Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cost of living in Paris

Well I don't know about "cost of living" but I couldn't think of a better title. We had heard that most things in Paris are much more expensive, so we brought a few things with us from Taiwan: batteries, tape, office supplies, etc. We get here, and things really aren't that much more expensive if you go to the right places. The current exchange rate for $1 Euro to $1 US is about 1.37. So $1.37 US = $1 Euro. Not horrible, so roughly $4 US is equal to $3 Euros. From now on $ refers to Euros.

The joke of "living off of wine and baguettes" is really no joke. Wine is extremely inexpensive here. There is very good wine that we get every few days that is $3 or less a bottle. Also baguettes are $1. I heard this might be mandated by the French government (not sure if that's true) but it is something way too good to pass up for that price. We must have eaten at least 15 baguettes in the past 3 weeks, and they are always hot and fresh from the many bakeries around town.

Junk food is really inexpensive here as well. Gummi bears (and many variations) are very cheap, like $1 for a big bag. A very large bag of potato chips is around $1 (imported Lays are more expensive). Chocolate chip cookies and crackers are cheap as well. The only problem  was trying to find some "Cheetos", they don't exist here. The closest thing I found was some "fromage" style things. Not 100% accurate, but good enough to fill the need I guess.

While wine is very inexpensive, beer is not as popular here and a little more expensive. They tend to sell either small bottles in a 6 pack (about 33% smaller than the normal USA bottle size) or they sell the cans in a larger size (about 50% larger than the normal USA can). I found a beer called Kongenbourgh for $1.09 that is the larger can size and 7.2% alcohol (most USA beer is around 5%), this seems to be working out well so far.

So in summary, these are the results from shopping in Paris:

  • wine
  • baguettes
  • mustard
  • candy
  • cookies
  • potato chips
  • beer
  • cheese
  • fruits & vegetables
  • fast food (McDonalds, Subway, etc)
  • soda
  • meat & fish
  • eating out at restaurants