Prices and Numbeo? (she asked from a crouching position)

I’m a retired American w/British citizenship from MA permanently living in a smallish town (Montignac 3k full time residents) in the Dordogne. I also have UK pension, so currently - hopefully post-Brexit too - do not have to pay for private health insurance, only the ‘top-up’ which is equivalent to US Medigap plans; I do not know what full private health insurance cost is, but would suspect it doesn’t cost nearly as much as in US, even on Medicare.

Personally, I find that things like insurance (house/car/health), and tax (income/property taxes) and TV/phone are 1/3 of what I paid in the US. I purchased and renovated my house, so I don’t have that expense. The regular bills such as utilities etc are within more or less what I paid in US. Once the initial expenses were dealt with (ie moving, initial purchases for house, cost of renovations etc.), my monthly expenses run about Euro 500 a month, and includes the following: TV/phone services (cable tv, internet, cell phone, home phone [it isVoIP & calls even to US are free] included for 55 Euro p/m big saving there!), netflix, spotify, water, electric/gas, health insurance, property taxes (tax d’habititation, tax foncieres), insurance (car, house, juridique), garden service. Food and other discretionary expenses (not travel) are extra and for me probably average around Euro 750 a month.

I know all this is correct (for me!) because I’m an excel spreadsheet geek and track everything! I’d suggest that you’d want to have a minimum $1500 a month to live comfortably, $2000 p/m no squeeze; if you rent, then you’d have to add that in. This isn’t to say you can’t live on less…I don’t tend to be as ‘frugal’ as I could be! As a few have said, don’t underestimate the initial cost…once you’re settled it’s easier to manage costs (speaking at least some french to begin with and testing the water is always a good idea too!). I have recent new American neighbors who asked me and another long time french expat: we’ve heard all about how much you love it here, now tell me what you DON’T like about living here…and honestly, we couldn’t really come up with a thing! (administrative paperwork aside…lol). Hope that helps!


Very sensible advice, Stella. As usual (did I mention I’ve been lurking?)!

Thank you so much for the breakdown, Perry. Very helpful. As a word nerd, I’m in awe of Excel spreadsheet geeks! Are you including gas/tolls/misc day-to-day (non-travel) auto expenses in the $750.00?

Again, my thanks to everyone who has responded. Am further thankful that the gorgeous rose windows appear to have been spared.

Une embrassade for my fellow Yanks and other huggers, les bises to the rest of ye.

Hi Jaye - day to day car expenses yes included in $750. I have a fiat 500 1.6 I think and it’s economical. Prob only go into bigger towns 60 km away once a week maybe cause I have most everything within walking in town. Good luck!

Hi Jay - love your ‘Vanderbilt’ name? Especially when considering costs etc.

There is almost nothing to disagree on with the advice provided by others, but I know that cost of buying a property are hugely variable in France - but certainly comparing to UK prices remain resolutely ‘good value’ no matter where you are - again with the exception of Paris.

Other Regional differences are there, but not a great as might be imagined in terms of living costs and standards. France for me at least is a uniuely different country (and I have lived in several) so the choice is yours to make Atlantic Coast? Mediterranean Coast (usually higher priced)? Country? Mountains, Lakes? Medieval Villages, Urban housing, build your own? Massive choices. When you move into the more country areas then formal entertainment tends to dwindle, *(again away from the big cities) but community activities tend to rise.

Taking Property prices I suggest you get onto one or other of the French /English-speaking property ‘newsletters’ - just type in ‘property sales in France’ and they will pop up. They all have a useful filtering system for pricing all sorts and sizes of properties all over the place - from Chateaux to Barns and eveything in between. Mostly these are honestly detailed, and you can always ask for more if necessary. Le Bon Coin website is also one place where individuals place their own ads.

My advice is do your desk research and get a feel for where appeals to you, what the attractions are (each region has sites listing these). Make a list of things that you feel are ‘necessary’ or ‘essential’ to your lifestyle and go from there. To be honest you could be surprised at what you can easily live without. In these days of internet I find it hard to feel too bereft of anything very much, although I admit to not being a teeny-bopper (that tells you something doesn’t it?)

I am sure you will have noted that not one person has said they would willingly go back to the UK? For the most part I think that is because we are more in the senior age brackets *(dangerous assumption?)*and less in the working/employed arenas. Likewise setting up in a business is still not easy here, although many do have smaller entrepreneurial work. We have hopes that Macron will get round to easing the bureaucratic burdens, but that remains to be seen.

As you will also have noted there are ‘immediate friends’ to be made on this site - so you need never feel ‘alone’ - and that can be important in a new and often strange country.

