Studying in France: Housing and Cost of Living

Studying in France is an exciting and enriching experience for many international students. However, before heading to this country known for its academic excellence, it is essential to understand the aspects related to housing and cost of living. Indeed, finding affordable and suitable accommodation, as well as managing monthly expenses, can pose challenges for international students.

This guide aims to provide valuable information about the various housing options available in France, as well as the costs associated with student life. We will explore major French student cities such as Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, and Marseille, highlighting the differences in the cost of living between these destinations. Additionally, we will examine the most popular accommodations for students, including university residences managed by CROUS, private student residences, private apartments, shared apartments, and the possibility of living with a French family or elderly resident.

Major Student Cities in France

France is renowned for its dynamic student scene, with several major cities attracting thousands of students each year. Among these cities, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, and Marseille stand out for their diverse educational offerings and lively atmosphere.


The French capital, Paris, is often at the top of the list for international students. However, it is important to note that the cost of living is higher compared to other cities in the country. Rents, transportation, and daily expenses can be more expensive, requiring careful budget planning for students living in the capital.


Lyon, the second-largest city in France, is also a popular destination for students. Known for its vibrant cultural scene and renowned educational institutions, Lyon offers a dynamic student atmosphere. The cost of living is generally more affordable compared to Paris, although slightly higher than in some smaller cities.


Located in southwestern France, Toulouse is a renowned student city known for its pleasant climate and friendly atmosphere. Students will find a multitude of universities and prestigious schools, as well as a vibrant cultural scene. The cost of living in Toulouse is generally more affordable than in major French cities.


Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is a dynamic and cosmopolitan port city that attracts many students. With its sunny climate, beaches, and lively nightlife, Marseille offers a pleasant living environment for students. The cost of living is generally more affordable than in major cities in northern France.

It is also worth mentioning other popular student cities in France, such as Nantes, Rouen, Grenoble, Montpellier, and Lille. These cities offer a rich student life, with rents and cost of living often more affordable than in major metropolitan areas. These more budget-friendly options can be attractive to students concerned about their expenses.

Housing Options for Students

University Residences (CROUS)

University residences offered by CROUS (Regional Centers for University and School Works) are a popular option for students in France. These residences offer housing specifically designed for students, usually located near university campuses. Rooms can vary in size and amenities, ranging from single rooms to shared rooms. CROUS university residences also provide common spaces, such as study rooms and relaxation areas.

In terms of costs, the prices of university residences vary depending on the city. In Paris, for example, the monthly rent for a CROUS university residence can reach around 400 EUR. In other French cities, prices are generally more affordable, ranging from around 150 EUR to 300 EUR per month. These prices often include utilities such as electricity and internet access.

Private Student Residences

Private student residences are an alternative to CROUS university residences. These residences, managed by private companies, often offer additional amenities and facilities, such as fitness rooms, shared workspaces, security services, and modern living spaces. Private student residences generally offer more flexibility in terms of rental duration, which can be advantageous for students looking to rent for shorter periods.

However, private student residences tend to be slightly more expensive than CROUS university residences. Prices vary depending on the city and the amenities offered, but in general, one can expect to pay between 500 EUR and 800 EUR per month.

Private Apartments

Renting a private apartment is a common option for students in France, offering more independence and freedom. Private apartments can vary in size and location, ranging from studios to multi-room apartments. The prices of private apartments are generally higher than those of university residences or private student residences.

In Paris, rents for a private apartment can reach around 800 EUR for a studio and increase based on size and location. In other French cities, prices for private apartments are generally more affordable, ranging from around 300 EUR to 600 EUR for a studio or one-bedroom apartment.

Shared Apartments

Shared apartments, also known as flat-sharing or colocations, are a popular option for students looking to reduce costs while benefiting from a more spacious living space. In a shared apartment, students come together to rent a larger apartment and share the rent and utilities. This allows for the division of costs among roommates, making colocation more affordable.

The advantages of shared apartments go beyond cost reduction. They also offer a rewarding social experience, allowing students to live with others who share similar interests and create friendly bonds. Additionally, the distribution of household chores and responsibilities can be shared among roommates, lightening the load for each individual.

Prices for shared apartments vary depending on size, location, and the number of roommates. In Paris, for example, the cost of a room in a shared apartment can range from 400 EUR to 800 EUR per month, depending on these factors. In other cities, prices can be more affordable, ranging from around 200 EUR to 500 EUR per month.

Living with a French Family/Elderly Resident

An alternative and economical option for international students is to live with a French family or an elderly resident. This option often offers reduced or even free rent in exchange for household assistance, such as chores or accompanying elderly individuals. This allows students to experience a warm family environment and practice the French language.

Living arrangements with a family or elderly resident can vary in terms of conditions and responsibilities. It is important to communicate effectively and clarify mutual expectations before committing to such an arrangement. Students can find these opportunities through specialized agencies, online platforms, or personal contacts.

Benefits and Discounts for Students

Studying in France comes with numerous advantages, including the opportunity to benefit from special discounts reserved for students. These discounts are available in various areas, helping to alleviate the cost of living for students.


Students can enjoy reduced fares on public transportation such as buses, trams, and metros. Most cities offer special discounted student subscriptions, making it easier and more affordable to get around.

Cultural Visits

Students can benefit from discounted rates for accessing museums, historical monuments, and tourist sites in France. Simply presenting a valid student card allows students to explore the country’s cultural richness without breaking the bank.


The CROUS university restaurants offer affordable meals for students. Balanced and varied meals can be found for less than 5 EUR. These university restaurants are widespread in many student cities in France, providing an economical dining option for students.

Various Services

Students can also benefit from discounts in other areas such as healthcare services, shows, gyms, bookstores, and school supplies. It is advisable to inquire with local service providers to learn about specific discounts available for students.

These benefits and discounts are aimed at facilitating student life and making cultural activities, transportation, and daily needs more affordable for students in France. It is important to always carry a valid student card to avail these benefits.


In conclusion, it is essential for international students to have a good understanding of the available housing options and the cost of living in France. Careful budget planning and knowledge of the benefits and discounts available will contribute to a successful student experience. Whether you choose to live in a university residence, private student residence, private apartment, shared apartment, or with a French family, France offers many opportunities for your study abroad journey to be academically, culturally, and personally enriching.

We encourage all international students to seize this opportunity and fully immerse themselves in student life in France, exploring the different housing options, taking advantage of the benefits and discounts, and creating unforgettable memories throughout their study journey in France.


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