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Paris is pricey, but is that good news for Parisians?

Ben McPartland · 4 Mar 2015, 12:57

Published: 04 Mar 2015 12:57 GMT+01:00

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Anyone who has spent even a little time in Paris will know how quickly the city can drain your wallet.

This week an annual study by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the City of Light as the second most expensive in the world, behind only Singapore and ahead of notoriously pricey cities like Oslo, Zurich and Sydney.

Paris maintained the ranking it achieved in last years study, after having jumped to second position for the World’s Most Expensive Cities from eighth position in 2013.

"Weak confidence in the euro means that Paris is the only euro zone city in the top ten," the report said.

"Despite a weakening currency, Paris remains structurally extremely expensive to live in, with only alcohol and tobacco offering value for money compared with other European cities," it added.

"Paris is joined among the most expensive European cities by Oslo, Zurich, Geneva and Copenhagen, perhaps reflecting that non-euro zone cities have become pricier in relation to their neighbours," the report continued.

But those living in Paris, should not be too dismayed, it seems.

Jon Copestake, the editor of the study told The Local on Wednesday that while Paris was pricey there was an upside.

“Paris has always been expensive. It’s partly driven by high real estate prices that feed through to retail prices," he said. "It's just structurally expensive and the high wages also makes a difference."

“Parisians shouldn’t see it as bad news. It's partly due to the high salaries there. It just means other places abroad are cheaper when they go and visit. They will have a much higher purchasing power. It’s the same in places like Oslo where prices are also driven up by the very high salaries," Copestake added.

The Economist's study of 133 global cities is carried out with expats in mind, so companies can know a little more about the cost of living in cities where they have employees.

It looked at the cost of living in ten categories from Alcohol goods and a grocery basket to the cost of clothing, utilities and tobacco.

Paris was ranked fairly highly in all categories apart from the cost of alcohol and tobacco. 

Copestake said Paris shot up the rankings in 2014 not because of any real hike in everyday prices of goods but more to do with the slight appreciation of the euro against the dollar last year.

But with the euro now having weakened he said we can expect Paris to fall back down the rankings next year.

Story continues below…

In the latest study Paris was judged among the most expensive cities when it came to the cost of bread and petrol, but the cost of cigarettes and wine was much lower compared to other cities.

Paris has also proved to be particularly expensive, compared to other cities when it comes to the cost of entertainment and clothes.

The same can be said for the cost of a basket of goods in a supermarket, although Copestake believes this may have something to do with the quality of product demanded by the French.

"The fact that it's such a quality driven market for groceries and clothing in Paris, means prices are higher," he said.

Tell us what you find to be the biggest rip-offs in Paris AND what about the best bargains?

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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