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The Numbers Don’t Lie: Living in France Costs Half as Much and Quality of Life is Twice as High

Volume XXII, Issue 4

Outdoor patio at the Grand Cafe de France in Paris, France

Very often I hear that someone writes off France as an expensive place to live and therefore doesn’t consider it when researching for their new home. They couldn’t be more wrong.

While I can’t give you an exact figure, my guesstimate is that a retiree can live in France for half of what it costs living in the U.S. because 1) if they give up their car to live in one of the many urban areas of France they save about $12,000 a year*, 2) medical care costs are approximately one-tenth of the U.S., 3) property taxes are approximately one-tenth of the U.S., 4) retirement income such as social security and pensions are not taxed in France, and for a variety of other reasons such as homeowner insurance costs, the cost of utilities and even the cost of groceries…much lower in France!

Graph of the cost of living index by city

Meanwhile, don’t take my word for it. The Numbeo Cost of Living Index by City 2024 tells it all, outlining the cost of living worldwide based on rent, groceries, restaurant prices and local purchasing power. According to their latest report, Hamilton, Bermuda is the most expensive place to live with a cost of living index of 137.0, compared to Paris which ranked 51st with an index of 76.0. The least expensive place to live which ranked 362nd was Karachi, Pakistan with a ranking of 19.3. The basis for the report is New York, NY which ranked 10th with an index of 100.0.

Map of the cost of living index worldwide

Compared with other cities in Europe, cities in Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and even London are more expensive than Paris. The least expensive cities in Western Europe are The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands, which ranked 44th with an index of 59.5 and 45th, Leuven, Belgium with an index of 59.1.

Map of the cost of living index in Europe, by city

In summary, based on Numbeo’s findings, a family of four in France estimated monthly costs are 3,410.10€ without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 953.70€ without rent. Cost of living in France is, on average, 11.4% lower than in United States. Rent in France is, on average, 51.4% lower than in United States. (See their site for this information.)

Pie chart showing the distribution of expenses

What’s even more interesting is Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index. Numbeo provides a comprehensive overview offering estimates for cities or countries based on various key factors. These indices gauge overall quality of life by considering elements such as purchasing power, pollution levels, housing affordability, cost of living, safety, healthcare quality, commute times, and climate conditions. The aim is to facilitate comparisons, with a higher index value indicating a superior quality of life.

Graph of quality of life index by city

France has a very high index of 152.33:

Graphic depiction of the Quality of Life Index

See it all for yourself.

So, the next time someone tells you France is expensive, or you’re worried your retirement income won’t stretch very far, think again! It’s NOT TRUE. And we can attest to the fact, as can everyone living here!

* Based on the latest figures, the average cost of owning and operating a new vehicle in 2023 has increased significantly, with an annual expense of $12,182 or a monthly cost of $1,015. Also see the AAA website to test the cost of your own car.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds relaxing, dressed all in redAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian Leeds and guests on House Hunters International episode, Threesome in ParisP.S. If you want to watch our latest House Hunters International episode, “Threesome in Paris,” click here.


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