Cost of living in France: Education, Travel & Accommodation

Updated on 07 November, 2023

Gauri Agrawal

Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer

Cost of living in France

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.

Education Expenses in France

The French University System is well-known for its diversified training, high-quality education delivery, and interactive study environment, hosting around 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.

However, the cost of education in France for international students can vary depending on the university, program, and location. Generally, public universities in France offer relatively affordable tuition fees compared to many other countries. However, it's important to note that tuition fees for non-European Union (EU) students are higher than for EU students.

Here are some approximate figures for education expenses in France for international students at different levels:

  1. Bachelor's Degree:
  • Tuition fees: The average annual tuition fee for non-EU international students at public institutes may cost around 2,770 Euros per year. 

2. Master's Degree:

  • Tuition fees: The average annual tuition for non-EU international students at public institutes may cost around 3,770 Euros per year. 

3. PhD Programs:

  • Tuition fees: PhD programs in France generally have lower or even waived tuition fees. However, administrative fees might apply, typically around €380 per year.

Note: Niche or professional specializations such as management or engineering will have significantly higher tuition fee. 

Listed below are some of the most affordable universities in France, along with the annual tuition fees. 

UniversityTuition fees (per year)
University of Strasbourg€600
University of Orleans€601
University of Burgundy€601
Grenoble INT Institute of Engineering University Grenoble Alpes3770

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. 

HEC Paris

€ 87,000 (MBA)

€ 40,650 - Master in International Finance

ESSEC Business School

€49,500 - (Global MBA)

 €36,700 - (MSc in Marketing Management and Digital (MMD))

Paris School of Business

€17,225 - (MBA)

€18,900 - (MSc in Arts & Cultural Management)

SKEMA Business School

€17 000 - ( Master in Management)

€42000 - (MASTER OF SCIENCE Financial Markets & Investments)

IFA Paris – International Fashion Academy

€14,800 - MBA Fashion Management - Luxury Major

€12,800 - Master of Arts Contemporary Fashion Design

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 €500- €700 , and you would have to pay around €900 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. 

4. 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 €500 to €700. Therefore, if you stay with two more people, that would reduce expenses.

5. 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 €52 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.

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, i.e., statutory health insurance (SHI). The system comprises 110 sickness funds (acting as third-party payers), covering around 88% of the population.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.

Miscellaneous Cost

ItemsCost
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course€ 60
Cappuccino (regular)€2.89 
Milk (regular), (1 liter)€1.06 
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment€164.18
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data€31.99
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)€29.72
Tomato (1kg)€3.13 
Potato (1kg)€1.77 
Onion (1kg)2.01 €
Lettuce (1 head)1.20 €
Water (1.5 liter bottle)0.70 €

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 attractive. Turning the heating down by 3 degrees would ensure savings of up to 20% on your bills.
  2. Upgrade your obsolete large electrical devices such as freezers or washing machines as they are most unlikely to be energy efficient.
  3. 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. 
  4. Use loyalty cards for shopping at local supermarkets. Before going to the market, make a list and stick to it.
  5. To avail of unbeatable offers on household goods, clothing, pet supplies, and holidays, use websites like Cdiscount.com, veepee.fr, and showroomprive.com.
  6. 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

What is the cost of living in France?

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 .

How expensive is rent in France?

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.

Is it cheaper to live in France than the UK?

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.

Gauri Agrawal

Sr. Content Writer

Gauri Agrawal is a passionate, professional and proactive content marketer who wants to grow in the field of content creation. She carries a rich experience of working in the Digital News sector with renowned names like Times Now Digital, and News X as a Copy Editor.

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