The cost of living in Paris often reaches dizzying heights, but the quality of life in this enchanting city more than makes up for it. Paris appeared in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2023, ranking as the 35th most expensive city out of the 227 expat cities surveyed.

Expat salaries in Paris are also considerably less lucrative than the financial packages given to those who move to the Middle East or Asia for tax-free wealth or high-powered positions. That said, living the Parisian dream on a budget is feasible, especially if expats embrace the city's more affordable outskirts.


Cost of accommodation in Paris

The cost of accommodation in Paris can devour a significant portion of an expat's income. In fact, it can easily swallow a third to a half of their monthly salary, depending on where in the city they reside.

That said, housing on the city's outskirts is naturally much more affordable than those in affluent and in-demand city-centre neighbourhoods. Affordable gems await discovery in the suburbs, nestled away from the city centre's opulence.

Utility bills are comparable to those in the rest of Europe, offering no surprises, with electricity and gas prices being rather average.


Cost of groceries and clothing in Paris

Parisian food is top quality thanks to France's strict food regulations and the French's pride in their cuisine. Savouring exquisite Parisian fare comes at a price, but it's worth it for the culinary delights that abound. Shopping at local markets, bakeries and cheesemongers guarantees top-quality produce.

A 20 percent sales tax in France makes purchasing general goods slightly more expensive than in many other European countries. With Paris as a global fashion epicentre, Paris is home to notoriously expensive clothing stores. Expats may need to choose between pricey luxury boutiques with high-quality clothing and economical, lower-quality options.


Cost of transport in Paris

Paris boasts an impressive public transport system, and expats will find an effortlessly mobile life without a car. Expats who dare to drive may find that it isn't a pleasant experience, with nightmarish mazes of traffic and exorbitant parking fees. Furthermore, many employers in Paris even subsidise a portion of transport costs – so expats should not be afraid to ask.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Paris

Paris leads the country in terms of the cost of eating out, and France, the birthplace of the modern restaurant, is known for the price and quality of its dining experience. Dining out in Paris can be a pricey affair, and expats will probably have to budget carefully and prioritise which aspects of the Parisian lifestyle they want to experience.

For price-conscious expats, there are numerous budget-friendly entertainment options. There are many things to see and do for free, like visiting one of Paris's many public parks and historical sites, and museums and galleries are generally affordable. Expats on a budget will have no problem soaking in the city's rich culture, especially if they keep abreast of the many events in this cultural capital.


Cost of education in Paris

For citizens and residents, public education in France is free, and some public schools, known as Sections Internationale, are specifically designed to help non-Francophones integrate.

Expat parents might enrol their kids in a private school for a greater fee, though parents should be aware of the distinction between privately funded and state-sponsored private schools; the latter have a better reputation.

Paris is home to most of the international schools in France, which are very pricey but are often favoured by expat parents because they allow their children to continue with a familiar curriculum in their home language.


Cost of healthcare in Paris

In France's capital, expats will find a world-class healthcare system that balances quality and affordability. Paris boasts a robust public healthcare network called Assurance Maladie and an array of private clinics and hospitals catering to a more exclusive clientele. The public system, funded through social security contributions, offers universal coverage for all French residents, including expats. However, it only covers some medical expenses, leaving the individual responsible for the remainder. Many expats purchase complementary health insurance, a mutuelle, to bridge the gap and ensure peace of mind.

But la vie en rose is not without its peculiarities. Parisians take their healthcare seriously, and the capital's dense population can lead to long waiting times at some hospitals or clinics. Moreover, while there are English-speaking doctors, they may be hard to find. Expats may find that investing in private healthcare alleviates these inconveniences, providing swift access to premium care, often in luxurious settings. In any case, whether exploring the public or private healthcare sectors, expats should be prepared to navigate this labyrinthine system with patience, determination and a keen understanding of their insurance needs.


Cost of living in France chart

These are the average costs for Paris in April 2023. Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 2,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,920

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,310

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 940

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 5.80

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.59

Rice (1kg)

EUR 2.16

Loaf of white bread

EUR 2.08

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 14

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 9

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 65

Big Mac Meal

EUR 12

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.97

Cappuccino

EUR 3.77

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 2.65

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.23

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 20

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 184

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

EUR 1.86

City-centre public transport fare

EUR 2.10

Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 2.06