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What are the most expensive cities to be a student in France?

A new study reveals exactly where in France you need to be flush with cash to live as a student and where you can happily live on a smaller budget. This is what you need to know.

What are the most expensive cities to be a student in France?
Photo: AFP
A new report by France's main student union reveals exactly which cities in France are the most expensive for students and where the cost of living is on the rise.   
It might not come as too much of a surprise that living in Paris isn't exactly the cheapest option as a student. 
Unsurprisingly the French capital is the most expensive place to live, according to the report.
But in general the cost of being a student in France is on the rise everywhere, with the union already saying earlier this week that the cost of living had gone up by 1.3 percent. 
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Photo: AFP
The ranking takes into account the 40 largest university cities in France and lists them according to how much it costs to live there as a student.
To arrive at this figure UNEF used a fixed figure for basics such as food, expenses, leisure and added that to the average rents for student housing by city and the annual cost of public transport at student prices. 
This is what you need to know. 
The top ten most expensive student cities
After Paris, where the average monthly cost of living for a student is a whopping €1,224, the next most expensive place to be a student in France is Nanterre in the western suburbs of the French capital. 
Here, UNEF says it costs a student €1,100 per month and this commune is followed by another also in the vicinity of Paris, Creteil, where a student needs €1,089 to account for their monthly living costs. 
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Photo: AFP
In fact, Saint Denis (€1,052) in the northern suburbs of the French capital, Champs-sur-Marne (€1,017) in the eastern suburbs, Orsay (€1,007) — also in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France –and Cergy (€991) in the northwestern suburbs complete the top seven most expensive places to be a student in France. 
So, it's pretty clear cut which area you need to avoid if you want to live within your means as a student. 
Coming in 8th on the table is Nice on the French Riviera (€979) followed by Evry (€973) — also in the Paris suburbs — and Lyon (€931). 
Other cities among the priciest for students were Aix en Provence, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lille and Montpellier, which took up spots 11-15 in the ranking. 
By comparison, students in Limoges which came at the bottom of the list need €720 per month.
See the full list below. 
Source: UNEF
The student cities where the cost of living has gone up the most. Source: UNEF
The biggest increases in the cost of living for students were seen in Nanterre (4.53 percent), Lyon (3.32 percent), Toulouse (2.71 percent), Lille (2.62 percent), Nantes (2.66 percent) and Orleans (2.85) (see above).
Now let's break it down. 
Housing naturally takes up the biggest share of a student budget and it will come as no surprise that the cost of renting in Paris can be sky high. 
According to the report, it costs a student an average of €800 per month to rent an apartment in the French capital, with housing accounting for 68 percent of a student's total monthly budget.
This compares to just €330 per month in the port city of Brest in Brittany which came 39th on the list out of 40 and is the cheapest French town when it comes to housing costs.
The table below shows the most expensive student cities in terms of housing costs, with the list remaining pretty much the same as the overall list of most expensive cities for students to live. 
The one difference is that Aix-en-Provence in the south of France replaces Lyon, which comes in 11th (see top ten below). 
The student cities where the cost of housing has risen the most. Source: UNEF
However the cities where the cost of housing has gone up the most over the past year are Champs-sur-Marne (6.31 percent), Nanterre (4.9 percent), Le Havre (3 percent), Lyon (2.85 percent), Poitiers (2.5 percent), Orleans (1.94 percent), Grenoble (1.70 percent), Toulouse (1.56 percent) and Lille (1.36 percent). 
“With housing accounting for more than half of a student budget, each increase weighs heavily
on the purchasing power of young people,” said UNEF. 
The French capital also came first in the ranking of where students have to pay the most for transport, with students spending €342 per month on travel in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France. 
This region was followed by Tours, Rennes, Lyon and Dijon — all cities where student have to cough up more than €300 every month.
According to UNEF, the cost of travelling on public transport for students went up the most in Lille (3.8 percent), Clermont-Ferrand (2.5 percent) and Nantes (2.2 percent).
“In order to move within their university city, students have no choice but to subscribe to a get a travel card,” said UNEF. 
“As with rent, fares vary greatly from one city to another, and play a role in student inequality.”
Cheapest cities
Meanwhile, the best cities for those seeking out a reasonably priced student existence were Limoges, Brest, Poitiers, Le Mans, St Etienne, Angers, Besancon, Clermont Ferrand, Caen, Nancy, Reims and Orleans. 
In all of these cities, the average cost of living for students was under €793. 

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France to make period products free for students

The French government said on Tuesday it would make period products free for students, joining a global drive to end "period poverty" - the inability to pay for menstrual protection.

France to make period products free for students
Last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer free universal access to period products. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP

Higher Education Minister Frederique Vidal said that machines containing free tampons, sanitary towels and other period products would be installed in student residences and university health services in the coming weeks.

She added that the government aimed to make period protection “completely free of charge” for all by the start of the next academic year in September.

In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all, blazing a trail that inspired feminists and anti-poverty campaigners around the world to also take up the issue of period poverty.

In England, free period products are available in all primary and secondary schools – a move New Zealand said last week it too would implement.

In December, President Emmanuel Macron had promised to also address the issue of period poverty.

Commenting on the plight of homeless women, he noted that “the fact of having your period in the street and to not be able to buy something to protect yourself and preserve your dignity” added to the humiliation they suffered.

The move to make sanitary protection free for students comes amid a growing focus on youth poverty following shock images of food banks being swamped by hard-up students due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many students say they are struggling to make ends meet after losing part-time jobs in cafes and restaurants which have been closed for months due to the health crisis.