What are your favourite things you used to buy in the UK that are SO much better/cheaper in France?!

Hi Everyone!

Something that is often brought up by friends when we talk about our plans to move to Brittany, is the assertion that the cost of living in France is as expensive as in the UK these days.

Given the experience of my parents who have lived in the Charente-Maritime for 10 years now, a more accurate and positive way of looking at it - for them and for us, at least - is that the cost of living overall may be about the same these days, but the quality is better in France than in the UK! And yes, I know there are some things like decent, inexpensive paint, that Brits now load up their car-boot with when they pop back over to the UK, but… the pro’s far outweigh the con’s, surely?!

So I thought it would be interesting to hear what item(s) you LOVE being able to get cheaper or better in France, compared to Britain! :o)

Apart from the fabulous wine, of course, that you can buy at a fraction of the price compared to the UK, for me and Hubby, an example would be that it is a joy to be able to wander round the fabulous fish-markets and marvel at the beautiful, fresh seafood you can buy - at much better prices than in the UK.

Fresh, meaty, jumbo-sized prawns with a squeeze of lemon-juice, some black-pepper and a dollop of Dijonnaise, on a bed of sweet escarole leaves, and some French bread - total bliss! A bowl of fresh moules… I’m drooling at the thought now! But I’d almost have to take out a 2nd mortgage to enjoy that in England!!

So what things are you able to buy and enjoy far more frequently now, since moving to France? :o)

mmm yes, I actually discovered this in a hotel after giving birth to my first child…sorry I meant hospital…easy to be confused in France.

I was disappointed not to get the glass of red wine I’d been promised though…

The food was excellent, better than available at most UK chain hotels I’ve tried & not at all comparable to UK hospital food.

Back to Creme de Marron I had mine with a petit suisse, delicious!

ah but I have a penny pinching tip for your day old baguette, run it under water for 2 seconds then pop in microwave for 10seconds - comes back alive…no preservatives needed!

oh well in that case - I’ll start one…

“The Dangers Of Penny pinching” !!!


Jacqui - enjoy! We all work out for ourselves what our priorities in life are… :o)

Jane, you hit the nail on the head :o)

Suzanne, I couldn’t agree more! Every time I return to England, I’m tempted to buy the croissants, pains au chocolat and the “French Bread” available to us in our local super-market - but they never taste the same. So nowadays I look forward to them even more when we return to France :o) I’m told it’s all to do with the flour that we use in England…

Oh dear - looks like I hit a raw nerve…! This was my first attempt at contributing to SFN (maybe it had better be my last!)

I have no intention of “wasting my time obsessing about what might cost more/less elsewhere.” My post was just meant to be in the light-hearted vein of James’ “Happy” post.

I was attempting to redress the (im)balance with all the negative comments I keep reading about and hearing, with regard to the many reasons uttered as to why we should NOT move to France, including all the things you can’t do/buy in France! My post wasn’t intended to kick-start a serious debate on the dangers of penny-pinching…

We’re moving to Brittany, come what may - and all the things we’re hearing as to why we shouldn’t go, are slowly driving me round the bend!! I really do wonder at the amount of Brits living in France, because so many complain constantly about aspects of life out there!

My earliest memories are of holidays at my Grand-parents who lived in France most of their lives - we were fortunate to spend more time in France than in the UK; in later years, I lived and worked in France, which gave me enough insight into French culture and ways of doing things, to know whether I’d like to live there, or not (and the answer was a resounding “Yes”!); my parents have lived in the Charente-Maritime for 10 years and I helped them move into their new home, deal with the Mairie, the phone company, the carpenter, the builder …etc; I’m also very lucky to have lovley French friends.

So we have a pretty good idea of what we are “letting ourselves in for” to use an oft-quoted expression, and are making the decision to move to France for very positive reasons -not just because we don’t like the English weather ;o)

Now, back to things I’m looking forward to when we go back over to France - Tarte aux Pommes and Tarte au Citron … what a treat!!


Hi Stephen, My grand-parents always had that in the house. Delicious! Haven’t had it in a while - something else to add to the shopping-list next time…


Living in the “region Parisienne” nothing much strikes me as “cheeper”…except as you mentioned the wine!

I think Christine is correct here, as you travel from region to region the prices of almost everything vary enormously. We have just learned to accept it, and yes there will always be things we have a good moan about (the price of shoes here is my main groan), but prices are not the only consideration… my son is growing up bi-lingual, the sun shines more, and we love the people around us… what more do I need?

I agree with Nikki, wine and fresh seafood, my hubbie is a fish lover. He likes nothing better than to have a plate of fresh oysters with a nice glass of chilled chardonnay at Uzes market on a Saturday morning…would have cost a leg and an arm in England.
And I,m not a penny pinching Brit, but when there is something you really enjoy it is normal to think…oh, that,s cheaper in France we wouldn,t/couldn,t have done this before. Otherwise I don,t obsess about prices,if you have to buy it, you have to buy it wherever you are.It,s just nice to think that something you enjoy is more affordable.

My local boulangeres baguette, croissants & pain au chocolat’s…the UK versions are not a scratch on the real deal!

School uniform - there isn’t one YAY!

I think Christa has a very good point. France is such a huge country that most things vary hugely from area to area. I also think that to live in France, you need to have an attraction ( for whatever reason) to the place. It is expensive but hey, we’re still here. Having said that it doesn’t stop me having a good moan about it and (on some days) being a penny pinching Brit. But I would do that wherever I lived…