I do not think this is true. I have been a member of a French club for about eight years. The current membership fee is 69 Euros. Of thatWilliam Metcalfe wrote:France has mandatory membership at a cost of 100 euros
26 Euros goes to the French Chess Federation
18 Euros goes to Burgundy
25 Euros goes to The club
You can see the details at http://www.esbarres-bonnencontre-echecs.new.fr/ - if you click on tarifs on the left
If you compare it with the price of English chess it is probably cheaper because the club pays travel expenses for all it players for away matches. It pays petrol costs and autoroute toll fees from Esbarres (the village it plays in) to the wherever the match is. These can be quite high as clubs are often are often over 100miles apart.
Esbarres chess club as is normal in France get a large (to English eyes) grant from the local authority and many clubs have their own premises which seem to be paid for by the local authority.