France Or The US Which One Has The Highest Cost Of Living?

France or the US which one has the highest cost of living?

If you’d asked me that question I would have to say, it depends, because both countries don’t put the high price on the same things.  Usually, as a matter of fact, what’s over priced in France is much cheaper in the US and what’s over priced in the US is much cheaper in France.

But in order to be more specific about what I’m talking about let’s see item by item, which one is pricier or cheaper in France or the United States.


Restaurant, Chinon, France

Eating out will cost you more money in France.  According to some numbers that I’ve found it can cost you up to 56% more to eat in a restaurant in France.

French people tend to like to eat at home more, while eating out is rather on special occasions. Not an every day event.  French like to cook their meals and enjoy it around the table at home with their family and relatives.



Bread is more expensive in the US. It’s about 20% more expensive as a matter of fact, which makes your bread costly here.

Obviously, France being the country of bread it’s a cheap item. Everybody buys bread every single day in France.


Cheese and Wine

Cheese is about 15% cheaper in France.  Cheese in the US is pretty darn expensive as you know, and I’m not talking about that factory powder American cheese that they shape into the form of blocks or slices. I’m talking about real cheese, the one that’s $7 to $12 a slice.  If you want to eat good and affordable cheese you need to go to France which is a huge producer of cheeses at affordable prices.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are cheaper in France by about 20%. I’m pretty sure that the reason why is that as mentioned above people eat mostly at home and fruits and vegetables is something that consumers buy on a daily basis.

Wine and Beer

Vins et bieres

Wine and beer both are cheaper in France by around 40%. Wine is cheaper for obvious reasons, being that France is the biggest producer of wine in the world and people drink it every day. Most French folks couldn’t live without wine. LOL!

Beer is cheaper in France as well. Even though France is not much of a beer maker it’s surrounded by countries such as Germany, Belgium and England which are, and the trip to France is a quick one. So it makes sense that beer is rather cheap in France.



Clothing is more expensive in France.  According to my research by about 30%. That’s why French people buy a lot of clothes in the US when they make the trip. My mom used to come with almost empty suitcases and went back home with full ones. And now with the Euro it’s even better for the French to purchase clothing in the US.


Utilities are about 10% higher in the US. It’s cheaper to keep warm, cool, bathe, fill up your pool and water your garden in France.


Pompes a essence

Now, this one is a given, right?  Most people know that Gas price is outrageous in France. I mean it has been for decades. As long as I can remember, people were already complaining about the price of gas in France.  According to my research gas is an alarming 90% higher in France.  That’s why people have small cars there.


Interestingly taxis are about the same price or lower in France by 0.23% according to what I read.

Going to the Movies

It’s about 20% more expensive to go to the movies in France. During my mother’s youth going to the movies was the cheapest thing you could do, but by the time my generation came around going to the movies was probably like 70% higher than when my mother did when she was in her twenties.

Apartment Renting


Renting is cheaper in France by about 6% in large cities but about the same as the US in rural areas.


It is cheaper to buy or even build a house in France.  Most people in France own their house or apartment, and most of them are able to pay them off in 20 years or less.  As a young single adult my brother was able to own his apartment when most people in America are only starting out.

This might be due to the fact that French people don’t believe in credit cards and getting buried under debts.



It’s cheaper to buy a car in France as well by about 40%. There are three main brands of cars in France which are Renault, Peugeot and Citroën which are good cars that French folks have been buying for generations.

My first car was a Renault, and my mother’s favorite car was a Citroën which she really loved.


Electronics are about 20% higher in France. That’s always been the case. The US is the place to go to purchase electronics. No doubt.


Furniture is cheaper in France and there’s also much more choices in furniture there. French people love furniture and good quality one as well. Cheap quality furniture doesn’t do well there, that’s why the good stuff needs to be affordable.

Doctor and Dentist

Docteur Françoise Gailland6

Doctors and dentists are more affordable in France and people are better covered since the health insurance system has always been better there than the one in the US since forever.

Now I’m not saying that it’s cheap, but for example the last time I remember paying the doctor in France for a regular visit in 1998 and it was the value of $40. I didn’t even need an insurance at that price.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think and add your input down below!
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20 thoughts on “France Or The US Which One Has The Highest Cost Of Living?”

  1. Thank you Sylviane,

    I’ve often wondered about the cost of living in France vs the US. Cheaper wine..better bread? I’m in! Also I have a client that owns a home in the south of France (forgot the town) She lives in the US but is renting the home.
    She was born there and it’s her family’s home. She fixed it up and is doing fine, no matter what we hear on the news here in the US, her particular town is flourishing.
    Someday I’ll get there. Thanks for the head’s up. The more I read this blog, the more I want to visit France. Hey, at least I will have a good knowledge about it when I do thanks to you.
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    1. Hi Donna,

      You are such a great follower of this blog and the others as well, and it’s a pleasure to read your comments always.

