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PARIS

How much money do I need to live in Paris?

Moving to Paris is a dream for many, but while the city has the best employment opportunities in France it is also notoriously expensive - we take a look at the income level you are likely to need to live here.

How much money do I need to live in Paris?
Paris is notoriously expensive to live in. Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

One of the most common reasons people give for moving to France is the quality of life here, and many people are prepared to take a salary cut or reduce their working hours in order to achieve a better work/life balance – but how much do you actually need to live on?

A popular destination for tourists and new arrivals alike, Paris has the advantage of lots of jobs (and international jobs and English-speaking roles do tend to be concentrated in the capital) but is also notoriously expensive.

However according to a study by Insee, salaries in Paris were found to be between 20 and 25 percent higher than in the rest of the country. So, while cost of living is higher in Paris, salaries do tend to be higher as well. 

Housing – €1,292 a month

Renting a one bedroom apartment will cost you approximately €1,292.14 per month. Housing in Paris is significantly more expensive than the rest of France, and the housing shortage also means that some landlords are charging a lot for properties that are not in good repair.

Like most cities, property is more expensive in the city centre, and it falls as soon as you cross the périphérique into the suburbs, which are not technically counted as Paris but are often connected to the Metro making the commute very feasible.

If you are looking to purchase an apartment, the average price per square metre according to property website SeLoger is €10,962. For renters, the average price per metre squared is €32 in Paris. 

But while Paris is undoubtedly pricey, it could be worse – Numbeo estimates that rent on average is 62.11 percent lower than in New York.

Property taxes – If you are a tenant you probably won’t need to pay any property taxes as the householders’ tax taxe d’habitation is being phased out, but if you buy you will need to pay the property owners’ tax – taxe foncière. The TV licence – previously €138 per year per household – has been scrapped this year.

Transport – €75.20 a month

Paris and its immediate suburbs are well connected by train and public transport and you will not need a car when living in the city. Per month, the Navigo card, which gives unlimited access to the Paris public transport system (Metro, bus, tram and train) costs €75.20. 

Paris is a remarkably compact capital city with an increasingly good cycle lane network, so you may chose to largely shun public transport altogether and walk, cycle or use a scooter. Individual transport tickets are sold for €1.90.

Utilities – €110 to €154 a month

Energy prices are set nationally in France and in August 2022, the electricity cost per kilowatt for those with a regulated rate with the national energy provider (EDF) was €0.1740 TTC.

If you heat your home with gas, but use an electric cooker, your average energy bill in France is about €81 for both gas and electricity.

In contrast, if you heat your heating, hot water, and stove top are all electric, then your average bill is likely to be higher, around €125 per month. 

Because of the above-mentioned tough property market if you’re in Paris you’re likely to be in a small apartment and the advantage of that is that it’s cheaper to heat.

In France, an average monthly internet bill is €29. 

Healthcare – €38 per month

Once you have lived in France for three months you are entitled to register in to public healthcare system – here’s how.

Once you are registered (and it can take a few months) the state reimburses the majority of your costs for medical appointments, prescriptions and treatments. There is also the option to purchase top-up insurance known as a mutuelle, which (in most cases) will ensure that 100 percent of your medical costs are reimbursed.

For a single person, the average cost of a mutuelle is €38 per month, and if you are an employee your employer must pay at least half of the monthly cost.

Groceries – €260 per month

In France, the national average for a panier (a basket of essential groceries) per month is €230 for a single person. In Paris, these costs are typically higher than the national average. For instance, in central Paris, at a grocery store like U Express, a single person will on average spend approximately €260 per month, according to the site Que Choisir, which aggregated data on average grocery store bundles across France. 

Que Choisir found that the price of a panier depends largely on which grocery store you shop at. Budget-friendly grocery stores, such as E. Leclerc are known to be cheaper. Western France – places like Brittany, Nouvel Aquitaine, and Pays de la Loire – tend to see lower prices on average for groceries, as a result of a higher volume of E.Leclerc stores.

