Twelve reasons why you’ll love working in France

There's plenty to smile about when it comes to French working culture. Here are some of the best bits.

Twelve reasons why you'll love working in France
Photo: Jakob Montrasio

Sure, there are a few things that might annoy the typical foreigner when it comes to working in France, but there is also a lot to be glad about.

Here are 12 reasons why it's great to work in France. 


Sure, every company around the around the world can offer certain perks in the job, but many French firm actually have an official “perks department” where people are employed to fight for the best perks. If you're in a company with a “Comité d’Entreprise” you can get your hands on anything from cheap cinema tickets, holiday discounts and a nice wad of vouchers to spend at Christmas.

Photo: Img.dive/Flickr


Ideally you won’t arrive in France with the intention of being unemployed, but naturally, with lots of short term contracts (CDDs) around, you might spend a period out of work. Which at least financially, shouldn't hit you too hard if you've worked enough to earn unemployment allowance (“le chômage”). This can be the equivalent of a hefty chunk of your most recent salary, even up to around two thirds.

Photo: AFP


No one likes to commute to work, and both the Paris Metro and the RER, for example, have a reputation for being mobile cattle pens at rush hour. However, that’s no different to most big cities and more importantly, the big crush doesn’t feel quite so unpleasant if you're getting half your transport costs paid for you, as is the case for most workers in the capital. And even if your company doesn’t cover it, your monthly pass is a damn sight cheaper than it is in London, for example.

Photo: Hang in there/Flickr


These two Hs are synonymous with France. If you're lucky enough to get a job here at a decent-sized firm, then they will normally cover your health insurance through a “Mutuelle”. They may take a few pennies off your pay slip for doing so, but it’s still a good deal and the standard of care you have access to is worth it. Then there are the holidays. No you won't be disciplined for taking most of August off.

Photo: Hang in there/Flickr


No one wants to see the French leave France, but recent stats show that more and more young French people are heading abroad to find work. This naturally leaves vacancies back home for those with qualifications, and more importantly English Mother Tongue. French lawyer Jean Taquet says he has seen the careers of Anglo clients take off in France simply because they are native English speakers. Let it be known: You are in demand.

One of our readers put it like this: “Thank you France.That fact that you're totally inept at English has provided me with a prosperous career which has supported my family, financed my house, paid for my car and funded my healthy alcohol intake for years.”


Ok it’s a bit of a myth that everyone works no more than 35 hours a week here. But although it’s not always applied, the law is still in place. In certain companies, it is adhered to or they make up for the fact you may work a 40-hour working week, by giving you more days off (RTT days). In terms of hours, working in France is also great for those who enjoy a lie-in in the morning. You can go for run, a swim and a massage before bouncing into work at 10am and still be in before your boss.

Photo: Equality Fortune/Flickr

The French tend to get most things right about food (except their aversion to having crackers with cheese) and it's the same when it comes to lunch. In the UK and the US, lunch often involves running to get a take-away sandwich and a packet of crisps and eating it using one hand while the other hand sends those emails you've been meaning to send for ages. In France restaurants survive on the lunch trade. And they offer three course meals for a decent price depending on where you are.
French cuisine is great, we all know that, but it's not just limited to swanky bistros in Paris. Anglos, so used to scoffing down a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a Mars Bar at their desks, are often bewildered at the quality of the grub on offer at staff canteens in French companies. And because they're subsidized, a decent three-course meal can set you back only €5. And if you don't have a cafeteria, you should be getting restaurant vouchers than can be worth €10 a day.
Photo: Jakob Montrasio

Perhaps mentioning in a job interview that one of the reasons why you came here was because it’s hard to get fired in France, is not the best idea. But you wouldn't be daft for thinking it. It may be a little exaggerated at times in the Anglo media, but it is certainly harder to fire people in France. However, it does lead to other issues, like making it very hard to actually get a permanent contract, French lawyer Jean Taquet says. But once you have one, it makes life easier.

Photo: AFP


While some will complain about their French workers insisting on performing la bise greeting kiss every morning with all their colleagues, generally most people welcome the fact that French office environments are extremely polite. There is a strong culture of saying at least bonjour to everyone in the morning and bonne soiree in the evening. While the small talk may not go beyond that, at least there's no pressure to try.


Normally your French boss has to give you four days off when you get married. But you are also guaranteed a day off when you and your partner join in civil union (PACS). And when that son or daughter, whose birth brought you 11 days off, gets hitched, you are entitled to a day off to attend the wedding.  


Your employer may have to pay you the so-called 13th month bonus, which, as its name suggests, is simply an extra month’s pay, that most people use to pay their taxes. Under French collective bargaining agreements there are certain sectors, like law firm staffers who aren’t lawyers, who are entitled to the 13th month. However, it is not required of all employers. But if you get it, it's amazing.

Photo: images of money

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