      Yes, the news are depressing sometimes. France is still doing fine. I can’t wait to be able to go back myself.

      Thank for coming and have an excellent week end!

  2. As you know I’m not a world traveler so I wouldn’t have a clue about these prices but that’s a darn good comparison Sylviane.

    I can imagine some of those from what I know about France but it’s good to know how much things cost there. I learned something new today, how cool is that!

    Thanks Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      It was fun for me to do some research in order to write this post.

      For the most part I already knew which items were going to be more expensive where, but I know that not everyone has to know this, so I thought this would be helpful!

      Thanks for coming, and have a great week end, Adrienne!

  3. We are screwed Sylviane! I think I should pack up and move there. What I love about this post is it makes me think how we value certain types of foods, brands and land. Food costs are ridiculous here, whether its due to importing or price of gas. Gas in my state alone is probably the 2nd most expensive in the US. Here I pay almost $4.15 a gallon and I am still crying about that. I have had to scale back on vacations and find alternative spots closer to home, rather than spend on expensive trips. For real estate, that’s a completely different animal in itself in California.

    A small 800 sq ft 1 bed will run you $1500 or higher (even for the beat up ones too) and housing will cost you in upwards of close to a million. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they are right because a 1500 sq ft house will cost you $650,000 or higher here and a 3,000 sq ft home in Texas will cost you $300,000. Huge difference. Ok, that’s it, I am packing and moving to France. Wait, is there any black people there? Great post Sylviane! I loved this.
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    1. Ahaha, You made me laugh Sonia,

      There are plenty of black people in France, and they are called Africans 🙂 Lot’s of Africans in France.

      Back in 2000 I took my best friend from New York with me on my trip to France, and she’s black.

      What’s funny is that she was shocked to hear Asian people speak French. To her Asian people had to speak either their language or English. She sure made me laugh too.

      She loved the French people she met because she quickly noticed that they are not as judgmental as Americans are, because the black American history has no value there. She was welcome everywhere we went 🙂 So you would love it.

      But, by the way, if you don’t like gas price here you certainly won’t like it there, as I mentioned on the post.

      Have a great week end Sonia 🙂

  4. Hi Sylviane,

    This surely was a wonderful comparison, and I enjoyed it as well as the lovely pictures 🙂

    If I had to choose from the two, I would choose France I think. I guess that’s because we too prefer home cooked healthy food and overall cost of utilities and the basic requirements are cheaper in France as compared to the US.

    I agree that we can’t really decide because there are certain things that are cheaper and better in the US, while some are better and cheaper in France, so it all depends on what you are looking for actually.

    I think it sounds pretty much like our country in most ways. Ah..the movies and the houses – the cost of both of these things keeps rising at our end too. But overall, for the common man who needs to eat his three meals a day, our country is pretty cheap I would say.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice weekend 🙂
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    1. Hi Harleena,

      So, so sorry to reply to your comment so late, but this moving of mine has kept me away from my computer quite a bite.

      I have to say you’re very observant as you noticed that what’s cheaper in France are what people need the most on a daily basis. You are totally right!

      The reason why it’s not in the US it’s what’s important to the American citizen is not necessarily the same as the French citizen. For example they don’t like to cook and rather eat out more, therefore eating out is cheaper her in the US.

      We could say that the prices go with the culture.

      Thanks for coming here. Really appreciate it 🙂

  5. Hi Sylviane

    Now you have surprised me with some of these stats. I always think of France as much more expensive than the US. I have not visited France though sine the early 2000s and then the Australian dollar was very low and so of course everything to me seemed expensive. I was only there for a few days after a vacation in Italy and was staying in Paris tourist strip.

    Australia is very expensive these days with most things. Our health insurance is not as expensive as the US but many other things cost more.

    Thanks for a great post once again Sylviane.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      Wow, really? So I’m glad I’ve written this.

      Food is cheaper in France and that’s always been the case, at least for the past 20 years. Both me and my mother have noticed that, time an time again. And that goes for wine too, of course.

      Now, what’s more expensive is eating out, because people don’t eat out as much in France as they do here.

      Now, for anyone with dollars the Euro will seem high so that’s why it seemed expensive to you.

      I want to go to France and buy me a ton of cheeses 🙂

      Thanks for coming, Sue 🙂

  6. Interesting statistics, Sylviane! The only thing I knew was the gas. I know the US has pretty much the lowest price gas on the planet, but that’s because it’s subsidized by the government and they don’t tax it nearly as much.

