The cost of living in Lyon

tram lyon1 - Public transports


The city of Lyon has a particularly cheap and efficient public transport network :

for a full price ticket you get unlimited access to all means of public transports for one hour :

-4 underground lines

-5 Tramway lines

-over a hundred bus lines

-2 funicular railway lines

...which serve 64 boroughs covering 613 km2


One-month subscriptions are available and range from €30 to €60, depending on your status (student, worker). 


The Vélo'V system :  A network of bicycles to rent for half an hour or more.

Over 4.000 vélo'v bikes are available to all in more than 340 stations.

A €1.50 ticket allows a 30 minutes' rent as often as you wish during 24hrs. The weekly ticket costs €5.

If you choose a one year subscription (€25), you can rent a bike for up to one hour at a time.


2 - Accomodation


Despite its considerable drawing power, Lyon remains affordable and can offer accomodation for all budgets. Contrary to Paris, where finding accomodation is generally perceived as an ordeal, one can rapidly find a decent place to live in Lyon.


lyon logements

Settling in Lyon alone or with roommates :



Mean prices :

-A studio : from €350 to €500

-A room in shared flats : from €200 to €400

-A one-room flat : about €500

-A two-room flat : €600

-A furnished studio in a student residence : €500


When you settle in, you have to pay a month's rent refundable damage deposit, and agency fees (up to a month's rent).


Please note that for long stays, you will have to pay a tax of dwelling (about a month's rent) which is due once a year.


In general, to rent a flat alone or with room mates, you will need a guarantor in France.

If you have a student visa, you are entitled to financial aid to pay your rent. This aid is called APL and amounts to about 15-20% of your rent. You are entitled to it whatever your nationality.


famille d'accueil lyon

Host families



ELJ offers all its students the opportunity to stay in a French family in Lyon.

The price for short stays is €25 a night.

For stays over a month: from €300€ (depending on the families)

It is the cheapest and most interesting option !


3- Subscriptions :


Internet : the cheapest packages cost €15 a month. Access to the Internet is easy and cheap in France.


Telephone : The cheapest package costs €2 a month with unlimited SMS and phone calls up to 2 hours. A more comfortable package with the 4G option can amount to €15 or €20 depending on the operator.


Bank : The opening of a bank account is necessary to receive rent aid or your wages if you wish to get a small job. It is free in most banks but you will be asked for a proof of residence at your name.


Water : you will be charged less than €20 a month for a studio.


Electricity : less than €30 a month for a studio.


Gas : if your heating or cooking system needs gas, you will be charged about €20 for a studio.


saucisson lyon4- Everyday life :


Tips : in restaurants or cafés, to leave a tip is a common practice in France, though not compulsory. Reward waiters and waitresses with one or two euros for a smiling and efficient service, though leaving nothing is not considered impolite.


Supermarkets : count between €50 and €100 for one person per week for basics (milk, vegetables, soap…). Most supermarkets offer free fidelity cards giving access to discounts or gift checks interesting in the long run.

A few examples of prices for basics :

-1 litre of milk : €0,80

-1 beef steak : €2,50

-1 kilo of apples : €2

-1 lettuce : €1


Markets : It is the favourite meeting place of French people. There they can meet and chat with neighbours and stallholders and buy fresh products of great quality. Prices vary with the products and the season but if you are a regular client, now and then you may benefit from discounts. 

Note that in France prices are not negociable.


Restaurants : Lyon is the capital of French cuisine. Its most celebrated chef, Paul Bocuse, is a legend of French cuisine. Many French or foreign well-known chefs have also chosen Lyon to open their own restaurant. You can also try the famous "bouchons lyonnais" where you will taste heartly family dishes.

In Lyon, you can choose any restaurant at random : you are sure to be satisfied and satiated.

Generally restaurants in Lyon offer set meals at interesting prices.

-a meal in the restaurant of a grand chef : €200 and more

-a meal with 3 or 4 dishes in a "bouchon" : €15

-a "pot de côte" (the wine of the house in 46cl) €6

-a quick lunch menu : €8


bar à lyon

Bars : you will find plenty of bars and cafés in Lyon. From the Gothic bar to the organic bar, there is one for every taste.

-a 25cl draught beer : €2.70

-a glass of wine : from €2



5- Out of Lyon


Situated in the heart of France, Lyon has privileged access to all popular destinations in France and Europe :


By train : 

The SNCF is the State railway company and has the monopoly on the French railway network. The prices of the SNCF tickets vary according to the hour, the day, the periods of the year (school holidays, bank holidays…). You can benefit from discounts according to your age (with discount cards) or with pre-purchase : the earlier you buy, the cheaper.

For instance, a Lyon-Paris ticket booked on a Friday night for the following Saturday morning costs over €70, whereas the same ticket costs only €25 if bought a month in advance.

Lyon-Paris : return ticket €50, 2 hours' trip

Lyon-Marseille : return ticket €40, 1 1/2 hour's trip


By plane :

The airport of Lyon Saint-Exupéry (ever heard of Le petit Prince ?) offers direct flights to Germany, Great Britain, Spain and a lot more destinations for surprisingly  cheap prices with low cost companies.

Lyon-Milan : €150 for a return ticket

Lyon-Londres : €80 for a return ticket

Lyon-Barcelone : €60€ for a return ticket

Access to the airport of Lyon is possible in 30 minutes with the Rhône Express train from the central railway station of Lyon Part-Dieu.(€25 for a return ticket)

publication : 17/06/2015 par ELJ, mise à jour : 28/06/2018