Is France still cheap for expat living costs?

Is France still cheap for expat living costs?

Is France still cheap for expat living costs?

Is France still an affordable destination for UK expats?

The chosen destination for many British expats lies just across the English Channel and has two main advantages – it’s cheap and quick to get back to the UK to see family and friends, and the French language is still taught in the majority of UK secondary schools. In addition, would-be British gourmets can’t wait to get their teeth into the best of the famous French dishes and wine-lovers believe they’ve died and gone to paradise. France is the perfect destination for a ‘’civilised’ lifestyle, but the bad news is that it’s not a bargain basement any more as regards its cost of living.

As with most countries, the major cities are the most expensive, with Paris topping out at almost unaffordable for the average British expat on a reasonable salary or pension. One recent survey gave a figure of €45, 629 for a family of four, including a mortgage or rent but not including council tax and income tax. The obvious drain on resources of a large property in a fashionable area of Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux can be avoided if necessary, but expats needing to live in expensive areas need to ensure they’ve a salary which supports that need.

Another trap to avoid if you’re determined to stay solvent is a lifestyle choice involving living on imported foodstuffs and ready meals. Financial survival in France is far easier if eating is done the French way, with produce from local markets and a good French recipe book. Most French people prioritise their spending towards good food and wine as against buying new cars regularly and redecorating, making keeping up with the Joneses’ a waste of time.

Top-up health insurance is advisable but not compulsory as yet for British expats, with the average premium far cheaper than in the UK at around . €100 a month. Wherever you are in France, the taxman’s there with you, with around €2,000 a year the average, but the good news is that fuel costs are far lower than in the UK, there's no road tax and bi-annual MOTs are the law.

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