‘World’s best job’ goes to French farmer’s daughter

There’s been plenty in the international news in recent months about how young French people are struggling to find jobs, so let's commend our French Face of the Week, Elisa Detrez, who has just landed the 'Best Job in the World'.

'World's best job' goes to French farmer's daughter
Elisa Detrez, hidden behind a snorkel. Photo Greg Wood/AFP

Who is Elisa Detrez?

She is a 28-year-old bundle of energy from Paris with a master’s degree in tourism from the Sorbonne University, whose face is all over the French news this week.

And why has a 28-year-old French masters graduate become such hot news?

Well, Detrez has only just gone and beaten 330,000 candidates from 200 different countries across the globe, to land one of the ‘six best jobs in the world’.

Tell me more.

Detrez was named this week as one of the six winners of Tourism Australia’s 'Best Jobs in the World' contest on Friday.

She came through probably the stiffest application and interview process that has ever been held to land the role as a park ranger in the Sunshine State of Queensland in north east Australia.

She can be doubly proud of herself, as not only is she the only French winner, but she is also the only woman to be picked out of the six winners.

Detrez will swap Paris for the outback later this year and will pick up a $100,000 salary package for the six-month post.

How did she manage to land the job?

A mixture of the right background, hard work, a little bit of luck, a lot of enthusiasm and running down the famous Champs Elysée avenue in Paris in a swim suit.

First of all, her bid to become a park ranger was helped by the fact that Detrez grew up on a farm in the picturesque Jura region of France.

“I spent 18 years living with cows and now I'm ready for six months with kangaroos,” she says in an endearing French accent in her stand-out promotional video, which no doubt helped to seduce the Australian judges. (see video below)

With 330,000 applicants for  the job, the odds were against Detrez but she pulled out all the stops to make sure she was noticed.

To celebrate getting 1,000 likes on her Facebook page she ran down the Champs Elysée in a swim suit, a stunt that helped her to eventually garner over 3,000 thumbs up on the social networking site.

She also overcame the potential handicap of not having English as a native language by having lunch with Anglo friends as often as possible. And she took the step of visiting Beauval zoo near Lyon to swat up on her knowledge of koala bears.

Detrez is clearly not afraid to take a risk. Despite having just found job in Paris in the tourist industry after months of unemployment, she gave it all up to concentrate on trying to win the big prize.

How did she react to the news?

Well as is the norm these days she took to Facebook.

“My new life begins now! My agenda for the next six months: explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, national parks, red earth and more. I love it!!!!,” she declared, no doubt sparking jealous outbursts from the defeated 329, 994 candidates as well as most of the world’s population.

“An opportunity like that will only come around once in my lifetime,” she acknowledged.

Detrez did have the good grace to thank her boyfriend, who helped her with the key promotional video for being  “300%” behind her as well as her family who she described as “angels”.

What will she have to do to earn her money?

Well not much by the sound of things, but that’s probably why it’s the best job in the world.

She will have to monitor and protect animals in the parks and on the beaches of Queensland and is under orders to document her experience through photographs and online articles, which will be used for “promotional purposes”.

After that she'll either return to the queue at a job centre in Paris or, as is more likely, land some other dream job down under.

The key promotional video that helped Detrez land her dream job.

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How to get a summer job in France

As the summer holidays approach in France, many employers are looking for seasonal workers - so if you're looking for a summer job, here's how to go about it.

How to get a summer job in France

There are thousands of employment offers in France – a simple internet search for jobs d’été came up with numerous jobs boards offering work in France, while the government-backed Centre d’Information et de Documentation pour la Jeunesse (CIDJ) offers advice and information on all aspects of life for young people in France, including finding seasonal work and summer placements.

Sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism are always recruiting in the summer, seeking fruit-pickers, holiday camp workers and serving/hotel staff.

But what are the rules for people seeking summer jobs?

READ ALSO Vendange: What you really sign up for when you agree to help with the French wine harvest


Children from the age of 16 (under certain circumstances, the age limit drops to 14) who are legally resident in France can work as long as they have written authorisation from their parents or legal guardians. A model authorisation letter is available here

Those under the age of 18 cannot undertake certain jobs for health and safety reasons.

In the following circumstances, children as young as 14 or 15 can work during school holidays.

  • The holidays must last at least 14 days;
  • The child must work no more than half the days of the holiday – so, if a vacation period is two weeks, they can work for no more than one of those weeks;
  • The child is given ‘light duties’ that offer no risk to their safety, health, or development;
  • From the age of 15 and if the child has completed their troisieme education, a minor can register for an apprenticeship. 


Salary is usually paid monthly and will have a payslip. For those aged 18 and over, pay will be at least equal to the minimum wage.

 For those aged 14 to 17, who have less than six months’ professional experience, the minimum allowed rate is 80 percent of the minimum wage. For those aged 17 to 18, the rate rises to a minimum of 90 percent of France’s minimum wage.

  • The minimum wage in France is currently €10.85 gross per hour (€1,645.58 gross per month based on a 35-hour week);
  • the employment contract is fixed-term and can take different forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc);
  • Seasonal employees are subject to the same obligations as the other employees of the company and have access to the same benefits (canteens, breaks, etc.).

Under 18s have certain additional protections:

  • between the ages of 14 and 16, during school holidays, employees on any contract cannot work more than 35 hours per week nor more than 7 hours per day;
  • They cannot work at night;
  • Those aged 14 to under 16 working during their school holidays can only be assigned to work which is not likely to harm their safety, their health or development.

Right to work in France

If you’re a French citizen or hold permanent residency in France then you have the right to work, but for foreigners there are extra restrictions.

Anyone who holds the passport of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, is free to work in France or to travel to France seeking work without needing a visa or work permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France – even if it’s only for a short period or for casual work such as grape-picking. Depending on your country of origin you may need a visa – everything you need to know about that is here.

In addition to the visa, you may also need a work permit, which is the responsibility of the employer.  To employ anyone in France for less than 90 days, an employer must get a temporary work permit – before the prospective employee applies for a short stay visa. This permit is then sent to the embassy at which the employee is applying for a visa.

If you come from countries including the UK, USA and Canada you can spend up to 90 days in France without a visa – but you may still need a work (convention d’accueil) if you want to work while you are here.

READ ALSO Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in France

Certain countries have specific ‘seasonal worker’ visas on offer, for certain sectors which allows – for example – Canadians to come to France and work the ski season. 

Cash-in-hand jobs

Certain sectors which have a lot of casual workers – for example seasonal fruit-picking – do have cash-in-hand jobs, known in France as marché noir (black market) or simply travail au black (working on the black, or working illegally). 

This is of course illegal and working this way carries risks – as well as the possibility of losing your job if labour inspectors turn up you are also in a vulnerable position. If your employer suddenly decides not to pay you, or make unexpected deductions from your wages, there is very little you can do about it since you won’t have any kind of work contract.