Move to France Collection

The jobs in France where you don’t really need to speak French

The jobs in France where you don't really need to speak French
Learn French, but be aware that you don't always need it to get a job in France. Photo: AFP
If you are looking to find work in France but don't yet speak the lingo, never fear, there are plenty of jobs you can do while you're learning.
Is having the ability to speak French really necessary to work in France?
While it's always recommended to learn the language it is possible to earn a living, knowing little more than “Bonjour” and “Merci” as plenty of foreigners have done over the years.
Here are some examples of great jobs in France where French is rarely a requirement (though clearly an advantage).

(Photo: Shutterstock)
This is one of the big three jobs in France that doesn't necessarily require French skills – especially when the children are very young. Plus, it's a great way to learn the language, as those French kids will have no problem letting you know when you've mixed up le and la. And if you absolutely don't speak a word of French then don't worry – many families are screaming for English-speaking nannies in the hopes that a head-start in the English language will help their kids in the future. 
Here are a couple of good places to get started. and
And don't miss these pros and cons of being an au pair in France to get an inside look.
Estate Agent

(Photo: Shutterstock)
With so many bargain properties in France there's never a bad time to join the real estate game. 
The fact English speakers continue to buy property in France means there's no shortage of Anglo agencies ready to lend a hand. One of the biggest estate agents in France is British owned Leggett Immobilier. To find out more about working for them, you can visit their website by clicking here.
Freelance Writing/Editing/Translating

(Photo: Shutterstock)
Looking for a job where you don't even have to leave your bedroom? Working as a freelance writer/translator/editor could just be for you, then. France has a simple to use auto-entrepreneur system for the self-employed, and there is a wealth of companies eager to make their content understandable for the rest of the world.
Some are just after native speakers – you don't even need experience writing before. While you might need to be able to read French for some positions, some jobs will just have you correcting English texts, already written by French people. 

(Photo: Shutterstock)
Often considered the golden ticket of a non-French speaking job, you'll likely find this job to be one of the easiest to get in France without speaking the language. 
All you have to do is learn the names of a few French drinks, like demi, Diablo Menthe, Diablo Grenadine, etc and you'll be able to get on and earn some money. Most French young people who like to frequent pubs do so because it gives them a chance to speak in English.
So make the most of it. And there's more reasons other than just the fact you don't need to speak French to work in a bar in France. See the link below.
English teacher

(Photo: Shutterstock)
Statistically, if you meet an non-French speaking expat in France who isn't a bartender or nanny, then they're almost certainly an English teacher. This can range from teaching at one of the universities to giving private lessons. But remember, life as a prof d'anglais isn't easy, with many teachers struggling to make ends meet. 
Here are some golden rules for working as an English teacher, with everything from whether or not to get a TEFL qualification to how to choose the right school.
Tour guide
(A tour guide in the Louvre museum, Paris. Photo: Wee Viraporn/Flickr)
Are you a good speaker with a good memory and a penchant for facts? Then you sound like the ideal tour guide. France is the most visited tourist destination on earth – and those non-French-speaking tourists often need to a good guide. This is the gap you could fill. While many work as certified guides, there's also the option of relying on your impressive knowledge to land yourself a job. Speaking an extra language besides English can be a big advantage too. But be warned, taking 20 people around the Notre Dame Cathedral is no easy task.
Ski instructor

(Working as a ski instructor. Photo: Colleen Proppe/Flickr)
The biggest skill set here isn't knowing how to navigate a language – it's how to navigate the slopes. Yes, ski instructor is one of the most popular seasonal jobs for foreigners, especially the younger adventure-seeking kind. For those who just want a stopgap job in the slopes, there are usually plenty of job vacancies working in the chalets, or even as a handyman or driver. But be warned, the competition is often fierce. Get your search started here.
A version of this article was published in 2016
Jobs in France

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