Cost of Living in France

Cost of Living in France: If you are talking about fees of higher education institutions, we must say that these are a bit higher for Pakistani students as compared to other European universities. But if we do a comparison of the fees of universities in France with education quality, then these are affordable. As it is said that knowledge is priceless.

Cost of Living in France Details

Fees of higher education institutions vary from one university to another university. Every university sets its fees for different study programs. Normally the public universities charge 6000 Euro to 12000 Euro per year for different study programs for non-EU students for bachelor’s degrees. And charge 8000 Euro to 20000 Euro per year from non-EU students for the master’s degree program. (Read Visa Guide France)

Cost Of Study In France

Education is government-subsidized in France, meaning that tuition fees are comparatively low. On average, a Licence degree from a public university costs around 200 EUR per year for both EU and non-EU students. However, cost fluctuates depending on the chosen program. For example, studying medicine costs around 450 EUR per year, and engineering around 620 EUR. Masters and Ph.D. programs in France are also more expensive, the former averaging 260 and the latter 396 EUR per year. The cost of studying in a private institution is higher – selective schools and Grandes Écoles can charge anywhere between 250 and 20,000 EUR per year.

As an international student, you may be eligible for a scholarship offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme. Some universities offer scholarships worth up to 10,000 EUR to international students who display exceptional academic merit (mainly from Masters’s and Ph.D. courses).

Keep in mind that tuition fees at public universities often only apply to students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. If you are a non-EU citizen, you might have to pay more for your studies. To avoid confusion or future problems, visit the university/study program page and check if tuition costs apply to students from your country.

Tuition fees at other higher education institutions

-Grandes Ecoles – Foreign students will pay more at France’s highly selective grandes écoles and grand établissements (great schools and establishments), which set their fees (about 500-600 EUR per year, but in some cases, they can lead up to 10,000 EUR per year).
-Private universities –Tuition fees start at 1,500 EUR and can go over 20,000 EUR per year.
-At business schools, regardless of the degree level, fees range between 5,000 and 30,000 EUR a year.

Scholarships Opportunities

French Consulates and various universities in France offer exceptional scholarships to eligible students. Most of these scholarship programs are fully funded. These scholarships offer enough funds to cover the studies as well as the other living costs. However, some French scholarships only offer fully-funded tuition fees and the student has to bear all the living costs personally.

Working while studying

International students are allowed to work part-time during their studies. According to French law, if a student is living in France for studies with a valid residence permit, he/she can do work part-time without an extra work permit. Students are allowed to work for 20 hours per week during their studies and a maximum of 964 hours per year. Finding a part-time job as a foreign student is not easy without knowing the French language. However, if you have a good command of the English language then you can get a job easily at tourists spots like restaurants, museums, hotels, cafes, monuments, parks, etc. But if you know the French language then it would be rather easy to find a job in France. Because normally part-time jobs are available at the spots where public dealing is compulsory like restaurants, clubs, bars, hotels, shopping malls, markets, gas stations, call centers, parks, receptionists, etc. So knowledge of the French language would be more beneficial to work in these places. A part-time job can cover some part of your living expenses. You can’t depend on your part-time job to cover your entire living expenses. The minimum wage rate in France is 9.67 Euro per hour, which is a very good amount as compared to other European countries.

Living Costs In France

The cost of living in big cities of France is more than in other European student cities. The accommodation in France is expensive but other necessities of life are economical. If you live in a university residence like a hostel or dormitory then it will cost less than a private flat or apartment. Some students rent a flat or apartment in sharing, which also can reduce the cost of living. And if you will dine out at restaurant, hotel, canteen or food points then it will be an expensive choice of eating. But if you cook your food then it will be very economical. Other necessities of life like traveling in the city, books, stationery, entertainment, clothing, laundry, haircuts, and personal maintenance are pretty affordable in France. We are giving you the minimum estimated cost of living, and it may be 430 Euro per month. We suggest you spend less on your living and more on your studies because you are living in France for your studies. And if you will spend less money on living then you can use your saving to explore France and other countries of Europe on holidays.

Food Costs

French food is delicious, sophisticated and the common conception is that it is expensive as well. That may be because the French truly values every meal and they make it seem like they always celebrate something when they eat. However, food is not pricey all over France.

Besides the accommodation, there are various other living expenses in France for an international student. A student approximately requires 1 100€ in Paris if he lives totally on his expenses.

Food items can cost around 4 euros at a time as generally 1 meal at a University restaurant costs 3.25 € while around 15 euros is required to buy a meal at a local French restaurant. Bread and milk together will cost around 3 Euros per day. In general, food and other accessories would cost a student € 200 to € 500 per month.

The monthly food costs will depend on the place where you shop. In a big supermarket or at a local grocery store, prices are generally high. However, grocery and food stores in most towns are small. It is recommended to visit a boulangerie (bakery). Bulk buying at a supermarket is budget-saving. You can buy fresh items and bargain on prices in small markets.

For other expenses the cost is pretty high as well-branded jeans will cost 99 Euro. Similarly branded shoes have almost the same rates. It is, therefore, better not to go on brands or bring most of your items from the home country.

A more affordable option where you can have a meal anywhere in France is the bistros, brasseries, and crepe stand. Some bistros serve substantial meals, and a crepe can take the place of lunch and prices are from 5 to 8 EUR.


Grocery shopping in France is slightly more expensive than in the UK. The average cost of a weekly shop is €62 (£54), or €250 (£221) per month. A meal out in France is on average €12 (£10.64) and a cinema ticket is typically €9 (£7.98), although there is always a cheaper student ticket price, averaging at €6 (£5). A Big Mac is €4.47 with a pint of beer at €5 (£4.43) and a glass of wine at €4 (£3.55). The average monthly gym membership costs €37.70 (£33.42) and a gig ticket or club entry is an average of €15 (£13.30).