    It’s interesting how food (cheese, bread, vegetables) are cheaper in France but dining out is more expensive. I bet they are not as FAT as we are!! We go out to eat and get gigantic plates of fried food drenched in butter and salt and it’s cheap. But buying fresh vegetables can cost a lot, especially if you buy organic which is really quite a bit more expensive.

    I wonder how the new healthcare laws in the US will affect the costs within the next few years. I actually dropped my health insurance years ago because it was so expensive, then it was still expensive to go to the doctor and you had to jump through hoops to get the right referrals and paperwork. Now, I know that’s not good in case of an emergency but for regular visits, I go, I pay for it myself, and it’s a lot less expensive than if I had insurance. I know that’s going to change soon so I guess we’ll wait and see what happens.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this, it’s fun to see the comparisons. And of course if i want good cheese I’m not eating anything in a slice of plastic, lol.
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    1. Hi Carol,

      Fist off, I thought I was the only crazy person in America with no health insurance, but I know that we are at least two of us 🙂 I know some people would call us crazy, but I think we can call ourselves healthy, right?

      You know what a health insurance guy told me ones? When you get a health insurance, you are betting on the fact that you will get sick and the insurance is betting that you won’t!

      Well, I’d rather bet on myself, thank you very much. But, yes, I know that this government is changing so since I have a job that offers insurance I’ll get that stuff later this year.

      So, to get back on the post… The reason why while food is cheaper but eating out is more expensive is because the French doesn’t eat out as often as the American does.

      French women like to cook because they were raised that way. American women don’t because they were raised that way. This is one thing that have learned living here in the US, if anything.

      Food that you buy to cook is very cheap in France, because they sell that a lot! That crazy term organic didn’t even existed when I was in France, because most of what we eat IS organic, especially where I grew up. Everything WAS organic, meaning it grew up in the soil with some crap on it 🙂

      Thanks for your great comment 🙂 as always.

  7. Great article Sylviane,

    I mostly agree with you except on a few fronts. That being said I think it depends on where you are coming from when you make a comparison. I find that apartments and housing is cheaper in France but that is coming from someone who lived in California. We rent a furnished place in France now that is way way cheaper than anything comparable to what we could find in the US.

    The other thing which I think varies wildly is the food. i find that the food is cheaper at restaurants in France than in the us in terms of what you get for you money. i can eat at a wonderful bistro Prix fixe for 12 euros. The same thing in the US, specifically in some of the restaurants in the US would cost double that.

    I agree that movies are so expensive. Especially the crappy popcorn that is sold in the movie theatres here. it is always cold and stale. YUCK! I paid 10 euros yesterday per person to take the kids to the movies each. OUTCH!

    Clothing too is way more expensive. I have found that some of the outdoor markets in France sell some really cute linen clothing that would be much more expensive in the US. So i do haev to do a lot more hunting.

    Produce is much cheaper too. Although I bought a mango yesterday that was 9 euros per KILO. Imported of course.

    Cheese and wine is so so cheap. Especially Emmental and Gruyère. Thank god because we love cheese. My daughter loves Chauseés aux moines which smells like feet.

    Overall, the net net difference for us has been that we find cost of living in total costs LESS FOR OUR family in France than it did in the US. I think if we moved to Paris that this would surely change which is why we like our small town very much.


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  8. Even though I have not travelled to either one of the countries mentioned, I did find useful the comparisons. I am thinking of travelling to the US but I would only consider France for emigrating. It is such a great country! I love it how they prioritize food and spirita and I also appreciate the quality of the medical system. Thank you for the post, Sylviane!

  9. What do you know. I am about to spend a summer in US working with a friend. He spend a month in France last year. Once we get to the US he’ll be able to test this information. Anyway, thanks for sharing. We have a better ideea now about the living costs. Cheers.

  10. Hey Sylviane !!
    Nice comparison !!! of course not every place is perfect or completely cheap I think. But still overall conclusion is that France is cheaper than US. Your blog will be very helpful for travels moving to US or France.

  11. What a bautiful and comprehensive comparison, covering each and every essential item which adds up to the cost of living. I have never been to any of these countries, but I have an inherent desire of reading about different countries and the life in different countries. I got the vital food for thought through this post. Thanks for the share.

  12. Its good to know so much about a country like France which I have always wanted to visit. Thanks for sharing the detaield travel information. For me France is for Fashion.

  13. The comparison really opens my eyes. I’m in the process of moving to France permanently and this article was that last nudge I needed to be less worried and more focused on the move itself. Besides, I love wine very much. If it is cheaper in France, which I thought it would, then I’m in!

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