Cost of living in France: Paris vs. countryside

After nearly 3 years here,  we are feeling more and more “at home”  in Paris. Nevertheless,  HerrKaa and I still fantasize about moving down south where the wine is pink, we can bike all we want, and maybe actually someday have a garden. And another cat.

So I found this post on the costs of living in France on the Chez LouLou blog, which are helping fuel the dream. It’s an advertisement for the joys of living simply, which can be an extra challenge when working full-time in a big city (whether it’s Paris or anywhere else in world).

At the end of the post there were links to some Parisian bloggers, with their take on Parisian expenses. Their tips are excellent, but they seem to be all students or were very recently students. And there are things I cheerfully did  in my 20s–like share a bathroom-less studio apartment as a couple, or enjoy drinking €2 bottles of wine– that just don’t cut it for me anymore, nor even for the more frugal HerrKaa.

And since we’re doing our annual budget review anyways, here’s a breakdown of monthly expenses for a couple of no-longer-students who live in central Paris & work full-time.

Monthly Paris expenses

These are our core expenses. Obviously there are additional costs if you have pets, or kids, or do recreational drugs. Consider this a base.

All prices are in EUR since that’s the currency we’re paid in.

  • Rent: €1660 (1 bdrm w/ bsmt storage, ~700 sq ft)
  • Utilities: €85
  • Taxe d’habitation*: €71
  • Transport**: €67 (Two zone 1&2 Navigo passes, + 2 annual velib subscriptions)
  • Home insurance:  €35
  • Internet/TV/landline: €45
  • Cellphone: €52 (Eek. This reminds me, I need to change plans!)
  • Groceries: €300-500
  • Car-sharing***: €20
  • Restaurants: an embarassingly large sum. TBD.
  • Travel: ditto. But that’s one of the major reasons we’re here. Actually, the same can be said to a good chunk (but alas, not all) of our restaurant expenses.

*Taxe d’habitation: essentially property tax, which in France applies to renters as well (Owners have an additional tax). A small part of this is a TV tax too. While the idea  of  rental property tax surely horrifies the home-owning majority in the anglo-saxon world,  one needs to consider the services provided by the City of Paris. Like the army of green-clad men who flush gutters, vacuum dog poop, and pick up garbage daily.  Or the plethora of free festivals and events put on by the City, such as Paris Plage. I am grateful for them all, so I’m not going to complain!

**Transport: both HerrKaa & I have this subsidized at 50% by our respective companies, which I believe is legally required by employers in the Paris region (or else they subsidize your parking).

*** Car-sharing:  get access to wheels without having to shell out for parking, gas, insurance, maintenance, or car payments! Learn more here.


2 thoughts on “Cost of living in France: Paris vs. countryside

  1. Interesting article and illuminating since your costs are very similar to ours, excluding your insane rent! We pay virtually the same amounts as you for fixed stuff, so living down here might not be much cheaper. However, there are certainly fewer restaurants and other temptations, so that’s something to consider. Plus, you might actually BE where you want to travel, so vacations could end up cheaper.

    To give you an idea of rent in a city in the south, count on around 700 – 1000 Euros for a 2-bedroom. If you move somewhere swanky, like St. Tropez, I’m out of my sphere of knowledge, I’m afraid.

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