Living in France

UK/EU citizens do not require a visa to live, study or work in France. Students are not required to get a residence permit, but must carry official documentation (identity card / Passport) at all times.

Cost of Living

The cost of tuition is pretty low at public universities. France as a country can be quite expensive to live but is comparable to living in the UK. Accommodation prices are around €400 a month in rent and then other costs such as bills, food, transport, books and socialising will amount to around €500 a month. Expect to pay more in Paris.

Here is an example of monthly budget:

Accommodation

€450

Food

€200

Health insurance

€40

Transportation

€30

Miscellaneous (social life, telephone, etc)

€80

Total

€800 (£580)

However, France has a series of measures to support French and foreign students, such as travel reductions, housing benefit and more. The CNOUS - CROUS is a good place to start. Here you can apply for student accommodation (halls of residence), find out about cheap eateries and student societies to join. They also have information on mutelles to join for students to cover your health costs as the EHIC card may not cover all your healthcare costs especially if you stay for longer than 12 months.

Accommodation and Housing Benefit For Students

There are different types of student accommodation options in France: halls of residence, privately owned student blocks and then studios and apartments. Getting into halls of residence is difficult as there is high demand due to being much cheaper than the private sector. To get into halls of residence, you need to submit a request to the CNOUS between January and April.

Generally, you will need to pay around two months rent in advance as a security deposit on top of your first month rent. You will need to take out a legal liability insurance policy to protect against any accident property damage. This will cost circa 20-50€. You may have to purchase furniture as finding furnished flats/student rooms in France is uncommon.

As a foreign student in France, you may be entitled to some form of housing benefit from the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales). You will need to be already renting a room/property and be on the lease paperwork and have a French bank account before you can apply for the CAF. You must apply within three months of the start of your lease.

If you are sharing a property with someone, or with a group of other students, all members of the property will need to be included on the paperwork. You can apply online through the CAF website. How much you get depends on the amount of rent you pay and your funding resources.

Opening a Bank Account

Having a bank account in France is helpful and you can get a carte bleue (like a debit card in the UK) to use for transactions in daily life.

It’s important to look around at the different deals available to you as a foreign student. You may have to pay for your account on a monthly basis, so check out deals that give you a fee-free period if this would be beneficial.

You will need to set up a meeting with the bank to open an account and will need your passport and proof of domicile.

Do not expect an overdraft facility. If you go overdrawn in France, you may be penalised with high overdraft and interest charges.