Cost of living in France : Education, Travel & Accommodation

Cost of living in France - An Overview

While enjoying your life in France as an international student, you will have to bear the expenses of education, housing, transportation, and healthcare. The cost of living in France depends on your lifestyle and the city you decide to live in. For instance, going for a high life in Paris will cost you much more than living in modest tranquility in a smaller city of France such as Lille, Nantes, Grenoble, Rouen, and Montpellier. 

Here are the broader expenses that an international student has to incur while studying in France:

Important Link : Cost of Living for Studying Abroad

Education expenses in France

The French University System is well-known for its diversified training, high-quality education delivery, and interactive study environment, hosting 2.5 million students every year. With over 3500 public and private universities in France, you can choose bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. If you are an international student, the tuition fees will constitute a significant portion of your expenses.

The tuition fees differ from one university to another according to the courses you are opting for. The average tuition fees for a bachelor’s program in France can cost you around €170 per year in a public university. However, if you are opting for an engineering degree, you would have to spend around €620 per academic year, while for medical studies, the annual tuition fees can reach up to €450. The average tuition fees for pursuing a master’s degree in France are €260 per year and €396. Listed below are some of the most affordable universities in France, along with the annual tuition fees. 

Name of the University Tuition fees (per year)
University of Strasbourg €185 – €610 
University of Orleans €170 – €601
University of Burgundy €170 – €601 
Grenoble INT Institute of Engineering University Grenoble Alpes €122-€470 

These tuition fees apply to students belonging to EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. However, students who are non-EU/EEA citizens need to pay more to study in public universities. Therefore, it is better to check the respective websites of the universities for the tuition fees.

Tuition Fees of Private Universities in France

Meanwhile, tuition fees of the private universities which offer popular degrees in France like an MBA, fashion studies or hospitality management are listed below. 

Name of the university Annual tuition fees
HEC Paris                         MBA – €78,000 
ESSEC Business School  MBA – €49,500 Hospitality management – €18,000 
Paris School of Business MSc in Hospitality & Tourism Management – €13,500 

MSc in Luxury & Fashion Management – €19,600 

International MBA – €17,150 

NEOMA Business School  MBA – €37,000 
Kedge Business School   MBA – €16,000 
SKEMA Business School Global executive MBA – €38,000 
IFA Paris – International Fashion Academy MBA in Fashion Business – €14,800 
ESMOD International Fashion Institutes and University Group  Fashion designer program – EU citizens: €11,420, non-EU citizens: €12,420 
Paris Fashion School by PSL MBA Fashion Business  – €14,800
Vatel, Hotel and Tourism Business School Hospitality Management – €10,500

Country-Wise Cost of Living Guides

Housing or accommodation costs

Finding the appropriate housing or accommodation in some of the big cities of France, such as Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, or Lyon, becomes difficult if you want to stick to a particular budget. The average cost of living in France will differ according to the type of housing you opt for. Here’s an overview of the types of accommodation in France and the average rent.

1. University Residence Halls

The publicly owned regional centers for student services known as CROUS manage the university residence halls in France. They offer some of the most affordable accommodation options, and almost 13% of international students stay in these student residences. The average monthly expenses in France for living in most cities are around €200, and Paris is an exception where rooms are available at approximately €400.   

2. Private apartments

Renting a studio apartment is a viable option for international students staying alone. If you stay in some of the smaller cities in France, renting a private apartment might cost you up to €400, and you would have to pay around €800 if you stay in Paris.

3. Student residences managed by private organizations

Since CROUS is public-owned, getting a room through them sometimes becomes difficult. In this situation, private student residences come to your rescue. Though rooms offered by them might be a bit more expensive than the ones provided by CROUS, they have their own share of facilities. 

5. Shared apartments

Choosing to stay in shared apartments is one of how you can reduce your living cost in France. If you split the bills, you can reduce the rent and utility costs. On average, renting an apartment can cost you from €400 to €700. Therefore, if you stay with two more people, that would reduce expenses.

6. Living with an elderly resident in France or a French family

One of the most popular ways to immerse yourself in French culture is to live with a local family or elderly resident. These families offer accommodation with rents as low as €200 or even free housing in lieu of assistance around the house.

Transportation and travel costs

France has an extensive public transportation network that connects different regions and numerous cities. The public transportation system in Paris is so conveniently connected that it is sure to surprise you. When in France, getting a monthly pass is helpful for international students. The expenses that a student needs to bear in France are as follows:

  1. A monthly pass costs around €30 – €75 for buses, trams, or metros.
  2. Taking a taxi in Paris is relatively cheaper, costing around €1.50/km, making you spend about €7 – €10 for a short journey.
  3. France’s Vélib bicycle rental program allows you to rent a bike, with Bordeaux being the most bike-friendly city.
  4. To take a trip around other cities in France, you can use a TGV which would cost you around €30 a trip.