Good luck!

Hi Jane,

Is your motivation for moving to France really 100% financial? You stated that if the cost of living is not less than that you have in the US it makes no sense to relocate. Based on this you should NOT make the move.

I came to France (coastal Brittany) nine years ago (alone) from Southern California. I had spent quite a bit of time in France in the twenty years before I moved here.

I did a certain about of research before I came trying to answer the same concerns you have, I retired early and did not need to work once I got here.
My French was very basic tourist French.

I have always loved France and the French people. I have met many expats here mostly from the UK and the US. We all came here for the same reason(s) - we have a special feeling for France and wanted a more fulfilling life than we were currently living. From day one I knew I had made the right decision - have NEVER looked back.

Housing is less costly - coming from coastal Southern California - MUCH LESS.

Food is somewhat more expensive and you will eat much more healthy. Gas is expensive/car repairs I think are less. Auto insurance is also less. Utilities are more expensive with the exception of phone/internet/cable TV. Veterinarian costs are much less. My calls to the USA are free. You will buy much less “stuff” here than in the US.

Once you have been resident in France for three months you qualify for French health insurance. You will pay a nominal amount for this depending on your income. It is comparable to Medicare but also covers dental and 100% RX.
Medical care in France is excellent.

I can fly to Madrid for 113 euro - Venice for 142 euro. Life here is full of lovely surprises.

I go to the US once a year; US friends visit me often. For me France has added a totally different chapter to my life; one which I am very grateful for.

My decision to move to France - other than my decision to have children - might be the most important one I have ever made.

Wishing you the best…

Hi Karin and welcome to the Forum…

Could you please amend your Registration page to give your full name…

If you are not sure how to do this… simply put your Full Name on the thread… and I will do the necessary… :relaxed:



Hi Stella…

Can you give me a secure e-dress to send full name.?

Thank you Karin… I will adjust your Registration and your first and last name will appear on the forum… is this OK ??


Possible to use just karin marie - omitting Mansfield.



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Hi Karin

It is policy to insist upon your real name, can I amend your account to Karin Mansfield?



Dangerous assumption indeed Norman :wink:


I would suggest renting a house for a few months if you can to get a feel for it before committing.
Also, visit during winter to see how you find winter in rural France.
There is, of course a big variation in climate in different areas of France.
Good luck whatever you decide :slight_smile:

Hey Perry! Amazing to find you here! I guess we are the new neighbors you are referring to. It’s nice to hear good news about some of the typical expenses that we have not dealt with yet. So far we have been encouraged to discover that the costs of the Montignac property purchase, the home insurance, and the property tax to be lower than in the US ( California) to an extreme degree. In the time we have spent there, we have found grocery prices to be about the same as California and eating out to be slightly less expensive. Petrol is more, of course, but I don’t anticipate driving as much due to living in the town center.
We love hearing about the comparatively low cost of phone/internet which is outrageous the US. There are expenses we haven’t encountered yet but it sounds like our assumptions are verified by your information, that we will be able to live much more economically in France, which was one of our motivations for retiring there. Second to the fact that we love the region and having much easier access to European travel.
Take care and I will be in touch.

Hi Cynthia…lol, small internet world. I found this site to be v interesting - and best of the english speaking sites - and helpful as I was finding my way around ‘how to’ find info without tearing my hair out. This site covers an amazing number of topics and always someone willing to help. Will be emailing you later.


Hello Perry

It’s great that you find this site so useful. I’m sure @james and @cat will be really pleased.


I agree with you re food. I saw someone on this site saying cos lettuces were cheaper in England than France in late autumn. The French still eat seasonally and locally and cos lettuces don’t grown in late autumn. 6 endives in Leclerc were 1 euro 20 this week and made a meal for 4 with cheese sauce and lardons.


We live in Provence and regularly visit the Uk. We used to think that it was much cheaper here with the exception of eating out. However that balance, in our experience, has shifted with my weekly shop here now being more expensive than it would be in the UK. Council taxes are cheaper here but then we live in a rural area so have precious few services. We have fantastic markets here and eat very little meat and I buy whatever fish is on offer but both meat and fish are cheaper in the UK but the vegetables are amazing and cheap. Our internet and phones are roughly comparable.
Eating out here is expensive for anything that has actually been cooked and lacks variety which is a shame but again probably due to us being in a village albut one that receives a million visitors a year!
Definitely try before you buy and commit yourselves.

But are you basing that on the changing pound:euro exchange rate? We’ve been here full time well over 5 years and haven’t found a massive shift in euro prices. What’s changed is that the pound buys less.