Top tips for finding the right job in France this summer

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 26 Apr, 2019 Updated Fri 26 Apr 2019 16:54 CEST
Top tips for finding the right job in France this summer

If you fancy following in the footsteps of many foreigners before you and spending a summer working in France, here are some top tips (and things to watch out for) when it comes to landing the right seasonal job.


If you like the idea of spending the whole summer in France, but like most of us, need to earn some money while you're doing it, there are some great opportunities for seasonal work. 
From pulling pints, working with kids at a campsite to picking grapes in the great outdoors, there's pretty much something for everyone. 
But whether you're starting a gap year, looking for adventure before heading back to university or on a career break, there are perks and pitfalls to look out for.
Wondering how to go about finding the right job? Read on for our top tips. 
Photo: AFP
The basics
If you're a citizen of an EU country, you are free to work in France for the summer - so for the Brits out there, it might be best to take advantage of this while you can.
If not, you are by law required to get some form of work permit, though many summer visitors work off the books during their permitted 90-day maximum stay, designed for tourism - although this is illegal.
France's minimum hourly wage, known as SMIC, is €10.03 as of 2019 and it applies to you just as much as to any French worker.
If you're getting a temporary contract (CDD), anything over 35 hours a week is overtime, and you can't be forced to work more than 10-12 hours a day, depending on the industry.
Some of your rights as a worker will be governed by the collective agreements (union rights) of your profession, so take the time to get informed, in case of any difficulties with employers.
You might be entitled to universal health coverage, but this can depend on how long your contract is for.
Think about the kind of work you want
Do you want to work with a lot of people refer a job that allows you to meet people? The chance to speak foreign languages? To be in contact with adults or children? Outside or indoors?
Even if you're only looking for a job to tide you over through the summer, it's important to make sure that you'll get something out of it or at least enjoy it. 
Start looking now 
Don't delay, says French youth association, the CIDJ.
For jobs in the hospitality industry, campsites, or museums, you can start sending your applications now. 
But don't despair if you leave it until the last minute, there are often jobs in places which find themselves understaffed at the last minute.  
Talk about your job search
If you live in France, then ask the people around you, such as family members, friends of parents, neighbors, etc., to see if they know of someone who needs some extra help during the summer.
Using your own network can be more efficient than sending random applications.
Watch out for unscrupulous bosses
Two particularly rough-and-ready sources of summer work are the farming and wine sectors.
Picking grapes and other fruit can be a great way to work on your tan and spend your days in the great French outdoors, and what's required of you isn't particularly complicated.
Many agricultural jobs don't come with contracts, however. If you're allergic to paperwork, and you like cash in your hand at the end of the week, this might work for you.
But if you don't have a proper employment contract, you could be leaving yourself open to nasty bosses who have a tendency to pay you less than legally required, and force you to work more hours than they're legally allowed to.
In fact, for this very reason, viticultural employers have in recent years been hiring less and less English-speaking students, and more Eastern European labourers, Mick Briggs, managing director of Season Workers tells The Local.
Try going offshore
Another attractive possibility for those looking for a bit of summer adventure in France is working on luxury yachts, particularly off the Mediterranean Côte d'Azur.
Deck crew, mechanics, chefs and hospitality staff can make particularly good money working on ‘superyachts' off the coast of Cannes, Antibes and St. Tropez, and a summer job is often a gateway into a satisfying and lucrative career in the field.
Photo: AFP
Working on a campsite has for years been a very popular way for expats to spend the summer months in France, but there are a couple of points to watch out for, says Mick Briggs.
There are advantages to working for British-registered companies, such as avoiding the complications and paperwork of getting a contract with a French one, and not having to pay French national insurance.
However, UK camping firms often themselves insist that their workers have a British national insurance number, although for citizens of other EU countries, this isn't as difficult as it might seem.
“I would strongly recommend not just showing up in France and walking into campsites looking for work,” says Briggs.
“The best thing to do is get in touch with a few companies in advance, and sort out a job before you go over there,” he adds.
Pubs and hospitality
Working as a server or chef in a French brasserie might seem like a summer plucked straight from a movie, but be aware that your level of French will need to be particularly high, to remember orders, recite wine lists, and placate occasionally grumpy diners.
If you're French isn't quite up to scratch, it might be worth taking the time to work as a dishwasher while you improve your language skills.
A more likely option might be to find a job at an expat bar, and while this is a popular avenue, it comes with its own pitfalls.
Outside the larger French cities, your best chance of getting a gig behind the bar at an Irish or Australian pub will be at summer resorts popular with expats.
In a city like Paris, however, which isn't as dependent on summer tourism, managers might be reluctant to hire someone they know won't be around beyond September, so be prepared to apply wherever you can, and don't be too fussy about where you end up working.
Where to find offers?
Remember to update your CV and covering letter - they're important even if you're just looking for a summer job. 
There are lots of places to look for temporary jobs in France, including The Local's very own jobs site and if your French is good you can visit the Pôle Emploi website.


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