11 Best places to live in France
France has so many gems you should know about. We collected top places for you to live in France in hope you will find something special on the list.
Cost of living in France
|City||Monthly rental (1 bed central apartment)||3 course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant||Monthly cost for 4 person family, before rent|
France is a reasonably wealthy country; OECD statistics show average household disposable income running at USD 31,137 a year, slightly above the OECD average. The cost of living in France is therefore fairly high - Numbeo puts it 15% higher than the cost of living in the US - though that figure is somewhat distorted by the high cost of living in Paris. The French capital comes 62nd on human resources consultant Mercer's city cost of living ranking, behind London, but ahead of Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Munich or Madrid. Looking at Numbeo's stats shows that renting a flat in Paris, for instance, runs about double the cost in most other French cities, while a restaurant meal in Paris will set you back 15 euros more than if you eat out in Limoges or Lille. Even groceries in Paris are 10-20% more expensive than in other cities.
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|Meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant||35||50||52|
|Bottle of mid-range wine||5,00||6,00||8,04|
|Monthly utilities for 85m2 apartment||112,73||134,01||161,58|
|3 bed city centre apartment, monthly rent||590,25||1 249,51||1 364,68|
In fact when you look at the European perspective, Eurostat's numbers show France comes well below the highest priced countries (Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries) in regard to the general cost of living, though above Spain, Portugal and the former COMECON countries. It's also slightly cheaper than the UK and Ireland. Given the country's high quality of life, and good public services, that seems a fairy reasonable bargain.
A more detailed comparison with the UK and Spain shows how France sits fairly squarely in the middle of the two. For instance, you'll pay a euro more for your cappuccino in France than you do in Spain, and another thirty cents in the UK; a monthly local transport ticket costs thirteen euros more in France than in Spain, and another thirteen euros (bar a few cents) in the UK. (Bear in mind, though, that if you move to a smaller, cheaper city in France, you'll end up with lower living costs than you would in Barcelona).
Housing prices in France follow the same pattern as the overall cost of living, with Paris by far the most expensive place to buy at over EUR 9,160 per square metre. As soon as you leave the city proper and move into the Ile de France, prices halve. Major cities with thriving economies, such as Lyon, Nice, Toulouse and Montpellier, come a little way further down the list, while in mainly rural departments such as Cotes d'Armor, Dordogne and Correze, properties sell at as little as EUR 1,030 per square metre.
|Region||Price / m2, EUR||Region||Price / m2, EUR|
|Average for France||2,010||Marseille||2,430|
|Ile de France||4,010||Cotes d'Armor, Brittany||1,260|
|Lyon and Nice||3,650||Dordogne||1,190|
Source: Notaires de France, Q4 2017 - resale properties only