By LOUISE CARR, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
What Should You Budget to Live in Paris?
Rent: $2,054 (1,500)
Food: $548 (400)
Health: $96 (70)
Utilities: $148 (108)
Cell: $40.50 (30)
Transport: $96 (70)
Entertainment: $96 (70)
Gym: $274 (200)
Total: $3,352 - out of a $5,313 monthly salary
$2,054 (1,500) a month rent
When you're looking at your largest expenditure, rent in Paris can be expensive. Renting in the suburbs may cost around $685 (500) while a condo or apartment in downtown Paris can cost between $2,054 and $2,740 (1,500 to 2,000) a month. If you're looking for a fully furnished place you will pay a lot more.
$1.51 (1.10) for a liter of milk
$2.05 (1.50) for 500g of cheese
$4.11 (3) for 1kg of rice
$3.42 (2.50) for a liter of Coca Cola
$11 (8) for 1kg of fresh beef fillet
$13.70 (10) for a whole chicken
$1.10 (0.80) for a baguette
France is the biggest agricultural producer and exporter out of the whole of the EU. France is famed for its cheese, and it also supplies the world with a large quota of wheat, corn, bread and beer. Food in Paris is not the cheapest in Europe, however. The average person would likely spend around $137 (100) a week on food shopping. But the choice is huge, and markets and discount stores provide cut-price food when you're shopping on a budget.
$12.33 (9) for a cinema ticket
$10 to $12.33(7 to 9) for entrance to a museum
Besides the food, Paris has a legendary reputation for culture - whether high-brow or mainstream, Paris boasts options for art, music, literature and theatre. As always, what you spend on entertainment depends on how much you like to live the high life.
$21 to $27 (between 15 and 20) for a full meal in a restaurant (no drinks)
$7 (5) for a sandwich
$13.70 (10) for a pizza
$10.30 (7.50) for a fast-food meal
$2.74 (2) for a cup of coffee
You have all the choice in the world when you're eating out in Paris. The amount you spend on food depends on the restaurant and the area but you can eat well for $21 to $27 (between 15 and 20). [Update: Expect taxes (VAT) to add around 19 to 20% (currently, as of December 31, 2012, 19.6%) to the cost of your meal.]
$5.50 (4) for a beer in a bar
$1.64 (1.20) for a can of beer
$6.85 (5) for a bottle of wine
Paris is not a cheap place for beer on a night out - one beer will set you back $5.50 (4) in a bar. Wine is another matter - pick up a bottle in Paris for $6.85 (5), or blow the budget on a special vintage.
$2.19 (1.60) for a metro ticket
$2.33 (1.70) for a bus ticket
$1.40 (1.02) a liter for gas
The Paris metro system is one of the cheapest in the developed world. You can save money by buying a book of 10 tickets. The price depends on the zones you need to travel through. You can also save money on the bus by pre-buying booklets of tickets.
$68.50 (50) a month for health insurance
$27.40 (20) for a doctor's visit
$6.85 (5) for a basic prescription
Healthcare costs a little more in France than in other Western European countries. You will be covered with government health insurance if you work and many people top up their coverage with private healthcare insurance ("mutuelle"), which reimburses much of the costs you incur filling prescriptions or visiting the doctor.
$41 (30) for a low-cost cell phone monthly
$4.10 (3) for 30 minutes in an Internet café
Paris is pretty much as expensive as other European cities for communications such as cell phone and Internet costs. Expect to pay $41 (30) for a low-cost cell phone on a basic plan.
$148 (108) for a month's electricity
There are a number of tariffs available for your electricity in Paris - find an expert to decipher them or shop around!
$411 to $2,740 (300 to 2,000) for a year at private school
Private schools are popular with expats and French citizens but the cost varies depending on the institution. When it comes to higher education, public Polytechnique colleges have fees from $274 (200) a year while private institutions reach $21,921 (16,000) a year.
$480 (350) for an LCD TV
$68.53 (50) for a DVD player
Household goods are, according to xpatulator.com, equally expensive as in other cities across Europe. TVs, DVDs and home cinema systems go for as little as $68.53 (50) to a mammoth $5,482 (4,000). As with the US, you get what you pay for in terms of brand and features.
$274 (200) a month for gym membership in a full service upscale gym. You can save here by using one of Paris' many public sports facilities.
Finally, when it comes to keeping in shape you'll need to set aside around $274 (200) a month, more if you feel like taking advantage of spa facilities and a pool. Again, to save money, look around for one of Paris' public gyms and sporting facilities. Some actually have pretty large-sized pools.