France is a beautiful country known for its fantastic food, culture, and luxury. Many foreigners dream of living a glamorous Parisian lifestyle. But what does it cost to live in France, and what is considered a good salary?
A good salary in France varies based on your location, career, and experience. A good wage for France is between 2,400 EUR and 4,000 EUR after-tax, with the average overall monthly salary being 2,340 EUR. At the same time, a good net income in Paris, France’s most expensive city, is between 3,000 EUR and 5,000 EUR per month.
As is the case with all countries, France has several financial intricacies that make its salaries unique. In this article, we will break down French wages in order for you to understand what a good salary in France is. This will enable you to understand what you should expect to earn and spend when living and working in France. Also read what is considered a good salary in Paris in this article.
What is a good salary in France in 2023?
In 2023, a net monthly salary between 2,400 EUR and 3,500 EUR is considered good in France.
Generally, a good net monthly salary in France is between 2,500 EUR and 4,000 EUR. If you live outside Paris, you can live comfortably between 2,000 EUR and 3,000 EUR.
If, however, you live in Paris, you should strive to earn between 3,000 EUR or closer to 5,000 EUR to have a comfortable lifestyle.
Before we embark on understanding what a reasonable salary is in France, it’s important to note that discussing how much you make can be very taboo. The French don’t share their annual income with others or even show their pay stubs freely as other cultures do.
Still, when you find yourself at a job interview in 2023 as an expat in France, you will inevitably be asked the question, “What is your salary expectation?”
In order to answer this question with confidence, you should know both the average salary and what a good living wage is in France. When you know this information, you will understand how much you need to earn in France to survive.
You will also know how much money you need to earn to live well as an expat in this lovely country. This includes having a comfortable apartment with spending cash for occasional trips, dining out, and other living expenses associated with a comfortable lifestyle.
Suppose you are single with a salary between 2,500 EUR and 3,500 EUR in 2022. In that case, you can comfortably rent your own apartment, dine out regularly, take occasional weekend trips and even put away a bit of savings.
A salary of over 3,000 EUR per month will have you living comfortably outside Paris, but keep in mind that it’s higher than the national average salary of 2,340 EUR, so many earn less than this.
Paris, on average, is about 9% more expensive to live in than most other parts of France, according to statistics. This increased expense applies to many aspects associated with the cost of living; thus, you can expect a higher salary as well.
Housing in Paris can be particularly expensive, ranging between 900 EUR and 2,000 EUR for a studio in the city. In order to understand how much it costs to live comfortably, it’s best to look at the breakdown of all everyday expenses.
Remember that some cities are much more expensive than others, but the pay difference may not be as significant in these more expensive cities. Take Paris as an example.
Paris is the most expensive city in France. Your monthly costs of living in Paris might look like:
- Rent and utilities for an average furnished studio or one-bedroom apartment: 1,000 – 1,500 EUR
- Internet: 29 EUR
- Groceries and eating out: 466 EUR
- Home insurance: 13 EUR
- Transportation (public and occasional taxi): 80-100 EUR
- Clothing and other personal expenses: 230 EUR
- Occasional entertainment: 130 EUR
Hence, rent will eat up most of your budget in Paris.
As you can see, it can be challenging to survive in Paris off the average wage, which is less than 2,500 EUR per month.
It’s certainly impossible to live comfortably on that wage. If you anticipate a salary closer to the average French salary due to your skills and experience, it may be wise to look outside Paris.
Salaries in France
When employers list a salary, it’s always the gross amount. Your take-home pay will differ significantly from your gross pay. This is because your social contributions and income tax are removed from your check before you can cash it.
France is known for high taxes, coming to 30% to 45% of your gross income. These include income tax and social contributions.
Single employees in France pay the highest taxes. The rate for the average single worker was 46.6% in 2020. In fact, France had the 4th highest tax among other European countries in 2020.
The average married worker with two children paid 37.9% in taxes in 2020.
An automatic income tax deduction is something Americans know all about but is something relatively new to France.
While France has deducted all social contributions for quite some time, income taxes only started being automatically deducted in 2019. This means you should always expect income tax to be withheld, no matter where you work in France.
Social contributions are also taken out of your gross salary in France. Social contributions, simply put, are the funds you contribute to support government-run social programs. These programs include healthcare, unemployment, retirement, maternity, and more.
These contributions fluctuate based on your earnings and can get a bit complicated. If you are just starting out a career in France, it’s a good idea to sit down with your employer to understand your social contributions and invoice tax withholdings. It will help determine your monthly budget more accurately.
Once you understand how much will be deducted from your gross pay, you should consider how much you will earn in France compared to other countries.
The type of work, your level of experience, the location of the job, and even the company’s size will be all factor into how much you will earn as an expat in France.
