What is the true cost of living in France?

So as part of my preparations for moving to France and following on from a discussion on the Brexit thread. I’d like to start a new thread to aid all my fellow Brexit escapees to understand their future costs ahead in France.

The UK cost of living is not exactly small right now. Over the last 2-3 years I have seen significant increases in the cost of living so for a starter comparison: I live in a small 2 bed ex council bungalow with a smallish garden in a Military town in fairly rural area on the edge of Salisbury Plain. The current value is around £210-220,000.

My mortgage £1026 a month!
Food average £100-120 a week
TV/phone/internet £116 a month + £12 month TV licence
Electric £56 a month
Water £31 a month
Home insurance £38
Council Tax £88 with 25% single living deduction
Mobile + tablet £55 a month.
Diesel around £1.38 a litre
Heating oil 800ltr is around £480 currently

So would be interesting to see the comparisons for these in France so I can start to work out what to
Plan for. My big saving is we bought the house in France outright so no mortgage. We have our own water supply to in France. But it’s thinks like health care costs, other taxes and expenses I haven’t consider etc. I am keen to understand most. I hope to live off my Civil Service pension but supplemented somehow so… very interested to have everyone’s inputs please this is not about putting me off I really want to understand the true costs.

Many thanks.

Our tax foncière and d’habitation together come to €2300 but we have an inground pool and 2 bathrooms. In the UK we paid £2000. annually.
Gas and electric £93. UK
Not sure here because it’s our first winter. Probably similar as we have a pool but also have to factor in 6/ 8 steres of wood at €60 per stere.
House insurance similar.
Water similar.
Car insurance similar.
Wi fi €32.99 Bouyges
SIM for France €2 (1 hour French calls free texts)
Ee SIM only £11.00 ( unlimited texts and calls)
Ee broadband £35 but i got 5 gb data on my mobile.
Ct €80 every two years
Food about €240 per month because fruit and veg expensive in France. (2 people)

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You might want to take a look at this thread as well Brian, it’s the most recent of many. You can find similar (a bit older) topics on here that might also be worth a look if you type “cost of living” in the search box at the top of the home page.

Hope this helps.

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I did a breakdown of costs in the thread that Mandy refers to, probably not all that accurate, especially the figure for the mutuelle but a starting point.

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Hi Brian,
We actually think that it is more expensive to live here than the UK, (on trips back to the UK regularly,the supermarket prices are seen and drooled over!) but what price do you put on quality of life?
Tax foncière and habitation around €3500 plus an additional top up of between €3-350 each year as the commune lose money on the annual Féte Mediéval. Five bedroom house with two bathrooms. 196sqm of living space. No pool. But our village has every facility, Doctors, Dentists, Vets etc. In the UK the current rate would be Band E £1909.38
Electricity €84.44 per month.
Heating oil 1500-2000 litres per year.
Wood for the log burner for ambience Two to four stere. I got some free this year, but transporting and cutting, I’m not sure it was worth it! I usually get from our local charcoal maker at €30 stere cut to 50cm. He is closing due to ill health, so I’ll probably get it from our not so local sawmill at around €12 stere for off cuts. Does involve a 30 minute drive each way and I have to cut it down from 2.4 metres.
House insurance similar.
Water similar.
Car insurance more as you don’t get the multiple vehicle cover that you do in the UK. However, for learner drivers-brilliant. No extra charge to add the girls to our Astra 2.2 or VW Touareg and €25 euros per month fully comprehensive for the Peugeot 206 they drive. Different when they have passed however, around €140 per month. Cheaper than the UK in their first year.
Wi fi about €38 SFR
SIM for France €20 unlimited calls and text SFR
Wife pays £6 per month for UK sim with unlimited calls and text via her Dad’s broadband supplier in the UK.
Try to shop at Grand Frais or the market (not our village one as too expensive) for vegetables. Couldn’t say how much we spend, but dearer than the UK.
CT for car and 4x4 cheaper due to bienniel.
Eating out can be good value, but can also be expensive. We don’t eat out in the Summer holidays as quality drops here.
Health care excellent. The only mutual we have is for hospital care. Family cost €65 per month for four. Our health is such that we think a top up is a waste of money. Personal opinion.
Opticians-too expensive here. Tie in opticians visit with trip to the UK and buy specs there or on-line. Not a fashion accessory for me.
Chiropractor €40. Similar price to UK, but not as good.
Dental care. Similar price to the UK, but quality has dropped at our local Dentist since the old one retired. I have used my old one in the UK for emergencies when over there and actually think the cost is cheaper as well as better work.
Education. In our opinion, better here. Cheap too even if your children have to board at Lycee as ours did. Less than €500 per term bed and board and tax deductible.
Public transport. Non-existent in rural France. So, have to drive almost everywhere. More miles on the car than the UK.
Vehicles. More expensive here. We have a lhd for the girls to learn in and two rhd from the UK. Much cheaper and in our opinion better on narrow roads as you can see the ditch when oncoming drivers are too far over. A bugger on the motorways if you are on your own! Then a peage doofer is a must.

