Cost of Living in France

The cost of living in France is high, especially in the large urban centres such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Expenses decrease considerably the further one goes 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-powered positions. 

That said, the pull of France is often that it's possible to enjoy an excellent quality of life on a budget. 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. It can easily swallow a third to a half of their monthly salary if residing in an established 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.

In France, homeowners pay less for more space than those elsewhere in Europe. This explains why many expats sell property in their home country and can afford to buy property in France and cover the cost of renovation as well. 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. While air conditioning can be expensive, it isn't as commonly used in Europe as in the USA. Many apartments don't come with air conditioning facilities installed.

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.

Cost of transport in France

France boasts an impressive public transportation system. Expats living in 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. 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 December 2019. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

 2,700 EUR

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 2,400 EUR

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

 1,500 EUR

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 1,200 EUR

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

 1.15 EUR

Dozen eggs

 3.50 EUR

White bread (loaf)

 1.50 EUR

Rice (1kg)

 1.80 EUR

Packet of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 8 EUR

Public transportation

One-way ticket (local transport)

 1.90 EUR

Taxi rate per km

 1.30 EUR

Petrol (litre)

1.55 EUR

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 8.50 EUR

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

 3 EUR


 4 EUR

Bottle of beer

 7 EUR

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

 30 EUR


Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

 25 EUR

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

 0.15 EUR

Basic monthly utilities (electricity, water and refuse)

 160 EUR

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