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cost of living in france

Cost of Living in France

Indian students’ cost of living in France varies depending on their location, way of life, and spending patterns. A student should budget between €800 and €1,200 a month on average to pay for housing, food, transportation, health insurance, utilities, study materials, and extracurricular activities. 

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What is the cost of living in France for Indian students?

Rent takes up a sizeable chunk of the budget; shared housing is a more cost-effective choice. Food costs can be reduced by cooking at home and shopping at nearby markets. With student discounts, public transportation is both accessible and reasonably priced. The cost of health insurance must be included in the budget because it is required. 

Students can efficiently manage costs by looking for scholarships and part-time job options and living frugally yet comfortably.

Affordable cities to live in France

France is known for its diverse cities, each offering a unique blend of culture, history, and lifestyle. When considering affordability, it’s important to look at cities outside the high-cost areas like Paris.

Here are some relatively more affordable cities to live in France:

1. Lille:

Lille is in northern France, close to the Belgian border. It’s known for its vibrant cultural scene, historic architecture, and relatively lower cost of living than larger cities.

2. Nantes:

Nantes is a dynamic city on the Atlantic coast with a rich maritime history. It offers a reasonable cost of living and a good quality of life.

3. Toulouse:

Toulouse is in southwest France and is known for its aerospace industry. It’s a lively city with a lower cost of living than Paris.

4. Lyon:

Lyon is the third-largest city in France and offers a lower cost of living than Paris. It’s known for its culinary scene, historical sites, and cultural events.

5. Montpellier:

Montpellier is in southern France, close to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a university city with a relatively lower cost of living and a pleasant climate.

6. Grenoble:

Grenoble is located in the French Alps and is known for its outdoor recreational activities. It has a reasonable cost of living, especially for a city in the Alps.

7. Rennes:

Rennes is in Brittany and is known for its young and vibrant atmosphere due to its student population. It offers a relatively affordable cost of living.

8. Strasbourg:

Strasbourg, situated close to the German border, has a rich cultural heritage and a lower cost of living than larger cities like Paris.

9. Bordeaux:

Bordeaux is in the southwest and is famous for its wine. It offers a more affordable cost of living compared to major cities like Paris and is known for its quality of life.

10. Limoges:

Limoges, located in central France, is known for its porcelain industry and lower cost of living than in larger metropolitan areas.


These cities still offer a good standard of living, access to amenities, and cultural experiences while generally being more affordable than major cities like Paris. 

Also read- Study in France

Average Cost of Living in France

The cost of living in France for Indian students can vary based on several factors, including the city or region of residence, lifestyle choices, and the particular university or institution they attend. 

Here are some key expenses that Indian students in France typically incur:

  1. Tuition Fees:

Tuition fees vary depending on the level of study (undergraduate, master’s, doctoral) and the institution. Public universities in France often have lower tuition fees than private institutions.

  1. Accommodation:

Renting an apartment or shared accommodation is a significant expense. Costs will vary based on the city and the accommodation type (student dormitory, shared apartment, private studio).

  1. Food:

Cooking at home is usually more cost-effective than dining out. Indian students may find preparing meals with ingredients from local markets economical.

  1. Transportation:

Public transportation costs, such as metro or bus passes, will depend on the city of residence and the frequency of use.

  1. Health Insurance:

International students must have health insurance during their stay in France. This cost will depend on the coverage and the insurance provider.

  1. Utilities:

Monthly utility costs for electricity, water, heating, and internet will vary based on the size of the accommodation and the region.

  1. Books and Supplies:

Costs for textbooks, study materials, and other supplies related to academic courses.

  1. Healthcare:

Additional healthcare expenses, such as doctor visits or medications, are not covered by insurance.

  1. Leisure and Entertainment:

Budget for social activities, outings, travel, and other leisure pursuits.

  1. Language Courses:

If required, costs for language courses to improve French language skills.

  1. Miscellaneous Expenses:

Miscellaneous expenses for personal needs and unforeseen costs.


Indian students must plan their budget carefully, research the specific costs associated with their chosen city or region in France, and take advantage of any student discounts or benefits. 

Health Insurance for International Students

Health insurance is mandatory for all international students studying in France. 

1. French National Health Insurance (Sécurité Sociale):

All international students who are enrolled in a public institution in France and are under the age of 28 years are required to register for French National Health Insurance, also known as Sécurité Sociale. It provides basic health coverage and partially reimburses medical expenses.

2. Complementary Health Insurance (Mutuelle):

In addition to the basic coverage provided by Sécurité Sociale, international students are strongly encouraged to purchase complementary health insurance (mutuelle) to cover the remaining portion of their medical expenses, including consultations, prescriptions, and hospitalisation.

The cost of health insurance can vary based on factors such as the level of coverage, the insurance provider, and the specific plan chosen.

The average cost for complementary health insurance (mutuelle) is around €200 to €600 per year, but this can vary.

Cost of Living: Transportation, meals & attractions and activities 


  • Public transport (monthly pass): €35-€50
  • Meals: €200-€350
  • Attractions and activities: €80-€150
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): €800-€1,200


  • Public transport (monthly pass): €20-€50
  • Meals: €200-€400
  • Attractions and activities: €50-€100
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): €500-€700


  • Public transport (monthly pass): €25-€50
  • Meals: €100-€200
  • Attractions and activities: €40-€80
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): €400-€900


  • Public transport (monthly pass): €20-€50
  • Meals: €150-€400
  • Attractions and activities: €30-€70
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): €400-€800


  • Public transport (monthly pass): €20-€50
  • Meals: €200-€450
  • Attractions and activities: €50-€100
  • Rent (one-bedroom apartment): €300-€700

Tips to cost cut as a student

Cost-cutting is essential for students to manage their expenses efficiently.

Here are some practical tips to save money & reduce costs while studying:

1. CAF:

“Caisse des Allocation Familiales” is referred to as CAF. It is a government-run state assistance organisation in France. The CAF’s responsibility is to offer financial assistance to those residing in France, including foreign students.

The housing allowance is one of the CAF’s benefits for almost all French students. You might want to apply for this allowance, known as the APL if you’re an international student.

2. Budgeting:

Create a monthly budget outlining your income (if any) and all expenses. Categorise your spending to understand where your money is going and identify areas for potential savings.

3. Cook at Home:

Prepare meals at home to save on dining out costs. Buying groceries and cooking for yourself is typically cheaper and healthier.

4. Utilise Student Discounts:

Take advantage of student discounts on transportation, museums, events, software, and more. Always ask if a student discount is available when making a purchase.

5. Share Accommodation:

Consider sharing accommodation with roommates to split rent and utility costs. Shared apartments or dormitories are often more affordable than living alone.

6. Use Public Transportation:

Opt for public transportation instead of owning a car. Monthly passes for buses, subways, or trams are usually cheaper than daily or individual tickets.

7. Freelancing or part-time work:

Consider part-time employment or freelancing to supplement your income, if possible. Make sure it doesn’t affect your academic performance.

7. Healthcare:

Use your college’s student health services, or look for reasonable health insurance options that suit your needs.


The cost of living in France varies depending on the city and way of life, although it often ranges from modest to slightly higher. The cost of living is typically greater in major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Nice, especially regarding lodging and dining out. 

With its abundance of public spaces, diverse cultural offerings, and reasonably priced leisure pursuits, the French way of life emphasizes striking a balance between quality of life and cost.

Students and locals can easily manage the expense of living in this lively and culturally diverse nation by making wise financial decisions and prioritizing necessities.

If you are an aspirant looking to study at your dream university, book an appointment with AdmitX today and start your applications early to avail yourself of all the benefits.

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