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Good thing you’re not in striking distance :grin: Were in Perigord Vert which is dept 24. We are the 3rd set of Brits to buy our house and it has been renovated buy both previous owners.
Hopefully our taxe d’habitation will go down but I’m not counting on it. I would imagine the first Brits paid v. Little and the 2nd a lot more. We’ve just put a velux in our mezzanine and our French builder assures me it won’t increase our tax but Periguex have asked for an update on the work so who knows.
I would imagine once all your work is declared and the house in considered habitable your tax will increase. My best advice is if you want a pool have an above ground one because it’s considered to be temporary.

We aren’t looking to have such luxuries as a pool sadly, we plan to run our small farm as a small holding growing our own fruit and veg, chickens for eggs, maybe alpacca to. We may do some furniture upcycling also. We have a deep lily pond in the field if we fancy a swim. And I have an inflatable hot tub we will bring over. I’m looking at possibly having solar hot water to to keep costs down. We are a very practical couple so many things we will do ourselves like repointing the house, plumbing, bathroom & kitchen installation, even the septic tank I’ll have a go at. I think the things I’ll need to pay for are boiler installation, a new roof, and the mains fuse board install. Not brave enough to tackle those.

We are in a small hamlet of just us and one neighbour so we are very much planning on full immersion into the surrounding villages and their activities especially as our French improves, so we can become part of our community, we are adamant we don’t want to be brits abroad. It’s not want we want from this experience.


All very valuable knowledge thanks Paul. And indeed quality of life is what our movebis all about we are not looking to live the materialistic but boring and mundane life we currently have here in the UK. We want to live a simpler less pressured and relaxed existence. I’ve had several high octane high profile jobs I’m ready to step back now.

They have been most useful thanks Mandy

For us a pool means our grandson will happily stay for the whole summer. His mum will literally drop him off at the end of July and we take him back to the uk at the end of August. He’ll be 7 in April and it will be his third summer here. Our English friends cannot believe we have him for 5 weeks but we love it. My husband is a v. keen gardener. We had two allotments when the children were young and grew most of our veg. We’re on a learning curve here with the hot summers, kidney beans definitely don’t like full sun! We’ve just bought a crown of rhubarb and it will be interesting to see the difference. I’m desperate to get a Bramley apple tree for a decent apple pie. May just get to bring one over before Brexit!


Our local garden centre in Erneé has a wonderful selection of fruit trees quite big specimens to for around €15 which I thought was excellent value. They even had a Bramley apple tree so maybe worth a trawl round your local ones you may get lucky. As a gay couple David and I don’t have kids to worry about, so that’s a big expense saved. His niece and nephew may well come visit in the summer months with David’s sister but the can swim in the pond to if they wish to lol :joy:

We have an allotment here in UK and are pretty successful on the whole. And in our part of northern France our growing season is about two weeks longer that you which I was really surprised by when I was studying the statistics. But I think it’s to do with the Atlantic drift and jet stream positioning. It all seems pretty productive around our area anyway. And with a free ground water pumped supply watering won’t be an issue.


My son used to live on the Isle of Man and they benefited from the gulf stream.

I used to live in the Isle of Skye and equally benefited there to

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Wow…in a bid to keep things simple, and to answer the original question…IMO the cost of living on France is way more than the UK. In fact way more than just about anywhere else in Europe closely followed by Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark and Ireland. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Are you able to expand on that please Simon and indicate where you live as that may help me assess whether this is a regional assessment or general.

Sure - I live in the deep South in the Ariege (09) - one of the least populated and poorest departments in the country. As for ‘assessment’ - that’s just based on my own consumer experiences. As a ‘border dweller’ it’s significantly cheaper for us to shop in Spain - in fact I can’t think of anything that’s more expensive over the border. Pretty much the same when comparing with the UK really - I can’t think of anything (like-for-like) that’s cheaper in France than the UK - except maybe Vets fees !


Beer and wine cheaper too, but food is generally much more expensive IMO. Can’t comment on water/car/insurance/electricity etc as it’s been too long ago

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Really - not massively?

Tesco Wines

I think Mark meant drinkable wine lol :joy:


Maybe Brain, but make no mistake, there’s lots of paint stripper here too! My Mum buys it from one of those ‘petrol pump’ places that fill up her plastic container! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: