Cost of Living

Upfront and Transition Period Costs

For those making their first independent move abroad to a new country like France, it can be helpful to plan ahead for the upfront costs of settling in after moving to a new country. Many of these costs are incurred within the first few months, after which a more conservative rhythm of everyday living costs begins. Depending on one’s situation, these upfront costs may include:

  • Telecommunication contract fees to activate a French sim card €10-€30.
  • Activation of an annual/monthly metro pass: 350€. 
  • Temporary accommodations for the first few weeks if one does not have permanent housing organized ahead of time. Graduate students who indicate they want assistance with the housing search will have an information session with the Housing team before arrival. Our goal is that you are able to move directly into your permanent housing upon arrival. However, for students still searching the Housing Office can offer advice on finding temporary housing with companies like FIAP. Word of warning though their prices and availabilities vary widely throughout the year.
  • A safety deposit for the apartment/independent room rental, worth 2-3 months of rent (returned within 60 days after the student moves out as long as there are no damages).
  • For those who use a rental agency to find accommodations instead of the free service offered by the University’s housing office, the agency will likely charge a finder’s fee worth 1-2 months of rent. 
  • School supplies, course materials and textbooks. 
  • Even with a furnished housing option with shared kitchen and bathroom, students will need to buy cleaning products, crockery, toiletries, and many if not all of the basics needed to be comfortable at home.   

The estimated living expenses below are calculated for September through December the following year. Living expenses will vary depending on the individual.

Housing + Utilities and Wifi | €5,400

Travel - Airfare | €900

Local Transportation | €350

Course supplies | €250

Groceries | €2,000

Phone | €80

Miscellaneous expenses | €1,095

Total estimated living expenses | €10,075



Students eating out in Paris
Students eating out in Paris

The Paris Lifestyle

It is entirely possible to live on a very tight budget in Paris. Rent and utilities will be your biggest expenditure, but the city has a wealth of options for the frugally-minded student. Cafés and bistros can be incredibly cheap, and many will let you nurse a hot drink for hours using the local Wi-Fi. Home-cooked meals are a great way to save money and a great way to bond with friends. The fresh food at weekly local markets (Wednesdays and weekends usually) as well as supermarkets is cheap and incredibly diverse, so most students can usually make room for the occasional restaurant outing a couple of times a month. 

However Paris is a cosmopolitan hub and capital of luxury, so to really take advantage of city life involves budgeting for drinks, sporting or wellness activities, exhibitions and museum outings (keep an eye out for student discounts), and for many an updated wardrobe and make-up regimen. Similarly, living in a gastronomic hotspot means you will be tempted to sample the finer restaurant options and wine menus, so it will be up to the individual to find a balance between indulgence and aggressive coupon collection at the supermarket. 


Everyday Living

Paris provides a great diversity of options to accommodate different lifestyles, meal plans and entertainment preferences appropriate to a wide range of budgetary levels. That said, expat and social life do in many ways involve eating and drinking out, which in turn sometimes involve dressing up, so students also need to budget for these living expenses. 

  • Café culture is very strong in Paris, so students – especially those who are first arriving and making new connections – often grab a drink (alcoholic or non) with classmates a couple of times a week. A more affordable alternative (included in the minimum essentials) that many opt for once they have been here longer, is to organize dinner parties at each other’s homes or to buy drinks and snacks from one of Paris’ abundant grocery stores and take a walk by the Seine together. 
  • Train and bus tickets for day trips and weekend trips are relatively affordable, and if you have a Navigo subscription[YR1] , all zones of the Ile-de-France network are included. Many students end up organizing an excursion with a small friend group once or twice a semester. It can be good to have a little extra pocket money set aside for these occasions. 
  • The university pace can get intense during special modules and finals at the end of the semester. During these times, many students find themselves eating more takeaway food than usual so they can focus more on their studies. 
  • Clothing customs in Paris tend to differ from that of many of our students’ home countries and while our campus is a safe haven for all styles, many students find it helpful to have a small budget set aside to acquire a few essential Parisian clothing items as they acclimate to the local look and feel. For some, this step ends up playing a more important role in personal development and identity than they anticipate.
Students walk down a Paris street past a hairdressers
Students walk down a Paris street past a hairdressers