All EU nationals have the right to live and find employment in France but will need to apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour) if intending to stay longer than three months. Non-EU nationals must have arranged employment and Visas before they enter the country and need approval from the French Ministry of Labour. Once in France, EU Nationals can obtain residence permits from the local police (gendarmerie) or town hall (mairie), and will need proof of having found a job and somewhere to live.
Occupied far and wide by vineyards, France is a good place if you are looking for outdoor casual work. Fruit pickers are needed throughout the year, not only in vineyards, but picking apples, maize, and other local produce. The French National Employment Service (ANPE) is a good place to start looking for such work, see the website linked below for opportunities. Otherwise, simply turning up to farms and asking around for fruit picking jobs is a good way to find out.
However, although the harvest may be fruitful, the same cannot always be said of the wages. Farmers may pay depending on how much you can collect, the quality and worth of produce, or the time it takes, but don't expect to be earning a great amount from this kind of work. If the type of work is what appeals most, WWOOF is a voluntary organisation that provides work on organic farms and includes board and accommodation for a membership of £10 per year, check their website for more information.
Most European countries cater extensively for those wanting to take jobs as au pairs for up to a year, sometimes longer. Expectations and duties do not vary dramatically across countries but, in France, au pairing (stagiare aide-familiale) consists of working for about five and a half hours each day, and taking a language course during the week.
As au pairs are live-in helpers, you can expect to receive free meals and accommodation from your host family. Most au pairs receive about €244 (approx. £172) per month, and those living near Paris should be provided with a Carte Orange travel pass for use on public transport. There are a number of au pair agencies for work in France, a database for which can be found courtesy of Europa Pages Au Pair Centre.
Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios
Disneyland is open in Paris throughout the peak tourist times and, during this period, employs more than 12,000 workers. The range of jobs available is vast, but examples include working in a restaurant or café, supervising rides, customer services, and even dressing up as a Disney character! Jobs are generally available between March and October, and knowledge of at least conversational French and a third language is necessary, but it could prove a good opportunity to improve linguistic skills.
Employment regulations state that less than 2,000 British must be employed at Disneyland. Those who do find work here can expect to receive around €1,082 (£762.60) for a month's work, consisting of 35 hours per week. Check the employment section of the Disneyland website for a list of jobs available. Walt Disney Studios offers similar job opportunities and wages as Disneyland. A good source for job vacancies on this front is the website of the French National Employment Service (see above).
Campsites and Adventure Holidays
Several British and European camping agencies operate throughout France, and again most jobs can be found during the peak tourist times in the summer. Eurocamp arranges work for couriers on French as well as other European campsites. Fluency in another European language is desirable, as the job involves welcoming and interacting with a range of visiting nationalities. Employees must be over 18, and can anticipate earnings of approximately £95 a week. Similar opportunities are available with Canvas Holidays, Club Mediterranée and Club Mar Estang.
PGL is a company that organises adventure holidays for children and centres can be found across Europe. Working for PGL as a helper or courier can earn you between £60 and £90 per week and board is provided, so you won't have to worry about finding and paying for suitable accommodation during your employment.
Ski resorts offer jobs not only in peak summer months but also during the winter. Jobs in the Alps recruits workers who are EU citizens and have an A-level in French or German. Although British Ski Instructor qualifications are not accepted in France, other opportunities for employment in ski resorts exist, such as work in hotels, restaurants, and even au pairing. You are expected to work 45 hours a week with two days a week free, earning up to £500 for the pleasure of working in the French Alps.
If money is not the main motivation for finding a job in your year abroad, voluntary work is an alternative. Vast opportunities can be found in all places, but particularly in the maintenance of historical and architectural sites. Voluntary work camps (Chantiers de Travail Volontaire) provide many openings for this kind of work, and a leaflet can be obtained from the Centre d'Information et de Documentation Jeunesse (CIDJ).
- Anpe.fr is the site of the French National Employment Service.
- Wwoof.org gives information about voluntary work available on organic farms.
- Europa-pages has a database of au pair agencies in France and the UK.
- The European Agreement on au pair placement.
- DisneyLand Paris often has seasonal vacancies.
- Eurocamp are a major seasonal employer.
- Canvas Holidays also offer work on their camp sites.
- Club Med hire reps and other staff for their resorts.
- PGL offer residential activity courses.
- Jobs-in-the-alps is the best site for obtaining work in the French ski resorts.
- The Centre d'Information et de Documentation Jeunesse has information on voluntary work.