For you to understand how decent-paying jobs are compensated, here is data to show some annual salaries of well-paying popular jobs in France:
|Job||Annual gross salary|
|Electrical Engineer||67,041 EUR|
|Financial Analyst||69,553 EUR|
|Graphic Designer||43,477 EUR|
|Physical Therapist||49,711 EUR|
In France, just as is still the case elsewhere throughout the globe, your gender may also play a role in how much you earn. As of 2018, men still made 15.2% more than women. This number may come as quite a shock, but France is working to correct this issue. Still, it’s something to consider.
Read about salaries in Paris in this article.
Average salary in France in 2023
There are several ways of deciding the “average” salary in France. If you consider all salaries evenly, the simplest average, or the average wage in France is 2,340 EUR. This information is according to INSEE, and France’s last statistical data.
The median average is also a good number to look at. The median is helpful as it shows the middle number from where half the country earns more, and half the country makes less. The median average full-time salary in France is a net of 1,845 EUR per month.
This number shows that half of the working people of France earn more than this, while half earn less than this. If you were to make a net of 1,845 EUR, then you would be in the middle of the population. The medium income isn’t a high wage, and it’s challenging to live comfortably on.
Just like in the United States, France has a minimum wage. The French minimum wage is called SMIC, and is 11.27 EUR per hour in 2023. In France, however, this minimum wage is re-evaluated every year.
In 2023, if you are a full-time worker who works 35 hours a week in France earning the minimum wage (SMIC), you would have made about 1,709.28 EUR per month before income tax reductions.
At the same time, in 2021, France’s “Working Class” earned less than 1,534 EUR per month. This represents the lower earners in the French workforce. It’s not a comfortable wage and would be difficult to live off as a single person.
The “Middle Class” earners represent the majority of the earners in France. About 30% and up to 80% of all working people fall into this category. The middle-class salary ranged from 1,534 EUR net per month and 2,784 EUR net per month in 2021.
It’s possible to earn a middle-class wage and live comfortably in France. But if you can manage to become a top 20% earner (above 2,784 EUR net per month), your lifestyle and quality of life will increase significantly.
Consequently, the “Higher Class” in France represents the top 20% of earners in France. In order to be considered a higher class earner, you had to make more than 2,784 EUR per month.
If you are in this category, you can live comfortably pretty much anywhere in France, including Paris, as long as you budget properly.
Is 50,000 EUR a good salary in France?
In France, a salary of 50,000 EUR is considered a good salary. If you earn 50,000 EUR, then you would be earning more than the majority of workers in France. If you make 50,000 EUR as a single person, you can even live in Paris.
If you earn 50,000 EUR, you should expect to spend just over 10,000 EUR on social contributions and approximately 5,800 EUR on income taxes. This will leave you with an annual net salary of about 33,800 EUR per year, or 2,817 EUR per month.
2,817 EUR per month will rank you as a higher-class earner. It will allow you to rent your own flat, and afford transportation, groceries, and meals out in Paris. You can also take an occasional trip and splurge on clothing and fun nights out from time to time.
Health insurance for expats in France
Expats need a health insurance solution when moving to France. We recommend Cigna Global for international coverage. Because Cigna insurance is international, you can use your policy not only in France but almost anywhere in the world.
In the long run, you can save a significant amount of money with private insurance. Its policy price doesn’t depend on your income as it’s with public companies. In France, the premium of public health insurance will be deducted from your monthly salary and contributes to about 13% of gross income, which is a lot.
With 74,000 employees, 200 years of experience, and more than 100 million customers globally, Cigna is one of the largest international insurance providers out there.
With that insurance, you can enjoy instant and easy access to healthcare facilities and professionals around the globe.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in France?
Everyone has a different idea of “comfortable.” Still, it’s generally accepted that if you are a top earner, live debt-free, and can afford your own living expenses with money to spare, then you are comfortable.
France has 43 billionaires, but you don’t need to be the 43rd billionaire to live comfortably in France. If you are able to earn within the top 20% of earners or more than 48,000 EUR, then you can live a good life in most of France.
Keep in mind France is considered the 10th most expensive country to live in Europe. It’s by no means a cheap country, but if you are diligent, you can find a way to afford the lifestyle in this luxurious country.
If you earn less than 48,000 EUR, you can still live comfortably, but you may want to look outside of Paris, where you can potentially earn a similar salary, but the cost of living is almost 10% cheaper.
Moving for a job in Italy isn't that common, given its relatively weak economic position compared to other EU countries. Nonetheless, Italy is the second largest manufacturing country in Europe. The...
Canada and France are two totally different countries with only a few similarities, like the French language. Although only about 22% of Canadians are French-speaking, the majority of French people...