I am referring to everyday things from meals, entertainment to transportation. From country to country, there are always some things cheaper or more expensive compared to home (Malaysia that is).
In this post, I’ll share with you what I observed to be 3 things more expensive and 3 things cheaper in France as compared to Malaysia.
3 things more expensive in France
Coffee in France starts from 2 EUR for basic espresso, and it is not even good ! I am talking really bad espresso which are most of the time served burnt (too hot), overly acid, and no crema !
Cappuccino and latte start from 3 EUR. French don’t usually prefer milk in their coffee. So, if you just order ” coffee” in a restaurant/ cafe, you will get an espresso. Here is how you order your coffee in France,
- Un café– Espresso, single or double
- Une noisette – Espresso with a dash of foamed milk, otherwise Macchiato
- Un allongé – Long black
- Un café crème – Espresso with cream
- Un café au lait – Coffee with foamed milk, but I would not say it is like latte, cause it is more like half long black half foamed milk, I never really like it
Back at home, we can get really good flat white at about RM 10 (2 EUR); RM 12 for more premium roasters. At Illy cafe, single espresso is priced at RM 8, double at RM 10. The price gap is not that significant, in fact if we use Big Mac currency, a cup of coffee costs 0.5 Big Mac in France, and 1 Big Mac in Malaysia. However, for me personally, the quality to price is just unacceptable for me.
Note: Big Mac currency is inspired by Big Mac Index, which was first introduced in 1986 by The Economist as a way to measure and compare Purchasing Power Parity between countries. The concept uses Big Mac local prices to benchmark currency exchange rates. Big Mac costs on average 4.12 EUR in France, and RM 9.50 in Malaysia. So, in layman terms, for 1 Big Mac in France, I can opt to buy 2 cups of espresso. However, in Malaysia, 1 Big Mac can only buy me 1 cup of espresso.
2. Ride hailing
Ride hailing is my favourite start up of all time ! I actually lived in Kuala Lumpur only on ride hailing (without a personal car) for a year ! Ride sharing is also my default when I travel especially with big luggages, but not in France !
A 5 km Uber trip in Paris (Gare du Nord to Chatelet) costs about 15 EUR ! In comparison, the same distance in KL on Grab car will cost you about RM 25 (5 EUR). In Big Mac currency, it is 3.7 Big Mac in France Vs 2.6 Big Mac in Malaysia ! Of course, this is due to petrol prices in Malaysia are heavily subsidised.
Which is why, local French will always take public transport, i.e. Paris Metro; or walk. The cost for Paris Metro is comparable to KL Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), i.e. 1.9 EUR (0.5 Big Mac) per trip in Paris Vs RM 6.4 (0.7 Big Mac) maximum per trip in KL.
Watching a movie in the cinema is crazy expensive in France ! Ticket retails at about 10 to 12 EUR per person ! Some locals subscribe to monthly passes, which goes around 20 EUR per month. Otherwise, most working adults purchase discounted movie vouchers from their employers, at about 5 to 6 EUR per ticket.
And if you think these exorbitant movie ticket price is your only concern when you are out on a date, wait till you are in line to buy popcorn before your show ! A small popcorn at the cinema counter sells at 5 EUR !
In comparison, back at home, a movie date will cost you RM 45 (10 EUR) inclusive of tickets for 2 AND popcorn and drinks ! In Big Mac currency, it is 6 Big Mac in France Vs 4.7 Big Mac in Malaysia.
3 things cheaper in France
It goes without saying, anything produced in France is going to be cheaper compared to back home. Which is why, everyone wants to go to Paris to buy Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Longchamp etc.
However, there are 3 other things that I appreciate more than designer bags, and it is dirt cheap in France !
Who doesn’t like freshly baked croissant – flaky on the outside; soft warm and buttery on the inside. When in France, I always enjoy my morning walk to the nearby boulangerie (bakery), to buy un croissant ! And it is usually under 1 EUR ! Even the best croissant in France, made by the best artisan baker, will only cost you 1.2 EUR !
In KL, for much less superior quality, you need to pay at least RM 6 ! In Big Mac currency, it is 0.3 Big Mac in France Vs 0.6 Big Mac in Malaysia.
And who goes to France, and NOT eat cheese ! Cheese in France on average costs about 15 to 30 EUR per kilo. In Malaysia, for the imported stuffs, you need to pay RM 170 up to RM 300 per kilo !
In Big Mac currency, the cost of Brie de Meaux is 4 Big Mac per kilo in France Vs 18 Big Mac per kilo in Malaysia !! That is more than 4 times more in Big Mac currency !
Lastly, my favourite part of France – the price of good wine ! A decent bottle in the supermarket costs only 5 EUR. A really good Bordeaux of good vintage will start you at 25 EUR only !
You will not believe how much it costs in Malaysia ! Due to ridiculous high custom duties levied on alcohol, a regular bottle of French red will start you at RM 200 (40 EUR), and this is label you never heard of. For slightly more reputable labels, it will cost you RM 300 to 400, or RM 600 (128 EUR) and above if it is a good vintage !
In Big Mac currency, it is at least 10 times if not more in Malaysia Vs in France !
So, these are my 3 most expensive and 3 cheapest things in France. I know it is not extensive. But for me, I just know that when I am in France, I always make sure to,
- Start everyday with un croissant
- Drink wine and NOT coffee
- For date night, eat cheese and drink more wine, instead of going to the movies
- Walk more and NOT Uber – helps burn all the fat from all the croissant, cheese, and wine
- And instead of stuffing my return luggage with Louis Vuitton and Chanel, fill it with more cheese and wine
Bon voyage et Bon appetit !