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COST OF LIVING

Here’s how Paris costs much more than the rest of France

Daily life in Paris is on average almost nine percent more expensive than anywhere else in France, according to a new extensive study.

Here's how Paris costs much more than the rest of France
Photo: AFP
Perhaps it's no surprise that over one in two Parisians dream of leaving the city, according to a 2012 survey at least
 
Fresh stats published on Thursday by French statistics agency Insee found that daily consumer costs in the rest of France, or Les Provinces as the area outside the capital is known, were 8.8 percent cheaper than inside the capital. 
 
The agency noted that the figures took into account consumption patterns. 
 
The biggest difference, unsurprisingly, was in the cost of housing – which is 24.7 percent more expensive in Paris. The soaring rental costs alone in Paris were 49 percent more expensive, but the figure was brought down by the fact that other housing expenditures like garbage and maintenance were only six percent dearer.
 
The report also found that hotels and restaurants were around eight percent more expensive in Paris than the rest of France, that transport was almost six percent dearer, and “leisure and culture” was close to seven percent more costly.
 
Meanwhile food and non-alcoholic beverages were 6.4 percent more pricey, household furniture was four percent dearer, and “health” up at 6.5 percent more expensive. 
 
The only things that were around even were medicine and gas prices, and Paris was only a cheaper option when it came to buying cultural goods like computers, books and cameras. 
 
Of course, living outside of Paris means a much more spacious home for the same amount of money too, something the study didn't take into account.
 
French channel BFM TV spoke to a man who had left Paris to live in Normandy, and who for €250,000 had bought a 120-metre square home with a garden. The same amount of money would have got him a 30 metre squared flat in Paris, the channel noted. 
 
The former Parisian added that he noticed other glaring differences in day-to-day life, such as cinema tickets costing as little as €6 in Normandy, compared to as much as €11 in Paris, or a coffee on the terrace sinking from an average of €3.20 in Paris to just €1.40 in his new home town. 
 
Earlier this year a survey revealed how much more you could get for your money outside Paris when it comes to rent.
 
The survey compared statistics for 12 cities around France and found that Paris, unsurprisingly, was a rare exception when it comes to average apartment size. 
 
In fact, you can get an apartment almost twice as big for €624 if you choose to leave Paris and live in Nice, where you'd be able to score 29 square metres, meaning you'll probably have the luxury of having a separate bedroom.
 
And it only gets bigger from there.
 
Montpellier in the south saw an average size of 40m2 if you have €624 to fork out, while Lille and Marseille both recorded 41m2 as the size one could get for the national average rent price.

 
So why do the Parisians stick it out?
 
The obvious answer is that wages are higher in the capital. Indeed, a previous Insee study found that Parisians rake in between eight and ten percent more money each year than the rest of their compatriots. 
 
 
Renting: How far would your money go outside Paris?

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EXPATS

From TV to snacks: Tips for how to get your home comforts in France

Here are some tips for how to get your favourite TV shows and snacks whilst living in France so you can enjoy at least some of the comforts from home.

From TV to snacks: Tips for how to get your home comforts in France
Photo: AFP
There’s nothing quite like sitting down in front of the TV with a cup of tea and Mars Bar or Snickers.
 
But tuning into the your favourite shows or hunting down your favourite tea bags isn’t always easy when you’re living in France.

The easiest way to tune into English-language TV from your home in France is via a satellite dish. 

For Brits living in France, installing a dish and FreeSat box will get you up to 140 TV and radio channels from back home, so you can tune into the latest series of the Great British Bake Off without a hitch. 

You make a one-off payment and then you’re set – no contract necessary.

To set your satellite connection up and pointed in the right direction, get in touch with an installer such as The French HouseDD ElectronicsDigiTV Solutions or FreeSat in France

But if you don't fancy (or just can't) install a big dish on your house then watching TV via the internet is your other option.

There are sites like Film On TV, which used to be free, but now you'll probably have to pay to watch your favourite channels, although it still offers some programmes free for a certain amount of time.

Many expats have turned to VPNs (Virtual Private Network) for their laptops which essentially disguises what country you are in, so you can watch your favourite TV programmes online.

But TV companies like the BBC and Sky are cracking down on VPNs and making it harder for expats to connect. However the EU is putting pressure on broadcasters to allow people to watch TV no matter what country they are in. SO things may change for the better in the future.

Finally, British expats who split their time between the UK and France BBC iPlayerAll4Sky Go and ITV Hub all allow UK TV licence payers to download programmes and keep them for around 30 days. So you could stock up when you go home and settle into the sofa for 30 days when you get back.

American readers missing their TV shows will be pleased to know there's an option for you too. 

Digital satellite provider CanalSat will make sports fans very happy – it broadcasts ESPN so you never have to miss a baseball, NFL, and American football game again.

You can also tune in to CNN, NBC, and even catch The Tonight Show. 

As long as you don't mind waiting a few months after the programmes have been aired, a subscription to Netflix may be the perfect solution.. 

Netflix gives you access to its latest original TV series and many others, including shows from NBC, the CW, ABC and the BBC. 

Hulu's also a great alternative, with SNL, South Park, and Modern Family ready to watch at any time, from anywhere. 

Once you’re sat in front of your favourite series, the matter of finding your favourite snacks from home can be just as difficult. 

Some French supermarkets have world food aisles where you might be able to strike it lucky.

But more often than not they're a jumble of products and you never know what you might find. 

Brits missing out on Marmite, Cup-a-Soup, and McVitie’s biscuits can place online orders with websites like British Cornershop and Brit Superstore who deliver straight to your door. 

And if you're in Paris, don't forget there's always WH Smiths on Rue de Rivoli and the numerous Marks & Spencer outlets around town, which offe plenty of snacks and indeed some decent meals.

The American equivalents, My Little America and My American Market, also promise all the Pop Tarts, Hershey's and Lucky Charms money can buy. 

If you’re based in the capital, a trip to La Grande Epicerie in the 7th arrondissement will satisfy any food cravings. 

The upmarket shop has treats from America, the UK, Italy, India and Asia

But it will come at a cost: one can of Heinz baked beans will set you back almost three euros and a box of Froot Loops cereal costs €12.25. There is also the English, Scottish, Irish epicerie at cité de Vauxhall near Place de la Republique which offers English ales, cereals and sweets.

With the American holiday season coming up very soon, make sure to stop by Thanksgiving grocery store in Paris' 4th arrondissement (for the non-Parisians, there's an online shop too). 

Aside from New York bagels, Jello, and hot sauces, the shop stocks all the must-haves for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners: yams, cranberries, and turkeys, as well as home-made desserts. 

Amazon is also any expat's friend for finding the taste of home. 

But getting your family and friends to bring your favourite snacks from home is always going to be the least expensive, and most reliable, way to source your home comforts. 

By Anna Schaverien

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