Lyon is generally considered to be 20% cheaper than Paris, but that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t one of the most costly cities in France to live in. In fact, prices are high on just about everything. If you’re going to be living in a room or apartment in Lyon, one person can expect to spend a total of at least €1,200 to €1,500 each month, depending on how often you dine out, if you need to buy clothes and which neighborhood you choose to live in. But keep in mind that living in Lyon is definitely worth the added expense. You just need to be sure that you set a budget and then stick to it!
Here are a few estimates for housing:
Of course, these prices are for purchasing foods at grocery stores to cook at home. If you have roommates, you can all save a lot of money by splitting the costs and making meals together. Plus, if you wait to buy your fresh produce and other foods at the weekend markets, then you can get your ingredients even cheaper.
Now, if you find that you like to eat out or need to do so occasionally by necessity, some of the restaurants closest to the university area generally offer menu specials or even student discounts. Ask some of your classmates who have been in Lyon for a while for the best places to get a delicious, budget-conscious meal.
Traditional Lyonnais bistros are known as "bouchons," and they offer inexpensive meals with large portions, so that you never walk away hungry. If you dine earlier in the evening, many even offer “early bird” specials.
Restaurants in Lyon offer both fixed-price menus and à la carte meal options. When choosing from the fixed-price menu, you can typically save more money that way. There are also food trucks that serve made-from-scratch meal options. And at Marché Quai Saint-Antoine, the fresh pizzas and empanadas are delicious.
Fortunately, one of the few things that is affordable in France is participating in its many cultural activities. In fact, many museums and galleries even offer free admission to students under the age of 26. For those that charge a fee, consider purchasing the Lyon City Card, which is €22 for one day, €32 for two days and €42 for three days, which also includes the Aquarium of Lyon and the Opéra National de Lyon.
If you’d like to see the city from the water, the most budget-friendly way is to take the Confluence Shopping Center riverboat, which runs along certain areas of the river for only €2.
If you like second-hand shopping, then you’re definitely in the right place. On Sundays, you can find an open-air arts and crafts market, located near the Palais de Justice. For vitnage books, go over the bridge to Marché des Bouquinistes to shop for hours.