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How much does it cost to live in France

By Aline
Reading Time: 5 minutes
cost of living france

France might appear at first to be an expensive place to live. But the cost of living in France is completely achievable for those who wish to live and study in France – as long as you do some preparation.

To get an understanding of the cost of living in France as a student, we broke down the typical expenses into different categories that students usually tend to spend money on.

Please note that the costs in this article are based on averages, and your actual cost of living will vary depending on factors such as your location in France, the school you attend, the duration of your studies, your accommodation, lifestyle, and spending habits.

cost of living france

Cost per City

Your actual cost of living will vary depending on your location in France. Some big cities like Paris are obviously more expensive than smaller cities like Aix-en-Provence, but regardless of which city you choose, it should primarily be a matter of lifestyle and location preferences rather than a decision made solely based on the cost of living. In any city, you’ll find ways to adjust your budget and enjoy your time in France without breaking the bank.

Here you can read more on the specific cost of living in the city of your choice:

Tuition

France is known for its relatively affordable higher education system, especially in comparison to countries like the USA or the UK. Tuition fees for higher education are designed to be affordable, with significant subsidies for European students and reasonable fees for non-European students:

European Students:
– Bachelor: €170
– Master: €243
– Engineering: €601
– Doctoral: €380
Non-European Students:
– Bachelor: €2,770
– Master: €3,770

Source Campus France: https://www.campusfrance.org/en/tuition-fees-France

Studying French in a language school in France will cost you roughly 640-1000€ per month. See our programs here: https://gogofrance.com/en/language-schools-in-france/

This structure makes France an appealing destination for students seeking high-quality, affordable education, regardless of their nationality.

You can read more about the comparison of education costs between France, the USA, and the UK here:
https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/education-costs-in-france-and-the-usa/
https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/education-costs-in-france-vs-the-uk/

Accommodation

Accommodation is likely the most significant monthly expense for students. Costs vary widely depending on location, type of housing, and whether you’re willing to have roommates.

On average:

  • Rent for a studio apartment: €500 – €1,000
  • Room in a shared apartment: €300 – €800
  • University residence room: €200 – €500

Utilities and internet may add an additional €150 to monthly expenses, though many student accommodations include these in the rent.

Learn how to find accommodation in France here: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/how-to-find-accommodation-in-france/

Financial Aids

International students in France with a long-term visa may qualify for housing assistance from the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales), potentially reducing housing costs significantly. Financial aid types include APL, ALS, or ALF, with the average monthly APL for a single person in standard rentals about €150.

Make a simulation here: https://wwwd.caf.fr/mesdemarches/faireunesimulation/lelogement

cost of living france

Transportation

Public transportation systems across French cities offer affordable options for students, with many cities providing monthly passes for around €10-€30.

Groceries

Groceries can cost around €200 – €300 per month, depending on dietary preferences. The offer can range from local outdoor markets to international supermarkets, allowing students to manage their food expenses according to their budgets.

Some of the items students regularly cost:

  • Soy Milk: €1.50 – €2.50 per liter
  • Eggs (pack of 10): €2.50 – €4.00
  • Lettuce: €1.00 – €1.50 per head
  • Avocado: €1.00 – €2.00 each
  • Pasta (500g): €0.90 – €2.00
  • Coffee (filter, pack of 10): €2.00 – €4.00
  • Tomatoes: €2.00 – €3.00 per kg
  • Bananas: €1.50 – €2.50

Eating out, while more expensive, is also manageable with many bistros, cafes, and university canteens offering student deals for €10 – €15 per meal.

cost of living france

Internet and Phone

Staying connected is a key part of student life, and operators in France offer various options for mobile phone plans and home internet, catering to different needs and budgets.

Students can choose from prepaid or monthly contracts starting at €10-€15 for basic 20G data, calls, and texts. Monthly rates for reliable internet suitable for streaming and online classes begin at €20-€30. Faster fiber optic connections cost about €30-€50.

Promotions and student discounts are common, offering ways to save on these essential services.

Leisure

France offers numerous affordable cultural and leisure activities for students. Here’s a snapshot of potential expenses:

  • Public Parks and Picnics: Enjoy free relaxation and gatherings in beautiful parks like Paris’ Luxembourg Gardens or Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or.
  • Beach Days: Coastal cities offer free beach access for swimming, surfing, or sunbathing in places like Nice, Biarritz, and Marseille.
  • Cultural Festivals: Participate in cultural festivals across France, with many offering free events or discounted student tickets.
  • Outdoor Activities: Explore nature through hiking or cycling in areas like the Alps or Provence, with most trails and parks freely accessible.
  • Art Workshops: Join low-cost or free art workshops and classes available in community centers, museums, and galleries.
  • Local Markets: Discover local life and specialties by visiting markets, a free way to enjoy the local culture.
  • Walking Tours: Learn about city history and culture through free or “pay-what-you-wish” walking tours offered in many cities.
  • Public Libraries: Access a range of free resources, events, and workshops at public libraries and cultural centers.

With these examples, a modest monthly leisure budget of €100 to €200 can cover a variety of experiences, blending cultural immersion with social life.

Health

Health insurance is mandatory for students in France under a long-term visa. Non-European students need to register to the national health system (Sécurité Sociale), which is free and covers the majority of health care costs. However, you may still need to contribute a modest amount to a mutuelle (supplementary health insurance), although this is optional. This additional coverage can further reduce any out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare services not fully covered by the Sécurité Sociale.

Here you can learn more about the French healthcare system:
https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/how-the-french-healthcare-system-works/
https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/securite-sociale-faq/

Income

In France, student visas typically allow you to work up to 964 hours per year, equivalent to 60% of the full legal work year.

Many students successfully find jobs teaching their native language to French locals. Other part-time opportunities include working in restaurants, cafés, hotels, local stores, and more. The minimum wage (SMIC) is €9.22 (net amount) as of January 2024.

Working 15 hours a week at the minimum wage in a café, a student could earn around €550 per month net of taxes and contributions, aiding in covering expenses and gaining valuable work experience.

cost of living france

Get an Estimate

Wondering how much does it cost to live and study in France? Use our cost of living calculator to find out! Get an estimate here: https://gogofrance.com/en/cost-of-living-in-france-calculator/

Use our cost of living calculator to estimate how much money you will need during your stay in France. Please note that these figures are estimates based on averages, and your actual cost of living will vary depending on your location in France, the school you attend, the duration of your studies, your accommodation, lifestyle, and spending habits.

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