HOW much more expensive is life in France than England

(20 Posts)
flyingcloud Fri 14-Jan-11 09:26:06

Has anyone, please, got facts and figures?

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flyingcloud Fri 14-Jan-11 09:26:24

Dammit, no question mark in the title.

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AuldAlliance Fri 14-Jan-11 10:56:41

Funny you should ask, I was wondering that. Though Scotland, not England.

I was considering trying to make a chart of costs (groceries, utilities, childcare, school lunches, taxes, etc.) as offset against earnings and ask some MNers in the UK to do the same, to compare. A bit overworked right now to do it, sadly.

flyingcloud Fri 14-Jan-11 11:36:17

I can't believe there isn't some index out there, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe if I trawl through EU documents I might find it, but it would take me until 2065 to do that grin

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AuldAlliance Fri 14-Jan-11 11:43:00

One problem is regional variations, I think: there's a pretty big difference in prices between different parts of France, and I presume it's similar in the UK. Hard to make a reliable register, unless you base it on capital cities, maybe?

BriocheDoree Fri 14-Jan-11 12:19:01

Yes, we moved here (Ile de France) from Edinburgh, and it's more expensive than life there, but it's definitely cheaper than London where we lived previously!
I find my weekly shop is expensive, and goods are expensive, but things like motoring, holidays and housing are cheaper. I'd be interested to know how benefits would differ as well (carer's allowance, for ex.) and I suspect we would no longer be eligible for family allowance in the UK...

frenchfancy Fri 14-Jan-11 16:39:29

Things like kid's clothes are much more expensive, and telephone and postage costs are much higher. Wine of course is cheaper, as are horse riding lessons, chicken food and vets bills.

Our housing costs are much cheaper than when we were in London, but we spend much more on heating.


flyingcloud Fri 14-Jan-11 18:22:30

Thanks all, yes, I think regional variations would play a big part. Costs are a lot cheaper in parts of France, but groceries seem pretty expensive throughout. French friends often comment on how expensive where we live is (Chantilly) an hour north of Paris.

I did find this, but not particularly scientific and it is a direct comparision with NYC.

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ChickFlit Sun 16-Jan-11 09:52:53

We own a property 30 miles outside of London which DH lives in during the week and a house in Brittany where I live with DC's. The house in Brittany was far and away the cheapest of the two properties to buy but I think that's about where it stops these days.

Taxe d'habitation and fonciere plus the extra one for the bins now come up to the same as the council tax in UK. Electricity, water, heating all cheaper in UK. Food now cheaper in UK. Clothing cheaper in UK. White goods cheaper in UK. My DH pays £30 for phone, broadband and TV all rolled into one, I pay 33 euros for broadband, 23 euros for line rental etc.

My wages in UK were much higher than I earn working here in France.

I did have to pay quite a bit on my commute into London in the UK but travelling to work here in France now costs me 60 euros a week (car runs on unleaded), DH pays £200 a month on commuting to work in London. Of course second hand cars cost much more to buy here in France so if I changed the car I'd get more car for my money in the UK and then have to change it over to French headlights etc.

I pay more in tax and cotisations here plus there's the monthly top up for health insurance.

We bought our house in Brittany 10 years ago and it's probably in the last five that we've seen the prices really start to hike up.

Got a big garden here though and the DC's are happy.

ChickFlit Sun 16-Jan-11 09:54:42

Oh and school dinners, 8,00 euros a day for two DCs - makes me want to weep.

flyingcloud Sun 16-Jan-11 19:33:09

Thanks Chickflit, that's really interesting and confirms my own experience.

I know we've had loads of threads on this but just doing new year financial spring cleaning and am weeping at our outgoings and how much we spend on food.

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MrsSchadenfreude Sun 16-Jan-11 21:07:28

Oh yes, small "fermier" chicken, around 12 euros, will only do us for one meal. Used to pay the same for a local free range one in UK, which would easily do us for two meals. I can't bring myself to look at the price of fruit and veg any more, or we wouldn't eat.

I used to spend 200 quid a month on our food in UK, using a combination of Asda, local butcher/green grocer and wine merchant. I seem to spend around 170 euros a week in Monoprix or Franprix and around 100 at the market every two weeks.

There is a company which works out overseas "uplift" for expats - I will look it up tomorrow and see what it works out at for Paris (it takes London as zero).

flyingcloud Mon 17-Jan-11 08:38:19

Well, we are within easy commuting distance of Paris and close to CDG and the A1.
Rent: more expensive
Food: more expensive (Friends from all over France comment on this, even Parisians)
Market: In our town, expensive, in surrounding villages less expensive but overall more expensive than UK
Heating: More expensive
Electricity: More expensive

Where we lived in the UK was 1.5hrs from London, fairly expensive nonetheless, but still cheaper than here.

MrsS I so agree about the chicken - I am shocked at how little we get out of one. There are only 2.5 of us (DD, 11 months doesn't eat that much) and I probably spend only 25% less than you on shopping. We entertain quite a bit which sounds so pretentious, but any friends passing by or flying in and out of CDG, driving up or down the A1 drop in to see us, this is at least twice a week so that brings our food costs up quite a bit.

I went to the market on Saturday and bought some nice fish as a treat but the price I paid for it meant I didn't really enjoy the taste...