Getting an international youth travel card will help you get lucrative discounts and travel across different corners in France.

List of Necessary Items and their costs

Item Average Cost 
Baguette 1
1 litre milk €1.2
6 eggs €1.5
1 Kg pasta €1.5
Meal in a restuarant €10 – €20
Movie ticket €5-€7.5

Expenses for Indian students and international students in France

Expenses for Indian students and international students in France

To get an estimate of the cost of living in France, besides the accommodation and travel costs, you need to take into account the expenses incurred on other components like food, clothing, mobile bills, utility costs, etc. The average living expenses in France vary according to the cities. 

  1. Paris: Somewhere around €1,200 and €1,800 per month, including accommodation in a student hall of residence.
  2. Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse or Nantes: Around €800 – €1,000 .
  3. Nice: In the vicinity of €900 and €1,400 per month.
  4. The average cost of living in the rest of France would amount to much smaller costs around €650 .
  5. International students need to apply for long-stay student visa for €99.

Affordable Cities to Live in France

Here are the average cost of living for affordable cities in France

City Average Cost of Living 
Montpellier €700-€1,000
Grenoble €1200
Nantes €1650
Dordogne €2400

Healthcare costs and expenses

To cover France’s medical expenses, every student must have medical insurance. Any public and private health insurance plans will be sufficient to cover your medical costs. Since medical costs in France are expensive, getting health insurance will be helpful in the hour of need. A Universal Healthcare Coverage plan is available for the students of France. To be eligible for a national health insurance program, students should be:

  1. Below 28 years of age on the 1st of October of the current University Year.
  2. Be a student in a program of 4 months or longer.
  3. Should not be a citizen of a country from the European Union or Switzerland. 
  4. Students studying for less than four months in France must opt for a private healthcare insurance provider.

The French government has developed a unique healthcare plan for students. Upon enrolling for the same, it would cost them around €20 – €50 per month.

What are the average salaries in France?

Foreigners who have a work permit in France are entitled to receive the French minimum wage, which is one of the highest in Europe at €10.03 per hour. The average salary differs in France according to the position and years of experience. However, a person working in France can expect to earn €49,500 per year on average. The salary in France ranges from €12,500 on a minimum to the highest average of €2,21,000 . 

Tips to reduce expenses in France

You will be able to cut down on the average monthly expenses in France through some lifestyle tweaks and thoughtful spending. Here are some tips that can help you save money and reduce your living cost in France.

  1. Check various comparison sites to decide if you are paying more for your utility bills or not. Some introductory offers by various suppliers, such as the first two months of free usage can be an attractive option. Turning the heating down by 3 degrees would ensure savings up to 20% on your bills.
  2. Using washing machines and dishwashers when the rates are cheaper will help you cut down on costs. Besides, unplugging electrical devices when they are not in use also helps.
  3. Upgrade your obsolete large electrical devices such as freezers or washing machines as they are most unlikely to be energy efficient.
  4. It is essential to review the policies of your insurance regularly. Comparing and renewing policies can help discover some benefits offered by other insurances such as lower cost or better covers. 
  5. Use loyalty cards for shopping at local supermarkets. Before going to the market, make a list and stick to it.
  6. To avail unbeatable offers on household goods, clothing, pet supplies, and holidays, use websites like Cdiscount.com, veepee.fr, and showroomprive.com.
  7. Buying second-hand things is a trend in France. Local buy and sell groups and websites like Leboncoin and Vide-greniers are great places to buy household equipment, furniture, and clothing. You can sometimes get rid of unwanted items by becoming a seller and earning money simultaneously.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the cost of living in France?

A. The cost of living in France depends on which part of the country you prefer to live in. If you stay in a place like Paris, which is very expensive, you need to spend somewhere around €1,200 to €1,800 per month. Whereas staying in a place like Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux can cost somewhere around €800 .

Q2. How expensive is rent in France?

A. The rent in France depends on the type of accommodation you are opting for. While staying in a student residence is much cheaper than in private apartments, you can also rent a room to reduce the living cost in France. On average, the rent in France ranges from €200 to €800.

Q3. Is it cheaper to live in France than the UK?

A. As per studies and surveys, the cost of living in France is 5 percent cheaper than UK. However, the expenses and cost of living depend on the resident’s lifestyle.

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