Cheapest Cities in France for International Students

Studying abroad has always been a dream of yours. And you have decided to study in France.

The only problem is that living in France can be pricey. Will you be able to afford it?

France has expensive cities and affordable cities.

Read this list to learn the cheapest city to stay in as a student.

Where Is The Cheapest City For International Students?

France has several cheap universities which are perfect for a study abroad program.

Some of the best cities for students have a great student life as well as affordable fares for students.

These cities have affordable universities with academic excellence. If you want the optimal international student experience, consider these French cities.


Toulouse is probably the cheapest French city for college students. It is possible to live on €600 a month in this city.

Student life is hopping in Toulouse as it has the second biggest population of students. This also brings down the living expenses.

Home to 14 cheap universities, you’ll be able to find one that is a good fit for you.


Lille is one of the cheapest student cities in France. Students can live here for €700 a month.

Not only is it affordable, but it has multiple educational institutions. This allows you to have options when choosing your degree path.

Its location allows the use of public transportation for quick trips to other countries. It is also set up in a way that you can walk to most places from most homes.


Bordeaux is another affordable city in France for students. Student living expenses average €750 a month.

This artsy city is quite progressive. The people here are very inclusive, as well.

The most popular form of public transportation here is bike rentals. Or you could buy your own!

College students will feel right at home here. Which is good because there are several universities in this city.


Students can affordably live in Montpellier. This city has an average cost of living of €850 a month.

Because of its universities, Montpellier is a student city through and through. College students will never get bored because there’s always something to do here.

You can choose from six great institutions including Paul Valéry University Montpellier.

Another perk is the Mediterranean climate as it is close to the sea. 


Grenoble is an affordable city for students. Students can live here for about €900 a month.

Grenoble has several affordable institutions to choose from. Some of these include Grenoble Alpes University and Grenoble Institute of Technology.

If you love the outdoors, you’ll appreciate the easy access to the Alps from this city.

What Is The Cheapest University In France?

Tuition fees at public institutions all cost about the same. Nearly all universities in France are affordable universities.

The biggest factor of cost is your degree path.

The average bachelor’s degree costs €170 a year. If you study engineering or medicine, you will spend significantly more.

Master’s degrees and Ph.D. programs will also cost more. Even the postgraduate level paths are cheap, though.

However, all of these popular options and degree levels are affordable.

France’s “great schools and establishments” will have a higher price for high-quality education. Private institutions and business schools are also more expensive.

How Much Does It Cost To Study Abroad In France?

Tuition Fees

Average tuition fees at French universities are quite low. The affordable tuition at these public institutions is appealing to foreign students.

Most undergraduate degrees have an average cost of €170 annually. Master’s degrees average €260 a year. The average Ph.D. is €396 each year.

Engineering degrees are more expensive at €620 a year. Medical degrees will be close to €450 annually. 

These prices are for international students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. Foreign students from other countries will pay a slightly higher price.

Most public universities also have campus life fees which average about €91 each year.

If you choose not to attend a public university, you will face higher fees. Private universities start at €1,500 annually but can cost €20,000.

Students attending the most prestigious universities will pay about €550 each year. Some of these cost up to €10,000 annually for their quality of education.

Business schools are the priciest option. These cost between €5,000 to €30,000 each year.

International students can apply for scholarships and grants. This will lower the cost of education.

Cost Of Living

Different factors determine your living costs in this European country.

Your lifestyle choices are one big influencer. Fortunately, you can have a good quality of life on a small budget.

The city where you live is probably the biggest factor, though. Major cities will have higher costs than their smaller counterparts.

Living in Paris, the capital city, costs about €1,500 a month. Most students in Nice will spend around €1,200 a month. Living expenses in Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux, and Toulouse all average €900 a month. If you looking for free accommodation in Paris you can also try house sitting.

In most other places, you can expect to spend closer to €700 on living costs. Some of these towns may be cheap, but they’re not all close to universities.

Food, public transportation, health insurance, and entertainment are fairly affordable in France. If you make a budget, it should be easy to live within your means.


The average cost of college student housing is €200 a month. However, it can be hard to find college housing because it’s a popular option.

If you live in an apartment off-campus, you can expect to pay between €400-€700 a month. This cost will be higher in Paris and lower in small cities.

You could share rent with roommates to lower your payment. Or you could find a host family to stay with for close to €200 a month.

Travel Costs

The cost of travel can be pricey for many international students.

First of all, if you don’t live in the EU, you will need to apply for a French student visa. This will cost about €99.

Then there’s the matter of actually getting to France.

Travel to and from France differs in price depending on location and time. It may be cheap for some people and quite expensive for others.

You’ll have to decide whether or not you will go home to visit your family on holiday. You’ll also have to decide how much traveling you’ll do in the French cities.

We recommend putting aside some money for visiting popular destinations while you’re there. This can be almost as educational as a college in some ways!

If you’re not from the European Union, you should also visit some of those European countries.

However, travel should be the first thing to drop from your expenses if you are struggling to pay the bills.

Now you have enough information to start choosing a college city in France. Best wishes along your international student journey!

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past seven years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats one turtle, and one rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures, and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so please reach out if you have any questions! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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