The cost of living in France: what budget to live?
Cost of living in France
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The cost of living in France: what budget to live?

Mahaut Fauquet
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Living in France

Living in France can be very advantageous, especially for foreigners coming from England, Germany, the Netherlands or the United States! Of course, the cost of living in France is very different depending on the location: the big cities or the Côte d'Azur will always be more expensive than the Dordogne or Franche-Comté, for example, but thanks to its universal health system, local farmers' markets or inexpensive services, France has great economic advantages!

In this article, we will highlight the different costs related to housing, real estate and living expenses in order to help you better establish your budget.

The Cost of Real Estate

The Real Estate Market in France

The French real estate market offers a wide variety of properties, from urban apartments to country houses. Prices vary considerably depending on the location: Paris and the Côte d'Azur have a much higher than average price per square metre, while Dordogne or Picardy offer a very cheap square metre. On average, the price per square meter in France is 3.100€, with an average of 10.000€ in Paris, and 1.500 € in Dordogne.

If you're planning to buy a house or apartment in France, budget accordingly for sought-after areas, but know that good deals can be found by looking a bit away from tourist hotspots! Don't hesitate to check our local real estate section to find prices for different regions and departments.

The French real estate market

Property Tax

In addition to the purchase price of real estate, many other expenses need to be considered, including taxes, charges, maintenance fees, and insurance. As a property owner in France, property tax is one of these unavoidable local taxes. Levied once a year to fund local communities, property tax is calculated for each property by public authorities, and its amount varies from one region to another, from one municipality to another, even from one neighborhood to another. It generally represents between 0.5% and 1% of the property's value and is due by the property owner, whether an individual or a company, and not by the occupant or tenant.


Among other property-related expenses, there are obviously charges related to energy and maintenance. For a single-family home, their monthly cost is estimated on average between €200 and €400 for average water, electricity, and heating consumption.

These costs depend heavily on the energy performance of the dwelling, especially the heating system (electric, gas, or fuel). For example, for a 100 m² house heated with electricity, the average monthly cost is around €135.

Condominium Fees

In the case of an apartment in a condominium, the logic remains the same, but the expenses are shared among the owners. However, certain expense items are specific to condominium apartments and do not exist for a single-family home, such as elevator maintenance, the salary of a caretaker, maintenance of common areas, condominium insurance, and property management fees...

Condominium fees, calculated based on the share owned by each co-owner (tantièmes), vary depending on the size of the dwelling, the size of the condominium, and the services offered, but they can average from €20 to €50 per square meter per year.

Condominium fees


As for insurance, it is recommended to have homeowner's insurance to protect your property against disasters such as fire, theft, or water damage. It’s even a requirement for a property in a condominium.

The cost of homeowner's insurance will depend on the size of the property and the chosen coverage but is generally affordable, with average premiums of about €200 to €500 per year.

Example of Complete Real Estate Expenses

To give a concrete example, let's take the case of an 80 square meter apartment in Île-de-France, valued at €300,000. The property tax could amount to about €1,500 per year, condominium charges to about €2,000 per year, and homeowner's insurance to about €300 per year, depending on the coverage. Thus, in addition to the purchase cost of the property, it is essential to account for these additional expenses to have a complete picture of the cost of real estate living in France.

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The Cost of Daily Living


If you're moving to France, know that the French place great importance on food! Eating fresh and balanced meals is very important in French culture... as much as indulging in bread and cheese!

The average price of a grocery basket including basic products like bread, vegetables, dairy products, and meat is about 150 to 200 euros per month for a single person. Beware, this price varies greatly depending on the city or region! Supermarkets in Paris, or those in seaside resorts and ski stations, are much more expensive than those in provincial towns, for example!

In France, it's very common to shop at the market, which generally takes place twice a week (on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or Thursdays and Sundays, for example) and offers a great opportunity to buy fresh and local products at reduced prices.

The price of eating out varies considerably from one city to another and from one type of cuisine to another. A meal in a mid-range restaurant can cost between 15 and 40 euros per person, while dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant can quickly cost more than 100 euros per person.

Food France

Public Transportation

As for transportation, the cost varies depending on the region and frequency of use. France boasts an excellent railway network, and traveling by train is very common. The National Railway Company (SNCF) offers fast connections between major cities through high-speed trains (TGV), and regional connections with the TER. Fares vary based on distance and class chosen, but subscriptions and reduced rates are available for young people, seniors, and frequent travelers, making the train an economical option for many residents.

In urban areas, the subway, buses, and trams are the backbone of public transport. In Paris, a monthly public transport subscription (covering all modes of transport) costs about 86 euros.

French cities also encourage the use of more ecological means of transport, like bicycles, through sharing programs and dedicated infrastructure.


The use of cars in France is a significant component of the cost of living, especially in less densely populated regions where public transport alternatives are limited.

Buying a car involves various costs: the purchase price, insurance, which can vary significantly depending on the driver's age and place of residence, and the annual circulation tax. Fuel costs, though fluctuating, remain a significant expense for French households, exacerbated by high taxes on gasoline and diesel. Currently, the price of gasoline ranges between 1.7€ and 2€ per liter.

A budget must also be allocated for maintenance and repair costs, as vehicles are subject to high standards of safety and environment. The government encourages the purchase of clean vehicles through tax incentives and ecological bonuses, aiming to reduce environmental impact while offering a more economical alternative in the long term.


The telecommunications sector in France is competitive, and it's possible to find very affordable mobile phone plans and internet subscriptions.

French operators offer various packages suited to all needs, including unlimited calls in France and often internationally, as well as a significant amount of mobile data. Rates start at very accessible prices (around 2 euros per month), making mobile telephony one of the cheapest in Europe.

Home internet box offers combine high-speed internet, television, and landline telephony at competitive rates, often enhanced with additional services. This competitiveness and quality of service help reduce the cost of living for residents while ensuring maximum connectivity and accessibility.


France, known worldwide for its rich cultural heritage, offers unlimited access to a variety of cultural activities and establishments, from internationally renowned museums to theaters, cinemas, and libraries. Although access to some monuments and museums can be costly (between 10€ and 15€ per ticket), many initiatives, such as free access on the first Sunday of the month for national museums or reduced rates for young people, students, and seniors, make culture accessible to everyone.

Festivals, exhibitions, and concerts, regularly organized throughout the country, offer an immersion into French cultural diversity, ranging from classical music to contemporary arts. The commitment of cities and local communities to promoting the arts and culture results in an abundance of free or low-cost events, allowing everyone to fully enjoy French cultural life without significantly increasing the cost of living.

Culture France

Public and Health Services


In terms of education, France heavily subsidizes its educational system. Tuition fees at public universities are relatively low, generally around 170 to 650 euros per year for European students, and a bit more for non-European students. Moreover, many scholarships and financial aids are available for students.


France boasts one of the best health systems in the world, with very advantageous universal coverage. Coupled with supplemental health insurance, the national health insurance covers a very large part (or even all) of medical expenses. With the third-party payment system, applied in many health centers, it's even possible not to pay anything upfront.

A consultation with a general practitioner without surcharge costs 25 euros, of which 70% is reimbursed by Social Security.

  • at a general practitioner: 25 euros (16.50 euros reimbursed)
  • at a specialist: 25 euros (16.50 euros reimbursed)
  • at a gynaecologist, an ophthalmologist: 30 euros (20 euros reimbursed)
  • at a dentist: 30 euros (the part reimbursed depends on the treatment)

If you choose a sector 2 doctor, you should know that you will still be reimbursed on a sector 1 rate. For example, for a consultation with a specialist for 100 euros, you will be reimbursed 16.50 euros. It is the mutual insurance company that covers part or all of the remaining costs.

Health France

Summary of Essential Costs:

  • Average Monthly Salary: About 2294€
  • 1 Liter of Gasoline: About 1.9€
  • Average Price of a New Car: About 35000€
  • Average Monthly Utilities: About 165€
  • Monthly Internet Subscription: About 30€
  • Monthly Mobile Plan: Starting from 2€
  • Gym Membership (per month): About 33€
  • Movie Ticket: About 11€ per ticket
  • Tennis Court Rental: About 14.8€ per hour
  • Lunch at a Restaurant: About 15€ per person
  • Dinner at a Restaurant: About 30€ per person
  • Bus Ticket: About 1.7€ per ticket

A balanced cost of living

The cost of living in France is therefore balanced between relatively high taxes but free or very well reimbursed services,  such as health or education, and very cheap access to culture and telephony. Overall, France is a good country to live in, even in the most expensive areas!

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