Cost of living

France-flag-140Usually, students should be able to cover their living costs independently. Cost comparisons can easily be made with other EU countries because of the common currency. Relative to the Scandinavian countries, the cost of living in France is low. However, as with everywhere, the cost of living depends on what you do and where you live in France. The largest expense is usually the rent, which can vary from as little as €300 per month in some places such as Limousine to almost six times that in some places in Paris & Ile de France.

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Money and banking

Payments in France are made, using smaller denominations of bank notes (cash) or debit and credit cards. Whilst larger cities will be able to accommodate credit card payments, if you are planning to visit smaller villages you are advised to have cash with you since some places might have a cash only payment option. Almost all daily money transfers are possible and are usually done through online banking, for example payments of your salary, accommodation, telephone, and credit cards bills. The Euro “€” (although you can still see the equivalent amount in Francs on some statements) is the accepted currency when paying cash in France. Some stores in larger cities also accept other international currencies, however, you might find that the exchange rate will be less favourable compared to payment in Euros.

If you are planning to stay in France for longer periods (e.g. 4 months or more), you are advised to open a local bank account. Travellers Cheques are not recommended since cashing them is becoming more difficult.

The French Government is active in supporting innovation and business growth through a number of grant initiatives, for example schemes such as start-up loans – “Prêt à la Création d’Entreprise (PCE)”. More information about how to apply for funding can be accessed from the ADIE business support organisation.

Major Banks in France include:

  • Banque Directe
  • Banque Populaire Group
  • BNP Paribas
  • Groupe BPCE
  • BRED
  • Crédit Agricole S.A. (CASA)
  • Crédit Mutuel – CIC Group
  • Societe Generale

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Travelling costs

Unless your employer has stipulated otherwise, travelling costs to and from an interview are usually paid by the candidate themselves. It is always best to clarify the arrangements with the organisation you are planning to work for. If your travel costs can be reimbursed you would have to produce original receipts. If you are a student and have to travel during your placement year on the train or other public transport – most have special student rates so proof of your student status is helpful in reducing travel costs.

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