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.

Other services

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
Baguette €0.85 £0.64 €0.63 £0.45 HIGHER
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
6 eggs €1.80 £1.29 €1.24 £0.89 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
40 teabags €3.50 £2.51 €0.98 £0.70 HIGHER
1kg apples €2.00 £1.44 €2.72 £1.95 LOWER
1kg bananas €1.00 £0.71 €0.95 £0.68 HIGHER
2 medium chicken breasts €4.00 £2.87 €4.19 £3.00 LOWER
500g pasta €1.35 £0.97 €1.05 £0.75 HIGHER
500g fresh fish (e.g. salmon) €6.00 £4.31 €5.59 £4.00 HIGHER
500g cornflake €2.60 £1.87 €2.09 £1.50 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 12/05/2015, fuel and eating out costs are an average on 12/05/2015.

Buying a House in France Guide.

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:

  Understand Brexit
  Find your property
  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

Download your free guide to buying in France

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