Cost of living in France: city by city comparison


Updated on Apr 09 • 5 minute read

France is known for its rich culture, top-notch education, and high standard of living. But it's also a country with a relatively high cost of living, especially in popular cities like Paris. This is why it’s helpful to oversee your expenses and to budget well if you’re considering moving to France.

In this article, we’ll talk about the following:

  • Average cost of living in France
  • Average monthly expenses in different French cities
  • Rental prices in different French cities
  • Utility prices
  • Food prices
  • Transportation costs
  • Living costs in France relative to French salaries

Is it expensive to live in France?

Yes, within the EU, France is on the expensive side, especially when compared to other European countries like Italy and Spain. Its capital, Paris, ranks as the 2nd most expensive city in the world.

So how much does it cost to live in France? To answer this question, let’s take a quick look at the average living expenses in France per month.

The average cost of living in France

The average cost of living in France per month for a single person is around €1,800. It's important to remember that this's just an estimate number, and your actual cost of living in France may be higher or lower depending on your location, specific needs, and lifestyle. For instance, if you live in Paris, the average cost of living can go up to €2,200 per month.

The average cost of living in France per month:

Cost of living in FranceAverage cost per month
1-bedroom apartment€900 ($989)
Utilities€189 ($207)
Internet€30 ($33)
Monthly public transport pass€64 ($70)
Fitness club€35 ($38)
Groceries€300 ($330)
Leisure€280 ($307)
Total€1,800 ($1976)

Average living costs in France across French cities

The biggest chunk of your budget will go to the rent. But apart from the rent you'll have other monthly expenses such as groceries and public transportation. If you live in major French cities like Paris or Lyon, your average cost of living in France per month without the rent will be around €950 ($1042) and €900 ($987), respectively. In cities like Bordeaux, Marseille and Strasbourg your average cost of living will be a little bit lower, around €880 ($966) to €792 ($869) per month.

Since the cost of living varies between French cities, we've gathered a list of some of the most popular cities in France to compare their cost of living.

Average rent in France

The amount of rent you'll pay in France varies depending on the type of accommodation. Your average rent cost in France will be lower if you choose to rent a private room over an apartment.

Here's the average rent in France across some of the best cities:

CityPrivate RoomStudioApartment
Paris€700 ($768)€1,326 ($1,455)€1,802 ($1977)
Lyon€550 ($604)€1,000 ($1,097)€1,626 ($1,784)
Nice€595 ($653)€750 ($823)€1,061 ($1164)
Bordeaux€550 ($604)€609 ($668)€1,020 ($1120)
Marseille€460 ($505)€600 ($659)€733 ($804)
Strasbourg€550 ($604)€659 ($723)€890 ($977)
Montpellier€495 ($543)€650 ($713)€800 ($878)

It's worth noting that you can find cheaper or more expensive rentals, depending on your specific needs and location. So it's a good idea to research and compare prices before signing a rental contract.

Regardless of whether you’re going to France to study or work, it’s better to start looking for your dream home early. Then you’ll surely find something that fits your budget!

Average utility prices in France

ExpenseAverage cost per month
Water€40 ($44)
Electricity€79 ($87)
Gas€70 ($77)
Internet€30 ($33)
Waste Collection€20 ($22)

Depending on your contract, utilities can be either included or excluded from your rent. Considering the increasing prices for utilities across Europe, we advise you to search for places with fixed utility costs included in your rent. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can recklessly use them; otherwise, you might have to pay extra for the additional costs.

How much does food cost in France?

Overall, grocery shoppingin France is expensive compared to many other countries. Compared to other European countries, prices in France are 11% higher for everyday food products and 20% higher for fruits and vegetables.

Depending on your habits, diet, and where you shop, you can expect to pay €250–€300 per week for groceries in France. Let’s break it down:

Comparison of the average cost of food throughout France:

Milk (1 litre )€1.15($1.26)€1.15($1.26)€1.40($1.54)€1.02($1.12)
Eggs (12)€3.54 ($3.89)€3.42($3.75)€3.69($4.05)€3.08($3.38)
Tomato (1kg)€3.75($4.12)€3.74($4.10)€3.11($3.41)€2.50($2.74)
Potato (1kg)€2.21($2.43)€1.92($2.11)€1.74($1.91)€1.32($1.45)
Apples (1kg)€3.19($3.50)€2.86($2.14)€2.58($2,83)€2.67($2,93)
Banana (1kg)€2.03($2.23)€2.07($2.27)€2.27($2.49)€2.07($2.27)
White Bread (500g)€1.96 ($2.15)€1.96($2.15)€1.36($1.49)€2.24($2.46)
Local cheese (1 kg)€17.33($19.02)€17($18.66)€21($23,05)€18($19,76)
Bottle of red wine (mid-range)€9($10)€7($7.68)€8($8.78)€11$12.07)

If you want quality and price ratio, do your grocery from supermarkets like Carrefour Intermarché. For good discount deals, check discount stores such as Lidl and Aldi. If you want bio or premium products, expect to pay higher prices.

Comparison of the average prices to eat out in France:

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant€17($18.75)€16($17.64)€15($16.54)€15($16.54)
Dinner (2 courses)€38($41.90)€35($38.60)€35($38.60)€34($37.49)
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)€6.80($7.50)€6.50($7.17)€8($8.82)€5.50($6.07)
Croissant in a café€2($2.21)€1.30($1.43)€1.25($1.38)€1.25($1.38)

How much does public transport cost in France?

Public transport costs in France depend on the mode of transport and distance traveled. Frequent travelers can reduce transport costs by subscribing to weekly, monthly, or yearly subscriptions. For instance, you can get the Passe Navigo unlimited travel card in Paris. You’ll pay a one-time €5 purchasing fee and then subscribe to a weekly or monthly subscription by selecting zones.

One-way ticket€2($2.21)€1.90($2.10)€1.50($1.65)€1.70($1.87)
Monthly pass€84($92.63)€66($72.78)€42($46.31)€40($44.11)
Taxi start (normal tariff)€5($5.51)€5($5.51)€5.50($6.07)€2($2.21)
Taxi 1 km(normal tariff)€1.82($2.01)€1.55($1.71)€2.08($2.29)€1.66($1.76)
Gas (1 litre)€1.99($2.19)€1.93($2.13)€1.89($2.08)€1.89($2.08)

How to reduce your living costs in France?

Living comfortably in France on a moderate budget is possible by finding ways to save money on housing and other expenses. For example,

  • Consider living in cheaper cities like Strasbourg and Bordeaux instead of major cities like Paris and Lyon.
  • In Paris, live in student neighborhoods instead of popular neighborhoods, like Le Marais.
  • Save on utility costs by using energy-efficient appliances.
  • If you’re a student, subscribe to one of the student transport plans.
  • Apply for a housing benefit called CAF, if you’re eligible for it.

Living costs in France relative to French salaries

Now that you know the average living costs across French cities, it’s helpful to compare the cost of living with the average salaries. This will help you determine how much you need to earn to support yourself and live comfortably in France.

While living in France isn’t cheap, the average French salary is also higher than in most European countries. In 2022, the average salary in France was €2,340 net per month. Usually, the average salary changes proportionally to the city's average cost of living. To give you an example, the average salary in Paris is €2,570 per month, which is just enough to cover all your expenses, including rent.

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