It goes without saying that moving abroad requires careful budgeting. Setup costs for the Working Holiday Visa to France (full application guide) include the plane ticket, private health insurance, temporary housing, among other expenses. And then once you arrive, regular everyday life in France also has its own cost (food, accommodation, leisure etc). Let’s take a look together at the setup budget and cost of living in France.

Pre-departure budget

For your WHV application, you will need to show that you have savings of at least €2500 (or the equivalent in another currency) to support yourself upon arrival in France. If you choose to not book a return flight yet, you will need to show additional savings as proof that you can afford one later on.

On top of the savings minimum, the following are some real expenses that you will need to plan for in the application and preparation phase:

  • Visa fees and appointment fees: €30-100, depending on your country (it could be either the VFS Global centre or French consulate/embassy that assesses the fee)
  • Transportation to and from your nearest visa processing site (it could be VFS Global centre or French consulate/embassy)
  • Passport application or renewal: remember that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your intended last day in France. So if you don’t have a passport yet, or have one that is expiring too early, you will need to pay to obtain a new one. For Canadians, the cost is CA$160 for a 10 year passport.
  • Private health insurance: €500-600 for one year. Globe WHV meets the requirements for France, learn more.
  • Airfare: this obviously depends on your point of origin and time of travel. From Montreal to Paris, for example, budget CA$800-1200.

Total application and departure preparation cost: €1200-1400. The actual amount will vary depending on your passport needs, visa fees, and airfare.

Also check out our Departure checklist for a working holiday in France in 2024-2025.

Budget estimate for the first month in France:

  • Public transportation from the airport to downtown Paris: ~€13
  • Phone plan: ~€20
  • One week in a youth hostel: ~€240
  • Food: €40-70 per week, excluding eating out
  • Train ticket from Paris to your final destination city (if applicable)
  • Activities and leisure: depends on the person

To give you a concrete example, here were my expenses for the first 5 weeks. I arrived with almost twice the minimum savings requirement. It was safer that way, since I didn’t have a job lined up.

  • Youth hostels: 3 nights at The People le Marais for €114 in a mixed room (4 beds), and 2 nights at Latroupe Grand Place for €75 in a women-only room (6 beds).
  • Phone plan: €19 per month via Free Mobile
  • Paris to Lille one-way train ticket: €41
  • Lille to Brussels round trip train ticket: €18
  • 4 weeks in an Airbnb room (+1 week free): €715
  • Leisure activities: ~€81
  • Food: ~€200

My total spending for the first month: around €1260.

If you are planning to settle down in a specific town or city (as opposed to being fully nomadic), a good option is to rent a room from an owner-occupant for 4-5 weeks, enough time for you to find and sign long term housing. Plus, it allows you to have a first trusted contact in a foreign city.

Monthly cost of living

Now let’s look at the monthly cost of living in France. Expenses vary by city. To illustrate, we’ll compare Paris with a smaller regional capital, Lille. Although Paris is more expensive than other cities, salaries there are usually higher as well.


In this example, let’s say that you want a 32sqm place just for yourself. The averages in each city are:

Paris: €960 per month
Lille: €448 per month

Living with roommates is usually cheaper than living alone. It is also possible to find seasonal work where you are provided room and board, which can be very attractive if your budget is tight and you are open to manual labour.


Certain supermarket chains are more expensive than others. For example, anti food waste stores such as Chez Nous have much lower prices than a convenience supermarkets like Carrefour Express.

Paris: €50-80 per week
Lille: €40-70 per week

Public transportation

Unfortunately in Paris, transport passes do not offer discounts to youth.

Paris: €86.5 per month for the Navigo pass
Lille: €31.5 per month for up to 25 years old, and €63 for everyone else

Going out

This category is very relative to each person and their spending habits.


  • Restaurants (3 courses): €35-60
  • Pint of beer: €9
  • Cappuccino: €4-6
  • Movie ticket: €13
  • Concert: €93


  • Restaurants (3 courses): €25-50
  • Pint of beer: €7
  • Cappuccino: €3-5
  • Movie ticket: €12
  • Concert: €46

My monthly expenses in Lille

  • Housing: €590 including utilities*, living with 2 other people, in Lille proper
  • Phone plan: €19
  • Food: €160
  • Transportation: €0. As needed, I take public transportation at €1.80 per ticket
  • Going out: varies a lot from month to month and I don’t keep close track of this category. Last week, I spent €24 for: an exhibition, 2 drinks, and a few coffees.
    *In general, this means heating, water, and electricity. In my case, it also includes internet, cleaning products, shared food products etc. Finding a rental that includes utilities will help you to better control your monthly budget.

    To summarize, there is €609 per month of fixed expenses (housing, subscriptions). I spend around €160 per month on food and €100 on going out. All together, my monthly spending is around €900 in Lille.


    Keep in mind that specific figures will vary from person to person and city to city. That said, it is always a good idea to plan for higher expenses in the first couple of months in France, as you will need to set up your new life there without necessarily having an income right away.

    Good luck on your WHV adventure!


    Je suis Meghan, rédactrice web pour Pvtistes. Je suis Québécoise, originaire de la Côte-Nord. Je suis en PVT France depuis un peu plus de 1 an déjà. Je me suis installée dans le département du Nord, à Lille.

    I’m Meghan, a writer for Pvtistes. I’m originally from the Côte-Nord region of Quebec. For my working holiday, I settled in Lille, the Nord department of France, and I’ve been here for just over one year now.

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