How much money do you need to be considered rich in France?

The Local France
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How much money do you need to be considered rich in France?
Don't expect too many conspicuous displays of wealth in France. Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

While it is a wealthy country (the 7th largest economy in the world) France is not a particularly high-wage society - so how much money do you need to be considered wealthy by French standards?


The world's richest man is a Frenchman - CEO of luxury goods corporation LVHM Bernard Arnault is worth roughly €230billion. But he's very much the exception - government statistics put the median monthly take-home pay for a full-time employee in France at around €2,000 (or €24,000 a year after tax). 

That figure – the median is the ‘middle value’ of a range of totals – hides a high degree of variance: the average monthly salary in Paris is higher than in Saint-Etienne, for example; while employees in larger companies may well earn more than those working for smaller businesses in the same industry.

France's national statistics body Insee reports that a quarter of full-time employees make less than €1,670 per month, while half earn less than €2,092.


Top earners

A total of 23 percent of workers take home €3,000 or more every month, while the top 10 percent clear €4,170. 

To be in the top one percent of earners in France in 2024, one person must bring in at least €10,000 per month. After taxes and social charges.

READ ALSO Working in France: What can you expect to earn?


Using the government’s own figures, the independent Observatoire des Inégalités has calculated poverty and wealth levels in France.

According to their calculations, to be considered ‘rich’ in France, a single person with no dependents should take home more than €3,860 per month. Around eight percent of single workers have this sum deposited into their bank balance every month, it reported.

At the other end of the scale, that same single person would be on or below the breadline if they had just €965 per month to live on, the Observatoire said.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: How much money do I need to live in France?

Less than €1,530 per month would mean that person is considered poor but not on the breadline; monthly take-home of between €1,530 and €2,787 would mean that person was considered ‘middle class’; between €2,787 and €3,860 would class them as ‘affluent’.

Its figures are recalculated based on family size. For example, a single parent with a child aged under 14 needs to bring in €5,018 per month after taxes and social charges to be considered ‘rich’ under the Observatoire’s calculations; while a couple with one child under 14 needs to have combined after-tax monthly earnings of €6,948.

That figure jumps to €9,650 for a couple with two children aged 14 or over, and €10,808 if they have three children, one of whom is under 14.


A couple without children, meanwhile, need to earn at least €5,790 net per month to be counted as rich in France. 

Here's a table of example take-home earning levels, using the Observatoire des Inégalités' figures:

  Single person Single parent with one
child U14
without children
with one
child U14
with two children
aged 14+
with three children, including one U14
Poverty line < €965
per month
< €1,255
per month
< €1,488
per month
< €1,737 
per month
< €2,413
per month
< €2,702
per month

€965 -

€1,255 -
€1,488 -
€1,737 -
€2,413 -
€2,702 -
'Middle class' €1,530 -
€1,989 -
€2,295 -
€2,754 -
€3,825 -
€4,284 -
Affluent €2,787 -
€3,623 -
€4,180 -
€5,016 -
€6,967 -
€7,803 -€10,808
Rich > €3,860 > €5,018 > €5,790 > €6,948 > €9,650 > €10,808


These are based on people who are in work, and naturally there are plenty of people in France who are either retired of living off inherited wealth or passive income such as property rentals who might also be considered wealthy.

France has a 'wealth tax' which is levied on people worth more than €1.3 million.

This tax is very specific and is calculated based on assets (mostly real estate) that you own, rather than salary or other income. It can also apply to property owned outside France.

READ ALSO How France's wealth tax works

One thing you're unlikely to hear in France, however, is people boasting about the size of their pay packet.

Many French people, especially older ones, consider it vulgar to talk about money and people who are well paid are more likely to play down the extent of their wealth than to boast about it.

Is it true that the French don't like to talk about money?


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