Monday, September 17, 2007

France is NOT so Expensive

Just kidding. France is VERY expensive (got your attention now, right?).
To help you figure out how much money you need, here are some of the things that I spent money on since I came here. It has been almost 4 weeks so you can get a nice estimate. The first 3 weeks we were two here, and in the last week it's only me.

Beside the tuition of course, I spent around 850 euros. That include reloading my student card (photocopies cost 9 cents per page, eating in the restaurabts and bar), paying for the stamps for the Card De Sejour (330 euros), student council (100 euros), 2 books (115 euros), business cards (38 euros), and my Spanish exam (115 euros).

Language tuition of 550 euros awates.

So far I have spent about 300 Euros on food and drinks (including wine). There are 4 supermarkets that I checked: Champion (there is one in every city, including Champagne and Avon), Casino (in Samorau), ACAT (near Champagne - very expensive), and Leader Price (in Rue Grande - Fontainebleau). Except ACAT all are pretty much the same price range.

Food (except for cheese and wine) is generally expensive. You buy with 30-40 euros basic stuff. Be prepared for this expense.

Besides rent, which is 800-1200 euros in general, I paid around 350 Euros so far on expenses for my apartment.

Furniture - Don't hesitate and drive to IKEA. It's only 25 minutes from here and is the cheapest. Don't waste your time on stores like BricoMarche. They are more expensive. Almost all you need you can buy there.

Electronic equipment - Go to Carfour. It has a large stock with a variety of products in reasonable prices (computer equipment, kitchen, etc).

Telecom and internet - Here is the big annoyance. Let's start with phone for the apartment. There is a monopoly here, and you will have to go to Orange in France Telecom at Rue Grande. For the worst service you will ever see (large lines, and you will have to come almost every day) and for an outragous price you will get yourself a fixed line. It will cost you 27 euros to install the line (they just have to press a button), and then 16 euros per month for maintenance (if you don't pay and there is a malfunction it will take them two weeks to fix it).
Then there is internet. Again I used Orange, since they have a program without commitment. For 28 Euros per month you get yourself a Livebox and 8M internet. Now here is the catch - it takes them up tp two weeks to install internet on your fixed lines, and then if you are lucky your Livebox will work.
Next we have mobile phone. You can get a prepaid SIM but I did the math and it is not worth it. Again I went to Orange, and you can get a Mobile with two hours and 30 SMS for around 32 Euros per month. Plus you have to pay for the phone 20 Euros.

That's it, enough complaining about Orange. I have spent around 150 Euros on telecom and internet.

Car Expenses
So far I have spent around 130 euros on fuel and parking. In Fontainebleau you have to pay for parking everywhere, but in all the other places parking is free.
I have a diesel car, so around every 650 km I have to spend 40 euros for full tank.

For all other expenses I have spent around 400 Euros (Paris, restaurants, gifts, etc).

In total I have spent here around 3000 Euros in 4 weeks (including rent). The price don't include expenses I had made in Israel - flying tickets, tuition, shipping, car leasing, laptop, etc. This is merely for living here in France.
Obviousely a portion of the amount is a one time expenditure in the first month.

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