Childcare – €180-€400 per month (means tested)

After the age of three, children are required to attend pre-school (maternelle). This is free, public and mandatory. However, until your child reaches the age of three, you may need to budget for childcare – usually either a nanny, childminder or a nursery.

For public nurseries, the prices are determined on the basis of income. Typically, if you earn between €2,000 and €3,000 per month, you will find yourself paying between €180 and €250 a month for full-time daycare at a crèche. If you earn between €2,000 and €4,000 you might the crèche will cost you between €250 and €400.

READ MORE: Family-centred society: What it’s really like being a parent in France

If your income is higher than €4,000 per month, then you may find yourself paying closer to €1,000 per month.

The prices are staggered because childcare through a crèche or nounou (childminder) is state subsidised,

Families in France also benefit from other state benefits. After your child is born, you may qualify for the “prestation d’accueil du jeune enfant (Paje)” which can be paid at the time of the birth (or adoption) of the child and until the child reaches the age of six, for families who demonstrate the financial need. CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales de Paris) also offers assistance to low-income families with children. 

For childcare during the summer, your child can take part in the colonies de vacances – which are an opportunity to go away from home to learn and participate in new activities. The price to send your child can be subsidised by CAF, based on income.

Salary

If you’re moving to France to work, you might notice that wages are lower than your home country, especially for Americans. You will, however, be covered by the minimum wage.

As of August 2022 the national minimum wage – known as the SMIC – in France is €11.07 per hour before taxes, which comes out to about €8.76 after taxes. A full-time worker on minimum wage would earn €1,329.05 per month, after taxes.

As noted above, salaries in Paris are on average higher than the rest of the country.

Total – Approximately €1,800 post-tax

As we have demonstrated, there are lots of variables, but if you are a single person who does not need to pay for childcare, €1,800 net is a good guide for the amount of monthly income you will need.

The biggest chunk of your spending will go toward housing, so luckily there are some alternatives such as a colocation (with roommates) a studio or living outside the city itself.

The above totals are of course of only guides. You would need to factor in taxes, but if your income is low you will generally not pay income tax.

While there is quite a significant amount of government help available to low-income households, this isn’t always available to new arrivals and will involve you navigating the French social security system, which is not always easy for newcomers. 

When we asked our readers who had moved to France, few had been motivated by money and the majority said that their overall quality of life was better in France. 

READ MORE: ‘Our life is so much better here’ – Why do people move to France?

One major plus for life in France is that if circumstances mean that the cost of living rises dramatically, you can rely on your new compatriots to be very stroppy about it until the government takes action to help individuals cope with their bills. 

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CULTURE

Rebel ballet dancer and TV judge suddenly quits Paris Opera

One of the best-known male dancers at the Paris Opera, who has won a big following outside ballet for working as a judge on the French equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing, on Wednesday quit the company after months of tension.

Rebel ballet dancer and TV judge suddenly quits Paris Opera

Francois Alu, 28, known for his rugged physique and virtuoso leaps, will leave the Paris Opera so he has “complete professional freedom”, both parties said in a joint statement published by the opera.

The news was unexpected, coming just seven months after the Paris Opera named Alu an etoile (star), its highest-ranking title, after intense pressure from ballet fans for the promotion.

But there has also been tension over his highly publicised role as a judge on Danse avec les stars (Dance with the Stars), the French equivalent of the smash hit BBC show in Britain Strictly Come Dancing.

“I have decided to regain my complete professional freedom in order to be able to fully realise my artistic aspirations,” Alu said in the statement.

The Paris Opera emphasised that the decision came after a “dialogue” between the two sides and would allow “new forms of collaboration” by Alu with the company.

“This decision is the culmination of the close dialogue we have had with Francois in recent months, said the Paris Opera director Alexander Neef.

Alu has also been touring France with a solo show. But to the chagrin of his fans he never danced at the Paris Opera since being named “etoile”, which is unprecedented.

His departure comes at a turbulent time for the Paris Opera ballet, with former dancer Jose Martinez in December set to take over from Aurelie Dupont as head of the company.

Such high-profile departures are relatively rare with the last such example in 1989 when superstar ballerina Sylvie Guillem walked out to focus on an international career.

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