Cost of Living in Paris: Everything You Need to Know
People ask me on a daily basis how I can afford to live in Paris, and just how expensive is it, really? Paris is on many people’s radar as an overly pricey city, which is true in some respects, but definitely not in others. This article is all about the cost of living in Paris: everything you need to know. I hope it will help answer some of your questions about the cost of living in Paris!
Cost of Living in Paris: Housing
Housing is by far the biggest expense when you’re calculating the cost of living in Paris. The city is very desirable, and already densely populated. This combo has pushed housing prices through the roof in recent years throughout most of Paris and surrounding suburbs. But in reality, the cost of living all depends on your lifestyle, and your situation.
An average studio apartment in the city center will cost between €950 and €1400 a month. This is generally in the real center, so arrondissements 1-7. The further you go from the center, the more prices drop (with the exception of chic areas like the 16th and Montmartre). A basic studio apartment in the outer arrondissements will save you quite a bit; prices are on average between €800 and €1200 per month. Want more in-depth information? Check out my full guide to renting an apartment in Paris.
Cost of Living in Paris: Food (Groceries)
Groceries are an important factor to consider if you’re trying to figure out the cost of living in Paris. And in my experience, Paris’ expensive housing prices are more than compensated for by the city’s affordable groceries.
But one of the strange things about Paris is, the grocery store prices vary wildly from one neighborhood to the next. Even within the same chain! I suggest spending some time exploring the supermarkets near you and find the one you think has the best deals.
If you cook at home, you can eat very well in Paris for less than €10 per day. This is in my own experience for a full three meals, and I tend to buy mostly organic. So if you’re not too picky you can really save some cash! And if you’re really on a tight budget, I suggest heading to some of the city’s farmer’s markets for your shopping. Marché d’Aligre in the 12th is a local favorite for low prices and great variety of fresh goods.
marché d’aligre – place d’aligre 75012, paris
metro station: ledru rollin
opening hours: tuesday – sunday 8AM//1PM
Cost of Living in Paris: Food (Dining Out)
The cost of living in Paris when it comes to dining out is actually really reasonable – especially with regards to the quality you get. French cuisine is famous worldwide, and many vistors to Paris assume it will be too expensive to eat out while here.
Au contraire, actually, the average price for a meal (considered a starter, main and dessert in France) is on average €15 at lunchtime. This is the price for a decent (read: delicious) brasserie in the heart of Paris. At dinnertime the average price rises to €19 a head, but this is still nothing to gawk at. And many eateries such as Bouillon Julien or Café de l’Industrie have menus for far less than that. Plus, they really do provide exceptional French food to boot.
Street food is way cheaper and will run you about €5 on average for a kebab, panini, crêpe, etc. So this is a really popular option with students and young people in Paris. Plus, street food spots tend to stay open until the wee hours which is unusual for Paris!
Cost of living in Paris: Transport
Paris is a very walk-able city, and honestly this is one of the best ways to explore. But sometimes, you just need to get where you’re going a little quicker.
With regards to transport, Paris is actually one of the least expensive cities I’ve ever been to. An unlimited monthly pass, or Navigo will cost you just €75, or €39 if you’re a student. The pass allows you to use Paris’ extensive public transport network of subway (metro), bus, tram and even city bikes. Paris metro network here is actually one of the largest and most efficient in the world! In the metro, you can get pretty much anywhere in Paris in under 30 minutes.
Unlike the systems in London, Hong Kong, or New York, the monthly metro pass in Paris is unlimited, you aren’t debited each time you use it. With a monthly pass or Navigo, you can take the bus, metro, tram as many times as you want, as far as you’d like. And the pass even includes the interurban trains (RER) to get to places like Versailles or Fontainebleau, or even the airport at no extra cost! This makes getting around the city pretty affordable, and quick too.
Cost of living in Paris: Utilities
Utlities are one important factor which is often overlooked when figuring out the cost of living in Paris. But utilities are important to consider, and include expenses like your phone plan, internet, electricity, gas, and water.
The average cost of utilities like gas, water, and electricity really depends on where you live, and how big your apartment is. Normally, you can count on paying between €35 and €50 a month for a studio apartment (usually 30 square meters or less). For a one bedroom flat, the cost goes up to €70 a month on average. Of course, the bigger your flat, the higher the costs. Sometimes, the utilities cost is built into the rental price, so be sure to ask your landlord for specifics.