Most students should budget €600-€800 (£531-£709) per month to cover the cost of food, transportation, and housing, although this will probably be slightly higher in a larger city such as Paris.

Social Security or Insurance

Sometimes the student has to pay around 200€ for Social Security. While in some cases a student will also pay for the mutual fund. The cost varies between 6€ -50€ per month. Moreover, international students are generally eligible to benefit from France’s universal health care coverage; however, it depends on age, home country, and the duration of your French degree program. Private insurance can cost you approximately € 130 to € 500 per year.

Health and Utility Costs

You have to pay some cash to buy ‘over-the-counter drugs’ if you are ill. Cold and fever medicine costs around 5 Euro, while 12 doses of antibiotics cost around 7 Euro. Students who are living in separate apartments have to pay utility bills which are around 150 euros. You can share this expense with your roommate. School material can also cost around Euro 50.

Student’s Discounts

Students can also avail of discounts on various features. At university restaurants (Universitaires) prices are much lower for students than outside eateries. You can avail yourself of some discounts in the library, photocopy or printing which will save you up to 50-70% off the normal price. Moreover, there are many effective discounts on cultural and other activities like sports clubs, theaters, museums, skating and swimming pools, etc.

Transportation Expenditure In France

The transportation cost per month costs around 50 Euro per month is. A liter of petrol is €1.33 (£1.18) and a monthly travel card or transport pass is about €70 (£62), although, for single forms of transport, they range from €17-€33. Single-journey bike rental is popular in many French cities. A full year of access to the Vélib system (including unlimited 30-minute journeys all over the city) is €19 (£16). The average cost of a return journey on the TGV to another city is €25 (£22) when booked in advance. There is a youth discount railcard that costs €50 (£44) and can be worth it if regular cross-country travel is likely.

It is always worth researching student travel card options, as in Paris, an unlimited Carte Imagine R is €38 per month, compared with a typical €70 (£62) per month for non-students. There may be some discounts for students on public transport, yet private transportation costs are good enough. 1litre of gas costs Euro 1.47.

-A monthly pass for the bus, metro, or tram is usually between 30 – 75 EUR. You can also use the TGV to visit other cities in France for around 30 EUR a trip.
-Taxis are also relatively inexpensive in Paris, around 1.50 EUR/km, and you would spend 7 – 10 EUR for a short journey.
-You can rent a bike through the Vélib bicycle rental program; in France, Bordeaux is the most bike-friendly city.

Accommodation Costs In France

The average cost of housing in France is 250 to 700 EUR per month, although this rate is greatly affected by the region that you stay in, as well as the exact accommodation that you have selected. It is in your best interest to take a look at the various options that are available to find what works best for you and your needs. Many choices cost far more than these rates, as well as those that will cost you less. The amount that you spend on your housing will vary greatly.

It is a good idea to look into student housing if it is offered at the institution that you have selected. Not all institutions in the country offer student housing, however, so this is something that you will need to ascertain. Additionally, choosing to live with a roommate as you complete your studies is an excellent idea and an awesome way to greatly reduce your costs of living. Having a roommate is also an accommodation option that is available for you. Many roommate situations can be found throughout France, and not only does this give you the chance to cut back on some of the money that you spend on rent, but you can also cut back on the costs of utilities and other services. The chance to live with other people also helps you socialize easier as you meet people that are living with you, their friends, and so on.

The Regional Centers of University and Academic Services (CROUS) offer accommodation to international students at the cheapest rates. A big portion of foreign students reside in CROUS –housing. This residence can cost a student between150-600 Euro per month. However, if you are opting for a shared or rented apartment, the cost will proportionally rise to 300 to 700 EUR per month. In French suburbs, as a student, you can rent an apartment for a minimum of 300 EUR per month. Expensive and elite class universities like Grand Ecoles have student lodging within the institutes. These institutes however charge high prices for accommodation as they offer many high-class facilities. Staying in French homes is another option for international students. A cost ranging from €200-€800 per month is applied in this case depending on the location and type of residence. Home-stay generally includes at least one meal per day.

Accommodation Options in France

There are several options for you to choose from when considering your accommodation situation. The cost of rent in France is above the international average of 200-300 EUR per month, however, this is variable depending on where you are, and your desired levels of comfort and privacy. Here is some information about the various kinds of housing available to you as a student in France:

CROUS: The cheapest accommodation available is owned and managed by the Regional Centers of University and Academic Services (CROUS). 13% of the student population live in CROUS owned housing, which can cost as little as 150 EUR per month and up to 600 EUR. There is one CROUS residence per educational region (rather than one overarching body), so when applying for this housing make sure that you are dealing with the residence affiliated with your chosen institution of study. Once you have found the appropriate site, you must submit an ‘international lodging’ application and submit it before May 31st to receive accommodation for the next academic year.

University-owned accommodation: Specialized schools such as the Grandes Écoles own housing which they rent out to their students. Since these schools are private, application processes and costs are variable and you would need to look into individual establishments for further information.

Student lodging in a residence: There is also the option to live in non-CROUS owned student residences. The cost of this will be higher than CROUS because of the services and amenities included, but lower than a private residence. This is a good compromise if you want to maximize comfort but retain sociability.

Lodging with private owners: If none of these options appeal to you – perhaps you are a mature student, only enrolled in a short course, or simply value independence and privacy – then you can always rent a room or property through an individual or an estate agent. Renting an apartment costs between 400 and 700 EUR per month on average, although this is hugely variable depending on where in France you are. Outside of the main urban centers, you can rent an apartment for approximately 300 EUR per month.

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