If you’re a student planning to study in Paris, it’s important to understand the cost of living in this beautiful city. As an international student in Paris, it’s important to plan for the cost of living in the city. From accommodation to food and transportation, there are many expenses to consider.

In this article, we’ll break down the cost of living in Paris for students and provide tips for saving money while studying abroad.


Understanding the cost of living in Paris

paris flag and arc de triomphe

You want to study in France and more specifically in Paris? Before we dive into specific expenses, let’s take a look at some general considerations for understanding the cost of living in Paris.

Paris is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and culturally rich. As a student, it’s important to be aware of the cost of living in Paris so you can budget accordingly and make the most of your time abroad.

Currency and exchanges rates

Paris uses the Euro as its currency, which means that students coming from countries that don’t use the Euro will need to exchange their currency.
It’s important to keep an eye on exchange rates to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible. You may be able to save money by exchanging currency before arriving in Paris or using a credit card with low foreign transaction fees.

It’s also important to keep in mind that exchange rates can fluctuate, which means that the cost of living in Paris may change while you’re studying abroad.

General cost of living comparison

In general, Paris is more expensive than other cities in France. However, it’s still possible to live on a budget while studying abroad. Keep in mind that costs may vary depending on where you live and which activities you choose to participate in.

arrondissements of the city of Paris

For example, living in the heart of Paris, such as in the 1st or 2nd arrondissements, will be more expensive than living in the suburbs.

Similarly, eating out at high-end restaurants or shopping at luxury boutiques will be more expensive than cooking at home or shopping at local markets.

That being said, there are plenty of affordable options for students, such as small cafes and bistros, street food vendors, and budget-friendly grocery stores. Additionally, many of Paris’s most famous attractions, such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, offer free admission on certain days of the week or for students with valid ID.

Overall, while the cost of living in Paris may be higher than in other cities, it’s important to remember that the city offers a unique and unforgettable experience that is worth the investment.

Accommodation options and expenses in Paris

interior view of an apartmentinterior view of an apartment

Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses for students in Paris. However, there are several options available that can help students save money and make their stay in Paris more comfortable.

University dormitories

Private apartments

Many universities in Paris offer on-campus dormitories for students. These dormitories are typically the most affordable option, and they provide a great opportunity for students to live in close proximity to their classes and other university facilities.

However, it’s important to note that dormitories may have limited availability and amenities. Some dormitories may not have private bathrooms or kitchens, and students may need to share these facilities with other residents.

Another common option for students is to rent a private apartment. This option may be more expensive than a dormitory, but it also provides more privacy and possibly more space.

Private apartments are available in a range of sizes and locations throughout Paris, so students can choose an apartment that fits their budget and preferences.
However, it’s important to note that rental prices can vary widely depending on the location and condition of the apartment.

Shared apartments and flatshares


Sharing an apartment with other students is another way to save money on accommodation. This option is particularly popular among international students, as it provides an opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

Students can search for shared apartments and flatshares online, or they can check with their university’s housing office to see if they offer any resources or recommendations.
However, it’s important to note that living with roommates can have its challenges, and students will need to be prepared to compromise and communicate effectively.

Finally, students may choose to live with a host family through a homestay program. This option can provide a more immersive cultural experience, as students will have the opportunity to live with a local family and learn about French culture and customs.

However, homestays may also be more expensive than other options, and students will need to be prepared to adapt to living in a new environment.
Students can search for homestay programs online or check with their university’s international office to see if they offer any recommendations.

Overall, there are several accommodation options available to international students in Paris. By considering their budget and preferences, students can find an option that works best for them and enjoy their time studying abroad in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. 

Food and dining expenses

concerned lady buying food calculating food

Eating out in Paris can be expensive, but there are also many affordable options.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Grocery shopping

One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to shop at grocery stores and cook at home. Many neighborhoods in Paris have local markets, which can also be an affordable option for fresh produce and other goods.
When grocery shopping, be sure to check out the variety of cheeses and wines that France is known for. You can also find a variety of baguettes and croissants that are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.

Eating out and fast food

Traditional French cuisine

There are many affordable options for eating out in Paris, from cafes to fast food chains. Keep in mind that sit-down restaurants are often more expensive, and prices may be higher in tourist areas.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, try a croque-monsieur, a popular French sandwich made with ham and cheese.
You can also try a falafel sandwich in the Marais neighborhood, which is known for its Middle Eastern cuisine.

Trying traditional French cuisine is a must-do while studying abroad in Paris. However, fancy restaurants can be expensive.
Consider trying budget-friendly options, like crepes from a street vendor or pastries from a local bakery.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try escargots (snails) or coq au vin (chicken in red wine sauce). You can also try French onion soup, which is a classic dish made with caramelized onions and beef broth, topped with melted cheese and bread.

Saving money on food

Finally, there are many ways to save money on food in Paris. Look for student discounts, ask locals for recommendations, and consider bringing snacks or packed lunches with you while exploring the city.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider visiting one of the many food markets in Paris, where you can find a variety of affordable and delicious foods. You can also try a picnic in one of the many beautiful parks in Paris, like the Jardin des Tuileries or the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Transportation costs

ligne du metro parisien

The city of Paris has an extensive public transportation system, which can be a cost-effective way to get around the city.

However, did you know that Paris is also a great city for biking? With over 700 km of bike paths, Paris has made a concerted effort to make the city more bike-friendly. Biking is not only a great way to save money on transportation costs, but it’s also a great way to see the city and get some exercise.

Public transportation

The subway is the most popular form of public transportation in Paris. With 16 lines and over 300 stations, the subway can take you almost anywhere you need to go in the city. Students may be eligible for discounted passes, so be sure to check with your university for more information.

Another great option for public transportation is the bus system. Although the subway is more popular, the bus system can take you to areas of the city that the subway doesn’t reach. Plus, you get to see more of the city from the bus!

Taxis and ride-sharing services

If you need to travel farther or prefer not to use public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are available in Paris. Keep in mind that these options can be more expensive, so budget accordingly.

However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try the city’s bike-sharing program, Vélib‘. With over 20,000 bikes available at over 1,800 stations throughout the city, Vélib’ is a great way to get around Paris while also taking in the sights.

Finally, if you’re looking for a unique way to see the city, consider taking a boat tour along the Seine River. Not only is it a great way to see the city from a different perspective, but it’s also a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

To conclude

  • In Paris, students have multiple accommodation options, including university dormitories managed by CROUS, which offer affordable rents and proximity to campus. Shared apartments or studios are also alternatives, although prices vary by neighborhood. 
  • The city’s extensive public transportation system, including the subway, buses, and trams, provides convenient navigation for students. The Navigo card offers discounted unlimited access to public transport. 
  • For groceries, students can find budget-friendly options at local markets like Marché Raspail and Marché Aligre, as well as supermarkets such as Franprix and Carrefour City. 
  • Eating out in Paris can vary in cost, but affordable alternatives like brasseries, cafés, and student-friendly eateries allow students to enjoy delicious meals without overspending. 
  • Paris also offers discounted rates for cultural activities, including museums, theaters, and cinemas, with special events organized by CROUS exclusively for students. 

With proper budgeting and awareness of affordable choices, students can enjoy a fulfilling and financially stable experience in Paris while immersing themselves in its vibrant atmosphere and academic opportunities.