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 in France 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
When it comes to dining out, the cost of living in France is much cheaper. Prices are normally less than in the UK, apart from in high-class establishments or large cities like Paris and Bordeaux. The average cost of a meal is just €12. 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
The cost of living in France and the UK is the same for gas and electricity, more or less. Household bills, too, are roughly the same.
The average water bill, depending on the size of the household, ranges from €115 (single-person household) to €304 (couples with children) annually. For gas, it ranges from €221 (single-person household) to €369 (couples with children) annually. Electricity is more expensive, going from €454 to €797.
The two taxes everyone pays as a property owner here, the taxe d’habitation and the taxe foncière, equate to the UK’s council tax. They also include the TV licence, or contribution à l’audiovisuel public. These will vary depending on the location, the size of the property and even who occupies it – you don’t always need to pay both, so be sure to read the rules linked above.
Services such as hairdressing, beauty treatments and opticians are excellent and usually cheaper than those in the UK. The average ‘shampooing, coupe et brushing‘ costs €19 for men and €32 for women. Of course, you can find much lower prices in rural areas. 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.
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||€1.90||£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. Additionally, there are also practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: