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Cost of living, central vs Southern France

Upavon, United...
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Cost of living, central vs Southern France

Hello! My husband and I are trying to pick a place in France for our 2 week holiday at the end of August. I know that's the busy time (and more expensive time) for holiday rentals... but it's the only time we can go. It looks like the rentals between central and Southern France would be about the same price, but I'm concerned with the 'cost of living' once we get there... can anytime advise if it's more expensive for say, a loaf of bread or an evening meal out in Southern France (looking at Nice) vs central/rural France? Last post I saw on the topic was 2008, so I'd love an update. Thanks!

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California
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for Grasse
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1. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

The cost of living would depend on which part of southern France you are considering--prices on the Côte d'Azur are higher than in many parts of Provence and the Gard. Nice has any number of grocery stores with good prices, and you can get inexpensive meals by doing a search here for posts on Nice restaurants.

Le Bugue, France
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2. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

And "central/rural France" covers a huge swath of territory. To get any useful information, you'd need to be more specific.

Provence Alpes Cote...
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3. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

Basic necessities, such as a loaf of bread, won't vary widely and won't be the big items that can break the bank. A baguette may be €0.90 in a village in Auvergne, but €1.00 on the French Riviera, for example. Same with some standard Gruyère cheese and a bottle of rosé (the basic necessities ;-).

What will change from region to region and impact your budget the most are accommodations. A night at a decent hotel in the middle of France might be 60€ when it could be double (and up) in a popular sunny place by the beach in the South. However, you can usually find decent prices for rooms if you're willing to go a little smaller or a little further.

Restaurant prices will also vary widely, but you can usually find a decent deal almost anywhere if you're willing to look beyond the popular streets. And you can limit your nights out to restaurants and have a great time with easy local food picnics by the beach, so that's more within your control.

Having said that, I would prefer to pick a location I love and explore it from a tiny room that's a little further out and with a diet of, say, baguettes, olives and local fruit than stay in a cheap area that doesn't appeal to me all that much.

So pick your dream vacation, and then you will find a way to make it happen within your budget.

Enjoy,

AzurAlive.com

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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4. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

<<I would prefer to pick a location I love and explore it from a tiny room that's a little further out and with a diet of, say, baguettes, olives>>

I completely join in the sentiment above. Perhaps you can focus on a region you are truly interested in and then modify your expenditures according to your budget. You can always have a slice of pizza in Nice, if Nice is what calls you, instead of a sit-down three-course supper.

Antibes, France
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5. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

As we're on pizza - The Riviera Reporter magazine some years back bemoaned that a pizza cost some 60% more in Antibes (on the Med) than in Biarritz (on the Atlantic).

But as regards food and household items you have access to several supermarket chains - however for some reason there are far greater differences between them than say in the UK so it pays to shop around.

Ed

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6. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

<<But as regards food and household items you have access to several supermarket chains - however for some reason there are far greater differences between them than say in the UK so it pays to shop around.>>

The supermarket chains in France haven't jumped upon the price matching bandwagon like those in the UK so basics definitely do vary in price

Interesting re pizza in Biarritz Ed - we thought Biarritz was expensive - especially for hotels even compared with the Riviera

Nice
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7. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

Some years ago , does not seem to bear out to today if an search of pizza places/menus in Biarritz is anything to go by .

Pizzas seem to be about the same price or more expensive now in Biarritz for a basic pizza

Nice
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8. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

I think if you are looking at village prices you will find that food that has to be brought in from oustide wholesalers will be more expensive - sometimes considerably so. Small shops can't compete with large supermarkets or places with a high turnover like on the cote d'azur [though there will be small places that have the same issue here]

Local produce may be cheaper in the height of the season, or may be inflated to make the most of any tourist season.

In more populous areas eg cote d'azur you can find restaurants are every price break and taste. In smaller ,remoter places you may be restruicted to a couple or none that you like.

This is can be a big issue for folk with dietary needs eg vegan, halal, kosher etc

Antibes, France
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9. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

I have seen shops in some villages where you can only buy goat's cheese and ...er.....goat's cheese.

Ed

Upavon, United...
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10. Re: Cost of living, central vs Southern France

Thanks to everyone (except StCirq) for your replies. I've been looking around on loads of sites for holiday rentals and there are decent places out there for a reasonable price along the South coast, just takes a lot of looking! Think that I'll stick with Nice as that's where I'd really like to go :)