Grocery cost comparison

When you have relocated to France, you will need to assess whether you will be spending more money here than you did in the UK – and nowhere is this as important as with essential grocery shopping

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The way we shop here in France is different from the UK. It is important to remember that the French tend to make full use of the excellent markets for fresh produce. You are likely to find a food and general market nearby every day of the week in France – it really is a way of life and is extremely easy to get into! Many supermarkets do have meat, cheese and fish counters offering an array of foods, but markets tend to be cheaper and certainly for items such as fruit and vegetables, better quality. You will also find individual butchers, bakers, fishmongers, greengrocers and excellent delicatessens in many towns and larger villages. Some of their shop displays are an absolute work of art. 
 
The French seem to take great pride in their displays of food, and the quality is first class. What we love about living here is that a large percentage of fresh food items have been grown locally. We rarely eat processed food. Peel off lids are not common here: the French love to cook and food is a very important part of life. The French will linger long over the dinner table discussing life and art, and the whole family sits down to dinner. It is an occasion. After all, it was Molière who coined the phrase “Il faut vivre pour manger, non pas manger pour vivre” (We must live to eat, not eat to live).
 

Save money and make friends by buying locally:

Contrary to what you may think, it is often cheaper to buy in your local store as well of course as frequenting your weekly market. We have a general epicerie (grocery) in our village and have noticed that the prices are no more than the large supermarkets in town. It is certainly by and large cheaper than the UK. We also have travelling vans selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. You can be sure they are local people who probably source their own produce, some of which is likely to have come from their own garden or “potager” – allotment. People chat in shops in France. You always say “bonjour” as you enter, not only to the owner of the shop but to the other customers. This is all part of integrating into your community so think of it this way: you are not only going to eating healthier food, you are going to make friends!
 
If you do need to bulk buy in a large supermarket, make sure you take advantage of their loyalty cards. The points on these do add up, and it is easy to affiliate in any supermarket. Some offer money off coupons after a set number of months, and some allow you to stock up on your points and then obtain cash when you wish to do so.
 
There are also regular promotions and “2 for 1” offers on certain products and you will receive countless notification of these through your letter box as well as in store!
 

Eating out

The best value places to eat out are restaurants with a “prix fixe” menu, which offer extremely good value at around €15-20 for 3 courses, often with a glass of wine thrown in. A glass of wine in a bar is much cheaper than the UK, and soft drinks in a bar are pretty much on a par with the UK.
 
Overall, the cost of living in France probably does not differ greatly from that in the UK, although it is of course hard to generalise .The larger supermarkets sell a very wide range of items, not simply groceries and are often a good place to look for electrical equipment/some furniture/garden items. Think of Leclerc, Geant and Carrefour. Shopping for basic stock in supermarkets is a good idea in France but as previously mentioned, both outdoor and indoor food markets are wonderful for fresh food items. 

Further reading for Living In France

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Finding work in France

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in France.
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Education in France

Are you emigrating to France with school-age children?

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Social life in France

The best way to get settled in France is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
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Healthcare

The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world...

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