I am trying to cook very healthily at the moment as both DH and DD have had constant colds and viruses since the beginning of December but buying so many fresh fruit and veggies is breaking the bank.

And don't get me started on trying to shop organic.

I am also trying to negotiate pay with work and need some facts and figures to go with it other than a sinking feeling as I get everytime my weekly shop is totted up at the till.

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ByThePowerOfGreyskull Mon 17-Jan-11 08:48:32

Depending on when you moved you may well find the prices have increased in the UK as well though.

We shop at a combination of Sainsburys/supermarket and the butchers/greengrocers.

Prices have increased dramatically in the last few years, Fruit and veg is still ok (but not cheap) but our weekly shop used to be around £50-60 without me being tight on the budget or trying too hard, if I employ the same mindset now in the supermarket (not over indulging though) it comes to £100-150.

heating prices and petrol prices are through the roof, current diesel price here is £1.36 a litre

flyingcloud Mon 17-Jan-11 09:09:04

ByThePowerOfGreyskull - no doubt prices have increased in the UK. It would be interesting to see a direct comparision. Maybe there is always a grass-is-always-greener mentality.

However I will say that most people living in France now comment that whereas five years ago they would do all their shopping France, now a lot of people do their shopping in the UK, filling up their cars on the way back.

I heard of one lady who buys cereal in England as she has something like five teenage boys who get through an enormous quantity of cereal and cereal is definitely more expensive here. She literally fills up her car with cereal - even making special trips over, as English people fill up theirs with wine!

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ChickFlit Mon 17-Jan-11 09:50:25

I make my DH do my shopping in the UK and then bring it out to France. I only buy my veg here at the market and a little bit of meat. Fish is much cheaper though, but I think that's because we only live 30-40 mins from the coast and the French do like their fish. It's funny you should mention cereal that's what we buy in cereal mountains, boxes and boxes of the stuff. Boxes of cereal are half the size and twice the price in France and my DC's will have two or three bowls every morning before school.

DH and I are very careful with money at the moment with the price of things going up in both countries so we pretty much compare prices on most things before we buy, even a packet of lentils in the local supermarket in France is double the price of a larger packet in Asda. Soap powder etc all cheaper in the UK.

Even unleaded is cheaper in the UK, although I think diesel is still cheaper in France.

My electricity in France has gone up 60 euros a month in the last 12 months and I use less now than I ever have.

When we first bought our house and it was a holiday home we would stock up on clothes for the DC's in France and take back food etc to the UK, it is definitely very much the other way round now. Even buying things for renovating the house; insulation in B&Q is half the price that you can buy it here, and the Brico shops here are run by Kingfisher Group too so it's the same company.

However FC I think there is now a company operating in France who will bring you your shopping from the UK for a percentage of the price of the shopping and it's still working out cheaper than using the French supermarkets. I've noticed a lot of people on the Brittany forums are talking about it, I'll have a look and see if I can get the details for you. I think they'll even bring you stuff from Argos and M&S.

I don't deny that prices have gone up in the UK but we are a family with a foot in both countries so to speak as DH is living at our place just outside London full time and we're living in France full time so I think I've got a pretty good grasp on the differences in both countries. What always gets me about France is that it seems so non competitive with things like mobile contracts, broadband etc. My French mobile costs twice as much as my DH's UK phone and I can't afford to make any calls on mine, whereas he can't use all the free stuff he's given with his.

Still we're here now and in the summer it will be lovely and I'll remember why I love living in France, winters are always grim I find.

FingonTheValiant Mon 17-Jan-11 10:28:47

My inlaws insist that we need to move to France so that our life will be cheaper and refuse to believe us when we say we'll be completely skint! We are actually going to move there, but not because of the money.

Fortunately my parents have a holiday home in the same departement as we're looking to buy in, so they've promised to bring all my shopping over with them about once a month!

Also our friends in that area all have veggie patches that produce enormous quantities (good soil). I'll be planting one as soon as we have a house to try to keep costs down a bit.

DH has some friends who also live in the UK. Whenever we see them all they do is moan and moan about how expensive the UK is. They don't really go back home all that often and are very out of touch. They're going to get the shock of their lives when they do move back, I think. The weird thing is that they are from Cannes, which I can't believe was that much cheaper than the UK to start with! DH is from Marseille and we're saving now for our holiday there in the summer, and that's with free accommodation, as it's so expensive down there.

bunnyfrance Mon 17-Jan-11 10:44:00

Hmmm, yes ok, some things are more expensive here, but don't you think the quality of life is better in return? Things like shorter working hours (well, outside Paris anyway), easier and better access to medical facilities, inexpensive childcare, generous options for parental leave once you have two children, delicious food, good unpretentious restaurants...ummm, am trying to think of more!

FingonTheValiant Mon 17-Jan-11 14:56:37

Depends on your line of work. Hours are shorter, but the pay can be dire and bring the per hour pay down. Inexpensive childcare is tricky to find in some parts of the countryside. The delicious food is expensive to buy.

But I completely agree about the restaurants.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 17-Jan-11 19:20:06

OK, I looked it up. Ranking London as 100, Paris is 125. So yes, it is more expensive. I am not sure what that includes, whether it is food, clothes, bills and everything or what.

And don't get me started on the price of fish.

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