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The Cost of Living in France

The Cost of Living in France.

What is the cost of living in France, you ask?

Well, as in the United States, it depends on where you want to live. Paris is ranked among the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, but if you take a drive outside the capital, prices decrease dramatically.

For example, the cost of living in Bordeaux, in southwestern France, is 25 percent less than that of New York City, according to Numbeo.com. But for quality of life, calculating such factors as cost of living, government spending, work-life balance, retirement age, and life expectancy, France ranks first among 10 European nations, with the United Kingdom coming in last, according to the website uSwitch.com.

A lot of these variables can change depending on your own particular circumstances, but on average France wins the contest for Europe because of its average retirement age (60), a number of work hours per week (38), and a number of holidays each year (36), as well as its more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year. Not to mention, the World Health Organization nearly always rates France as the best country in the world for the quality of its health care.

Overall, real estate in France is still depressed from la crise of 2009. It has recovered somewhat since its low in 2009, but it’s still not back to the highs seen in 2004 and 2005. Several banks are predicting a subtraction this year on prices, from 5 to 8 percent. The price per square meter for apartments in France is 3,000 euros, or $3,975; and 2,000 euros, or $2,650, for detached houses. One square meter is approximately 10 square feet, so buying a 2,000-square-foot house in France should cost you around $530,000. That said, in the country, meaning anywhere that’s 20 minutes or so from a decent-sized town, you can find a fixer-upper for 150,000–200,000 euros, or $200,000–265,000. So while real estate in France isn’t as cheap as it is in, say, a country in South or Central America, it’s still in the realm of affordable for a lot of Americans looking to settle there.

Once here, you’ll find property taxes to be quite a bit less than in the States. High-quality food products will often be less, as will wine, because it is the norm to drink wine at every evening meal. Cars tend to be more expensive, as does petrol. Electricity and gas/oil for your heating can be slightly higher than in the United States, but health care costs are dramatically lower. If you have children, schools are free and child care is very affordable. Universities, which are harder to gain admission to than their U.S. counterparts, are much more affordable.

Overall, if you are careful with your real estate purchase and watch how much you drive, you can live on less in France as long as you are not living in Paris. France is a better place to retire to than to work in because tax rates increase to 40 percent in households where two people together makeover 139,500 euros per year. There are a lot of people who find their way around the system by various means, including setting up corporate structures in France or working in the auto-entrepreneur system for the self-employed. There are a plethora of books out there to answer all your questions on moving to France, such as David Hampshire’s Living and Working in France and Rosanne Knorr’s Grown-Up’s Guide to Living in France.


The French Lifestyle Defines France.

To the French everything is surrounded by their lifestyle. In a country where culture is a mix of old world charm and modern sophistication, we find through this eclectic mix a lifestyle that is clearly only found in France.

Formally known as the French Republic, the country of France is located in the West of Europe and is bordered by the countries of Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Monaco and Italy. One of the most curious aspects of France as a country is that it possesses many lands overseas, as well as many islands, with territories in the Pacific,  Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Below, you will read a brief resume on the French nuances taken from an article that appeared on the france.escapeartist.com site titled “The French Lifestyle”


These are a few of the unique qualities that define the French lifestyle:

  • Luxury and enjoyment are important to the French as is evident in their love of fashion and festivals. The French enjoy life and celebrate with music, entertaining and socializing.
  • Health and culture also play an important role in peoples’ everyday lives. Theater, cinema, restaurants, cafes, and architecture are evident in all cities throughout France.
  • The French take great pride in their love for the arts, food and culture (both modern and classical) that is imprinted on every French citizen.

uSwitch.com research shows that French people not only enjoy some of the lowest average retirement ages in the region, but they also have the longest life expectancy in the European region, no doubt thanks (at least in part) to the French investment in healthcare, which is the highest in Europe as well.


The identity of the French people is a very important aspect of their culture which includes:

  • Their proof of parentage
  • Residence
  • A person of true French origin shares Gallic and Frankish backgrounds
  • The French language.


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