France is a country with fascinating history and culture, excellent climate and nature, strong economy and developed democracy. According to numerous reviews of tourists, Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, which is visited by about 30 million people annually. And hundreds of thousands of foreigners from around the world dream to see the Eiffel Tower and walk the Champs Elysees every day.

According to official data of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), France is the most visited country in the world. Last year, the flow of tourists almost reached 90 million people. Next, let's talk more about prices, taxes, in-demand professions, salaries, higher education, medicine, and the pros and cons of living in France in 2024.

Living in France

Pros and cons of living in France

The population of France is just over 65 million people. At last count, about 85% of the residents are of European (white) descent, 3.5% are of dark skinned and 1.5% are of Asian descent. The French are one of the least religious nations, up to 40% of citizens do not prefer any faith. By the way, an official census based on race and ethnicity is forbidden in this country. Let us highlight the positives and negatives of living in France.

Pros of living in France

  • France has a comfortable climate, a lot of architectural monuments, galleries and museums with world-class works of art. You can find entertainment for all tastes, including visits to major sporting events, vacation on the well-groomed seashore or a luxury ski resort.

  • French cuisine is one of the most exquisite in the world. There are more than 350 kinds of cheeses and countless wines from 17 regions of the country. The quality of local food is confirmed by a special certification system, which exists since far back in 1411.

  • There are not many countries in Western Europe with free higher education. France is one of them. And foreign students have equal rights in admission along with the French. France has affordable, modern and efficient medicine.

  • Large developed economy and high consumer demand allows to conduct effective business in France and to build a successful professional career. The official working week is 35 hours, workers are guaranteed an annual 30-day vacation and many benefits.

  • France is a good example of respect for European values, including the guarantee of human rights and freedom of speech.

  • The infrastructure and public transport network are excellent.

Pros of living in France

Cons of living in France

  • Bureaucracy in government offices, including huge lines and many forms to fill out.

  • Learning French is vital to integrate into local society.

  • Most stores close daily from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and are also closed at lunchtime and on Sunday.

  • Many French houses and apartments for sale or long-term rentals are very old and in need of renovation.

  • According to price comparison experts, France is one of the most expensive countries in the world.

Prices and cost of living in France

France is famous for its stable real estate market, including in the most attractive places – Paris and the French Riviera. The national average price for apartments (one square meter) in the city center is 5.8 thousand euros, and in the distance 4.4 thousand. Renting a room costs somewhere between 950 and 1250 euros a month and 550-700 euros, respectively.

The cost of living in France depends largely on the region and the needs / abilities of a particular person. Note that according to a study of the authoritative Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living, Paris ranks first among the most expensive cities in the world ahead of Hong Kong, Zurich and Singapore.

Prices in France in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 1.78 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.12 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 3.76 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 12.82 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 2.03 euros

  • French cheese (1 kg) – 16.88 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 2.04 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 2.78 euros

  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.86 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 1.82 euros

  • Public transport (one-way ticket) – 1.80 euros

  • Monthly bus pass – 175.47 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 162.46 euros per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 27.24 euros

  • Internet – 29.62 euros per month

Note. The above prices are average figures for different cities in France.

Taxes in France

Taxes in France

In France, the tax system is quite complex, so many citizens use the services of specialized specialists/consultants, and in the business sector it is a prerequisite. Interestingly, despite the high rates, due to all sorts of benefits and subsidies, about half of local residents are practically exempt from paying income tax. For example, for one minor child alone there is a reduction in tax liability of 1,551 euros.

Tax rates in France in 2024

Corporate income tax – 25%

VAT – 20% basic rate. Reduced rates – 0 2.1, 5.5 and 10% are applied to some groups of goods and services – food products, passenger transportation, cultural events.

Capital gains tax – 30% (17.2% social contributions and 12.8% income tax).

Income tax:

  • Annual income up to 11,294 euros – 0%

  • Annual income from 11,294 to 28,797 euros – 11%

  • Annual income from 28,797 to 82,341 euros – 30%

  • Annual income from 82,341 to 177,106 euros – 41%

  • Annual income over 177,106 euros – 45%

Property tax (on the value of the object):

  • From 800,000 to 1.3 million euros – 0.50%

  • From 1.3 to 2.57 million euros – 0,70%

  • From 2.57 to 5 million euros – 1%

  • From 5 to 10 mln euros – 1,25%

  • Over 10 mln euros – 1,5%

Sale of real estate – 33.33% and 19% for EU citizens.

Social contributions – employers pay about 40-45% and most employees around 20-25% of gross annual income.

Note. Since October 2018, workers in France do not have to pay social contributions for unemployment insurance and health insurance.

Jobs and wages in France

Despite the developed economy and moderate unemployment (about 7-8%), it is not easy to find a job in France. According to statistics, at least 2-3 people apply for one vacancy. It is best to look for work in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and other major cities. But in any case, the competition with the French and citizens of other EU countries will be enormous.

For legal employment, foreigners from third countries must find a job in advance and sign a contract, issue a work permit and open a work visa. Citizens of CIS countries are most attracted to seasonal employment in agriculture or tourism – harvesters, waiters, cleaners, maids, assistant cooks and so on. Jobs in Nice are in high demand.

Since January 1, 2024, the official minimum wage in France is 1,766.92 euros per month before taxes. The hourly rate is 11.65 euros. The average wage in France is about 3,085 euros per month or 2,400 euros net. In Paris, you can expect a monthly income of 2,500 euros (net) or more.

Higher education in France

Higher education in France

As mentioned above, one of the advantages of living in France is the opportunity to obtain a quality higher education on a free basis. Usually in public French universities only a registration fee of 200-400 euros per year is charged. In addition, it is required to pay social insurance costing about 200 euros.

Among the best universities in France are the Sorbonne, as well as the universities of Strasbourg and Montpellier. To be enrolled in an institution of higher education, foreign students must provide a certificate of proficiency in the French language and high school diploma. The cost of education at private higher education institutions and schools varies from 8 to 20 thousand euros a year.

Medicine in France

French health care system is of high quality and is largely financed by the government, with an average of slightly more than 10% of GDP annually. Usually with a residence permit in France a foreigner receives a health insurance card carte vitale, which provides access to free health care services, including many medicines. Even in the case of hospitalization, patients are not charged more than 18 euros per day.

Since January 1, 2016, France has had a Protection Maladie Universelle (PUMA) program, which replaced the old French health insurance system Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). Now all French residents, including foreigners who are legally in the country for more than 3 months, have easier access to medical services. PUMA equalizes the rights of European Union citizens and third-country nationals when applying for the carte vitale.

In conclusion, we note that life expectancy at birth in France in 2024 is 82 years (men – 79, women – 85). According to criteria such as climate, transport system, ecology (air quality), housing availability and labor market, the best cities to live in France are Nantes, Lyon, Rennes, Bordeaux and Toulouse.

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