Do you think life in France is much more expensive that in the UK?

(17 Posts)
EmGee Tue 01-Jul-14 10:18:07

Just pondering really.

I tend to go back to UK a lot (visiting family etc) and also stock up on 'bargains' - e.g. toys in the sale/reduced price, kids' shoes (often bought in sale or at a Clark's outlet), supermarket buys e.g. Cheerios, weetabix etc, or Vanish if it's on offer.

It's the sales at the moment in France so I did use some cheques-cadeaux (thank you DH's work - get them before Christmas and they are valid all year!) to buy some Petit Bateau clothes - would normally never buy at full price.

I used to buy nappies in UK but now I just buy them at Aldi as they are cheap there and good quality.

Am always shocked at how expensive fruit/veg is in the local 'primeur' and meat is pricey too. (Ile-de-France area - imagine it is cheaper out in province).

OP’s posts: |
alteredimages Tue 01-Jul-14 22:29:16

I think it is much much more expensive for everything except for subsidised childcare. Even when people came to visit they couldn't believe how much things cost in the supermarket.

Bonsoir Thu 03-Jul-14 11:46:38

Food in the markets and at the green grocer is often amazing quality and you pay a lot for it, especially if it has travelled to Ile de France.

Public transport and schooling are cheap.

GreatAuntDinah Mon 14-Jul-14 08:28:59

University is a bargain. Food can be cheap in IdF if you know where to go, obviously not if you only shop at Monoprix in central Paris though. We pay about 350 euros a month for childcare and a monthly travelcard is about 100 euros. I'd say that compares well to the UK.

JustAShopGirl Mon 14-Jul-14 08:37:39

My dad lived in the region between Angouleme/Poitiers (Charente??) was dead cheap for fruit, veg and beef (most of it is grown/reared there). It was a very rural area, so public transport was by the school bus - which ran am/lunch/pm which cost residents nothing. And housing was ridiculously cheap (my £250k house with 20x20ft garden would have cost about £130k AND have half an acre)

I think it very much depends on which part of France you happen to live in.

FarFarAway Tue 15-Jul-14 20:54:50

Housing outside of Paris and the 78 is amazingly cheap compared to the UK. But I do think the UK is very inflated. But outside of the south east house prices are not as expensive either.

Transport around paris is a lot cheaper than London and petrol and diesel too.
I think food is more expensive for good quality. There does not seem to be same offers of buy 2 get one free or even products reduced when they are about to go out of date (Simply Market does this but is the only supermarket I have noticed).
Private education is definately cheaper here but public education is pretty expensive too. The rentree can cost a fortune to kit out 3 kids.
Holidays can be cheaper because loads of people here seem to have second homes or parents with second homes (which I try to borrow on the weeks they are not there!). And you can drive to other countries from here much easier. A holiday in Spain or Italy (although the french rarely leave france) is much cheaper if you take your own car.
I think all in all it probably works out about the same in the end.
It is just where you want to live.

GreatAuntDinah Wed 16-Jul-14 07:29:02

^ products reduced when they are about to go out of date^

I found this to be common practice when I lived in the 18th, maybe it depends on the neighbourhood? Though tbf a lot of it gets shipped out to discount warehouses in the 'burbs. There's one just down the road from us where I can pick up fifty quail's eggs for a euro fifty.


jaynebxl Wed 16-Jul-14 07:33:38

For us in the UK of course it all depends on the exchange rate. The only way really to judge is to look at cost of living relative to incomes.

justwondering72 Fri 18-Jul-14 07:35:39

The childcare costs are a huge difference. I cannot believe the thousands that friends in the UK are forking out for preschool childcare.

But like you op I always take an empty case back to the UK with me and stock up on loads of things that are relatively expensive here - toiletries, paracetamol, underwear for me, children's clothes and shoes,, cake and baking ingredients, anything vaguely medical like throat sweets, plasters, antiseptic cream, and of course food like cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika etc. we've also started doing a booze run just over the border to Spain when down south in the summer, filling the cellar with a years supply of washing powder, fairy liquid and olive oil at half the price of French supermarkets.

Our local markets are legendary for quality and price, no complaints there.

Something that takes a big chunk of our income here in France is insurance - so many different kinds of insurance required and the big ones, like the car, are way more pricey than the UK. Actually everything to do with the car is mega expensive here in France!

bunnyfrance Fri 18-Jul-14 10:23:51

I think it's just different things that are expensive - childcare may be relatively cheap in France, but then that's balanced by things like the mutuelle, which just goes up and up every year, whereas in the UK the NHS is free at the point of use....etc etc

slackcabbage Thu 14-Aug-14 12:55:45

Have a look here

As others have pointed out, childcare etc cheaper but insurance costs are higher so you have much less ready cash as it were.

slackcabbage Thu 14-Aug-14 13:28:25

Sorry managed to post link to this thread on wrong thread! blush

riverboat1 Sat 16-Aug-14 16:32:56

Groceries definitely seem more expensive, but also the euro/pound rate sometimes psychologically makes me think things are more expensive here than they actually are.

I definitely think there are fewer bargains to be had in France - you can find places where you pay less, but then the quality is often noticeably worse too. Whereas in the UK you can get decent quality stuff and good brands for less if you go to certain places. For example, there is no equivalent to TK Maxx here, something that makes me so sad! Every time I go back I just want to buy loads of home bits and kitchen things but it's too impractical to travel with most of the time.

Do people find they pay more for bills and utilities here than in the UK? It's hard for me to compare like for like, but it certainly seems more here. Mobile phone deals here are noticeably more expensive. And the cost of medical treatment too. I don't have a mutuel (work doesn't offer one) because I can't bear the thought of paying €€ per month for basic medical insurance when I'm never ill. But I know that someday it's going to come back to bite me if I don't get it sorted out.

When I wanted to buy a small, basic second hand car here all the dealerships basically laughed when I said my budget was €5000 and said they had nothing in that price range.

Alcohol is cheaper here though, so that's something!

clearsommespace Mon 18-Aug-14 20:42:38

Riverboat, it's going to be compulsory for employers to offer top up health insurance to their employees (from the beginning of 2016 I think) although you may have to contribute towards the premiums.

iwantgin Tue 02-Sep-14 07:19:00

I don't live in France yet but visit annually.

One thing I noticed this time is the toll road charges. In previous years we paid cash at each peage. I then signed up to APRR automated tag system. It's interesting as you can see exactly how much your drive has cost. This summer from Calais to Charente Maritime and (almost) back the charge was 112 euros?

If you are a resident in France do you purchase a cheaper rate version? Like a monthly pass or similar?

I guess most residents wouldn't be doing that route every week, but anyone who commutes to work may accrue some charges?

clearsommespace Tue 02-Sep-14 21:39:22

You can get a specific kind of subscription to the badge system where you pay a lower rate on your home-work commute but the ordinary rate on other journeys.

Also route planning web sites like can tell you what the standard tolls cost on a particular route.

iwantgin Wed 03-Sep-14 09:00:45

Ah thanks clearsommespace .

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