The cost of living in France is not wildly different from that in the UK. We have been researching costs for you and below you will find a list of everyday items including costs of home services and utilities as well as transport, leisure facilities, home improvement costs etc.
Regarding everyday shopping, there is a large variety of supermarkets now in France, as in the UK with Leclerc and Carrefour perhaps being the top range, and Lidl and Aldi at the bottom range. The larger slightly out of town mega stores offer the greatest range of goods and will likely be slightly cheaper than the smaller supermarkets. However, it is worth bearing in mind that for electrical/kitchen goods, your local shop may well be a better deal although will not have as great a range.
Market shopping is very popular in France for food items and will often be cheaper – plus it is much more fun to scour your local market and perfectly common in France to actually pick up your fruits and vegetables to test them for ripeness. No-one minds you doing this!
Most supermarkets stock a fairly wide range of foreign goods, with an English, Portuguese, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese section. Indeed, whereas once upon a time it was difficult to find a Chinese or Japanese restaurant, these now seem to be springing up in many parts of the country as people travel so much more and even the French seem to be getting a taste for these types of food as well as their own traditional French foods.
As part of our survey, we assessed the following costs, using the GBP/EUR: 1.28 from 18th May 2016.
|Grocery basket in the average supermarket||Cost in France*||Cost in UK**||Comparison|
|Loaf of bread||£0.96||£0.89||France is 8% more expensive|
|12 medium eggs||£2.07||£1.75||France is 18% more expensive|
|2 pints of fresh milk||£0.97||£1.00||France is 3% cheaper|
|1kg apples||£1.38||£2.00||France is 31% cheaper|
|1kg bananas||£1.31||£0.68||France is 93% more expensive|
|500g tomatoes||£1.10||£0.69||France is 59% more expensive|
|500g cheese||£3.45||£2.50||France is 38% more expensive|
|500 grams chicken breasts||£1.90||£3.50||France is 46% cheaper|
|500 grams beef||£4.83||£4.00||France is 21% more expensive|
|500 grams fresh fish||£3.45||£6.75||France is 49% cheaper|
|1 kilo potatoes||£0.69||£0.80||France is 14% cheaper|
|500 grams pasta||£2.07||£0.59||France is 251% more expensive|
|500 grams cornflakes||£1.24||£0.99||France is 25% more expensive|
|40 gram chocolate bar||£0.52||£0.60||France is 13% cheaper|
|200 grams instant coffee||£2.76||£2.80||France is 1% cheaper|
|T20 tea bags||£1.03||£0.75||France is 37% more expensive|
|Bottle red wine||£4.48||£6.50||France is 31% cheaper|
|Pint of domestic beer||£1.72||£4.50||France is 62% cheaper|
|1.5 litre bottle Coca-Cola||£1.03||£1.84||France is 44% cheaper|
|500ml washing up liquid||£1.38||£0.59||France is 134% more expensive|
|100ml toothpaste||£1.03||£1.50||France is 31% cheaper|
|40 wash laundry detergent||£4.14||£9.00||France is 54% cheaper|
|12 x 400g dog food||£4.14||£4.75||France is 13% cheaper|
|Home Costs monthly – comparing a two bedroom apartment||***|
|Electricity monthly||£ 62.50||£540 (£45 monthly)†||France is 39% more expensive|
|Internet||£ 20.69||£20.77||France is <1% cheaper|
|Mobile phone tariff||£ 13.79||£439 (yearly, so £36.59 monthly)||France is 62% cheaper|
|Council tax||£ 310.34****||£1200.61 (yearly, so £100.05 monthly) ††||France is 210% more expensive|
|TV licence||£ – *****||£12.12|
|Pool maintenance||£ 27.59||N/A!|
|Litre of petrol||£ 1.09||£1.09||Equal|
|Litre of diesel||£ 0.83||£1.09||France is 24% cheaper|
|One way train ticket to large town||£ 10.34||£17.80||France is 58% cheaper|
|Monthly train pass in large town||£ 68.97||£60.00||France is 15% more expensive|
|Taxi starting tariff||£ 1.72||£3.00||France is 43% cheaper|
|Taxi km tariff in large town||£ 2.07||£1.40||France is 48% more expensive|
|Three course set meal||£ 19.53||£25.00||France is 22% cheaper|
|Glass white wine||£ 1.72||£4.50||France is 62% cheaper|
|Bottle of beer||£ 2.76||£3.50||France is 21% cheaper|
|Cup of coffee||£ 1.10||£2.51||France is 56% cheaper|
|Cinema ticket||£ 8.62||£9.00||France is 4% cheaper|
|Gym/fitness club monthly||£ 41.38||£33.56||France is 23% more expensive|
|Property (for property outlined above)||£ 234.38||£100.00||France is 134% more expensive|
|Car (for the average 5 door hatchback||£ 248.28||£300.00||France is 17% cheaper|
*France grocery costs from Carrefour supermarket. All other France costs from personal expat experience.
** prices from Tesco.com, 18th May 2016
*** All UK housing, transport and social costs from www.numbeo.com unless otherwise stated.
****France Council tax includes two payments, taxe d’habitation and the tax foncière.
*****France council taxes include the TV licence
Other costs you may wish to consider
Parking is very reasonable in France. Most town car parks offer a half hour free and you will find plenty of meters on public roads which are free between the hours of midday and 2 pm – a nice touch I have always thought.
The one area where you will find you are spending more in France will be for home improvements/renovation. Paint is very expensive in France and frankly not good quality. There are now however several sites selling British paint to your home in France. The concept of DIY is relatively new in France and thus building materials, glass etc. is more expensive but there are signs that prices are coming down gradually for such items as the French are starting to do more work themselves in their homes rather than employ a builder/artisan.
In summary, the general cost of living is around the same as in the UK. By shopping around, making full use of the wonderful markets, buying local wine and filling up your car at the cheapest petrol station each time, you will find that the cost of living is affordable and that the lifestyle you now have means that you will not be worrying too much about how much it costs to live in France!