Expat salaries in France 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-power positions. 

That said, the pull of France is that plenty of money isn't needed to enjoy a high quality of life. This is especially true in the south of France as well as some of 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. On the other hand, expat 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 in the UK, which means that the sale of property in the UK can provide funds for a new home in France and still cover 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. Prices of electricity and gas are fairly average, but air conditioning can be expensive, especially in the south, where even the most fastidious household accountants will be tempted by the heat.

Cost of clothing in France 

A 20 percent sales tax in France makes everything slightly more expensive than many other countries in Europe, but clothes are notoriously expensive. This means that expats must often choose between pricey boutiques, speciality stores or upscale department stores and low-priced, poor quality goods. A plain T-shirt can cost as much as 50 EUR.

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 easy. 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 cities and expats living in the countryside may need to buy a car, which can make village life slightly more expensive than anticipated. 

Cost of living chart for France 

Prices vary across France – these are average costs for Paris in June 2018. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly)

Furnished two-bedroom house

 4,100 EUR

Unfurnished two-bedroom house

 3,200 EUR

Furnished two-bedroom apartment 

 2,600 EUR

Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment

 2,300 EUR

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

 1.35 EUR

Dozen eggs

 3.45 EUR

White Bread (1 loaf)

 1.70 EUR

Rice (1kg)

 2.10 EUR

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 7.65 EUR

Public transportation

One-way ticket (local transport)

 1.90 EUR

Taxi rate per km

 1.30 EUR

Petrol (litre)

1.45 EUR

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 8 EUR

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

 3.15 EUR


 3.40 EUR

Bottle of beer

 7 EUR

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

 30 EUR


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

 28.20 EUR

Mobile call rate (mobile to mobile per minute)

 0.25 EUR

Basic utilities (includes electricity, water and refuse)

 150 EUR

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