What's the current cost of living in France?
There is always discussion over the cost of living in Europe compared to the UK – France often tops the list of expensive countries in the Eurozone, so it’s important to know what your day to day cost of living will be.
Every spring, the France Property Guide conducts a price comparison to compare the cost of food and general household items in equivalent French and British supermarkets; in this instance, we have compared France’s Carrefour to Tesco in the UK.
Find bargains at the local markets
It is very important to remember that shopping in outdoor local markets is incredibly popular in France; practically every town and village has at least a once weekly market and prices are much cheaper here than they are in the supermarket. These markets are not just for food, but also stock clothing, jewellery, household items, car parts and, indeed, most items.
Food in France is not that dissimilar to that in the UK, but you are less likely to find ready meals or processed foods.
It is important to remember that shopping in outdoor local markets is incredibly popular in France, and prices are much cheaper here than they are in the supermarket.
Eating out in France
Eating out in France is generally cheaper than in the UK – except in the very upmarket restaurants, or those in cities like Paris and Bordeaux. Most restaurants will offer a ‘prix fixe’ menu, which is extremely good value – and, as you would expect, you will find a huge choice of wine available.
Gas prices and household expenses
Petrol and diesel are not far off UK prices; household bills, too, are roughly the same. The two taxes everyone pays as a property owner here, the taxe d’habitation and the taxe fonciere, equate to the UK’s Council Tax – and they also include the cost of the TV Licence. They will vary with the amenities of the town or village, as well as the size and type of property: whether it has land attached, or a pool, for example.
Services such as hairdressing, beauty treatments and opticians are excellent and usually cheaper than those in the UK. The French take pride in their appearance, meaning you are likely to find all three of these services in even the smallest of towns and some villages – but clothes can be expensive, especially with the 20% sales tax. However, there are some excellent mail order companies such as La Redoute and 3 Suisses, which offer clothes and household items such as bed linen and towels. You can even opt to have them delivered to a nearby local shop, so you do not have to worry about being in for a delivery.
Home decoration and renovation
DIY goods, such as paint, will generally be more expensive than you are used to, as France has not yet caught up with the UK in terms of ‘Do-it-yourself’! We have noticed however that these are gradually coming down; and more and more folk are interested in doing home renovations.
|Item||France||France||UK cost**||UK cost**||Comparison France vs. UK|
|British style loaf of bread||€1.20||£0.86||€0.77||£0.55||HIGHER|
|2 pints of milk||€2.40||£1.72||€1.10||£0.79||HIGHER|
|500g cheese||€5.00||£3.59||€4.19 for 450g –€4.65 for 500g||£3.00 for 450g – £3.33 for 500g||HIGHER|
|200g jar instant coffee||€5.50||£3.95||€3.91||£2.80||HIGHER|
|2 medium chicken breasts||€4.00||£2.87||€4.19||£3.00||LOWER|
|500g fresh fish (e.g. salmon)||€6.00||£4.31||€5.59||£4.00||HIGHER|
|Laundry detergent (40 washes)||€9.00||£6.46||€8.38||£6.00||HIGHER|
|Washing up liquid||€1.80||£1.29||€1.05 for 450ml – €1.01 for 433ml||£0.75 for 450ml – £0.72 for 433ml||HIGHER|
|Tube of toothpaste 75ml||€2.80||£2.01||€1.33||£0.95||HIGHER|
|2l Coca-Cola||€1.80||£1.29||€2.58 for 1.75ml – €2.95 for 2l||£1.85 for 1.75l – £2.11 for 2l||LOWER|
|40g chocolate bar||€0.80||£0.57||€0.84 for 43g – €0.78 for 40g||£0.60 for 43g –£0.56 for 40g||HIGHER|
|1 400g can of dog food||€1.90||£1.36||€0.63||£0.45||HIGHER|
|1 litre petrol||€1.46||£1.05||€1.58||£45.00||LOWER|
|1 litre diesel||€1.35||£0.97||€1.66||£97.00||LOWER|
|Monthly water cost for three bedroom property||€40.00||£28.72||€62.74||£45.00||LOWER|
|Monthly electricity cost for three bedroom property||€80.00||£57.46||€135.24||£97.00||LOWER|
|Monthly internet + satellite cost||€55.00||£39.50||€48.40||£35.00||HIGHER|
|Property/council tax for three bedoom property per month||€100.00||£71.82||€2549.75 per annum- €212.44 per month||£1825.36 per annum –£152.11 per month||LOWER|
|Glass of house white wine||€2.50||£1.80||€4.18||£3.00||LOWER|
|Bottle of beer in a restaurant||€3.00||£2.15||€4.32||£3.10||LOWER|
|Main course in local restaurant||€16.00||£11.49||€14.81||£10.62||HIGHER|
*Based on GBP/EUR rate of 1.3923, 12/05/2015.
**UK food cost compared to Tesco.com 12/05/2015, fuel and eating out costs are an average on 12/05/2015.
The France Buying Guide walks you step-by-step through each stage of the property buying process in France, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: