Moving to Paris: How much does it really cost?
Paris like most big cities is considered to be expensive, but after hearing how much my friends pay for some of their monthly expenses in cities like NY, No Cal, or London, I’ve learned not to complain. Paris is indeed more on the pricy side among other European capitals however, there are quite a few things where you get good value for your buck.
When I first moved to Paris I was oblivious to how much things were going to cost me, and I didn’t find the Expat cost of living calculators to be very helpful. So I thought I share a little insight into everyday expenses one would encounter living here.
It’s important to note, I did my best to put the most up to date prices for standard prices like transportation and I provided estimates for other variable costs, as well as examples of how much I pay personally for certain things.
Your accommodation in Paris will most likely be your biggest monthly expense. Like most cities, the prices of apartments really varies based on the size and neighborhood.
For students looking to find a place in Paris you have many options living in a flatshare, student housing, or a normal apartment. You can find an apartment between 9m² to 20m² that will cost you approximately between 450€ to 800€ per month.
FREE MONEY ALERT: One thing that is great about living in France is all the social support. Students are eligible for CAF/APL which is a monthly stipend from the government to help subsidize your rent(age restriction after 26).
For example, When I was a student I lived in a 17m2 apartment (furnished), my rent was 427,20€ and I received 204€ of CAF. #SCORE
To give you a bit more insight, once I started working I lived in:
29m2- Belleville, 20eme- 900€
35m2- Lamarck - Caulaincourt, 18eme- 1000€
Public Transportation is the most convenient and affordable way to get around the city.
For transportation in all 5 zones in Paris (metro/bus/tram/RER):
Single metro ticket- 1,90€
Weekly Pass- 22,80€
Monthly pass- 75,20€ ( if you're less than 26 years old it is half price)
Likewise, if you are a salaried employee your job is required to reimburse a minimum of 50% of your transportation costs.
Velib ( shared ride city bikes)
Single Ride- 5€/day
Monthly Pass: 37,20€
One of the things that keeps me here, is how great the healthcare system is. It is a social system, so all residents are required to have health insurance which is covered under the national health insurance scheme. This coverage takes care of pretty much all of your basic health care needs and it reimburses 70% of the cost. Most people add a supplementary coverage (mutuelle) to cover any additional costs for like specialists extra charges, glasses/ contacts, etc.
Supplementary Coverage- 23-40€/month
If you want to invest in taking French lessons, it can be a bit expensive. For example, courses at Alliance Française are 2$0€ a week for a 20hr general French class and courses at the Sorbonne are 500-1820€ for up to 60 hours.
La Mairie de Paris offers language classes for various levels throughout the city at a very affordable price, however the classes sizes are a bit large and they often fill up quickly. For example, I’ve taken a French Class that meets 2X/week for 3 hours and I paid 190€ for the trimester.
There seems to be quite a few taxes you have to pay in France, which is something very important to budget for so you have no surprises when tax time comes around.
In general, you’re income taxes cover many of the social benefits like education, unemployment, health care, retirement. So if you plan to stay in Paris long term, you can at least feel at ease that you will benefit from those things at some point.
Taxe habitation ( Housing tax)
This an annual tax that you have to pay as a renter and it is calculated based on the size and neighborhood you live in.
Cell phone provider & Internet
France has very competitive prices for cell phone plans. Depending on the option you want, your mobile phone package will cost you between 2€ to 20€ per month.
I currently have a plan with Free mobile which is 19.99€/ month and I can make unlimited calls to the US with no extra charge.
The cost of groceries is really relative to your lifestyle, there are many markets, grocery stores, organic shops where you can find food according to your budget.
Prices are quite comparable to other big cities.
TIP: You can often tell how expensive a restaurant or neighborhood is by checking the price of these items which are generally the prices below for a decent priced place:
Pain chocolat -1.20€
Paris has a lot to offer in terms of cultural activities, museums, concerts, theatre that is accessible for all budgets.
#26 is a lucky number here. If you are under 26 years old many monuments and museums are free, and you benefit for discounts for movies and other activities.
Travel- Paris is a great hub to visit other countries
Want to see more. Check out the Cost of Living in PARIS video on youtube.
Hope this brings a little more perspective to the cost of living in Paris!