Internet and phone plans in Paris are relatively inexpensive. You have a couple options: prepaid cards or a monthly plan. If you’re here long-term, I would recommend setting up a monthly plan. Companies like Free offer combined internet, TV and phone service for as low as €20 a month. Prepaid phone plans are also available in many tabac shops and can be as cheap as €5.
Cost of living in Paris: Entertainment and Going Out
Now this is one major aspect of the cost of living in Paris, entertainment and going out are a big part of the Parisian lifestyle. Unlike in the U.S., entertainment like going to the cinema or a concerto isn’t a rare or special occasion for Parisians. Many go to the cinema or see performances multiple times per week! Luckily, enjoying these little luxuries is pretty affordable in Paris.
An average adult movie ticket in Paris costs €8 and you can purchase an unlimited monthly cinema pass for around €35. There are special reductions for seniors and youth as well, and going in the morning for a matinée is always a bit cheaper. Read our guide on finding English-speaking movies in Paris here.
If music or the arts are more your style, Paris is the place to be! Often, concerts and artistic performances are held at various monuments around the city like Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre-Coeur. And for really affordable prices. I’ve seen Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a couple Beethoven concertos and even opera in Paris for less than €20 a ticket!
Going out in Paris can be as costly as you want it to be. Whether you’re a student on a tight budget or a professional with plenty of euros to throw around, there’s options in Paris for you. Student areas like the Latin Quarter, Ménilmontant, and Châtelet have lots of cheap options for students in terms of bars and nightclubs. But you can find a good happy hour just about anywhere if you know where to look. Check out our guide to the best happy hours in Saint-Germain to see what I’m talking about.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, a drink at any of Paris’ craft cocktail bars or sumptuous hotels is always a treat. But keep in mind that you’ll be shelling out between €20 and €30 for a cocktail. Nightclubs abound in Paris, though most of the luxurious ones are located off the Champs-Elysées, and you’ll need to dress to impress. Here’s my guide to the most luxurious nightclubs in Paris, if you’d like a little more inspiration.
Cost of Living in Paris: Fitness and Healthcare
Actually, the cost of living in Paris for well-being and overall fitness is really low compared with other western nations. In terms of fitness, you have a couple options in Paris: join a gym, take some fitness classes or simply exercise outdoors for free.
The cheapest option (read: free) is taking advantage of Paris’ many parks such as the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Buttes-Chaumont to do your workouts. The riverbanks along the Seine are also popular running spots, though running on cobblestones takes some getting used to!
If you want to join a gym, you have several different choices, with various locations across the city. Neoness is one of the most affordable, with memberships starting at €20 per month. Paris is also home to some more exclusive gyms like ClubMed, l’Usine and Kiwill (focused on spinning). Exercise or fitness classes are a great way to stay in shape in Paris, and the average price for a single yoga course (1 hour) is €12, though you can find classes for any budget.
Healthcare is also affordable in Paris, and a regular doctors visit will set you back just €25. That’s without insurance! If you have insurance, you can get the full amount reimbursed. Of course, you can find more expensive general doctors and specialists, but during my six years in Paris, I’ve never once paid more than €70 for healthcare or even prescriptions.
Cost of Living in Paris: Clothes and Shoes
One more thing to consider for the cost if living in Paris is clothes and shoes. If you’ll be here for awhile, you’ll need to go shopping from time to time.
Paris is one of the best cities in the world to shop in! People often remark that shopping in Paris must be so expensive, but in reality it totally depends where you shop. Of course Paris is known for being the birthplace of iconic luxury brands like Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, but the city has a diverse population, and it caters well to their various shopping needs.
In areas like the Marais, Saint-Germain, and the Champs-Elysées, you’ll find luxury brand boutiques next to high street shops and vintage stores. You can easily spend €30 or €300 on a pair of shoes, the same goes for a shirt. It just depends where you shop! But in Paris, there’s really something for every price range.
There are plenty of department stores in Paris as well, like the Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and le Bon Marché. And if you really want a unique Parisian shopping experience, be sure to check out the city’s famous flea markets!
Well now you’ve read my guide to the cost of living in Paris: everything you need to know. I hope this has been helpful to you, and see you soon in Paris!