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The jobs you can do if you live in deepest rural France

Moving to France involves all sorts of difficult challenges but for many by far the most pressing is finding paid work...and that can be tricky, especially in rural areas. Here are some ideas for jobs in France that you can do outside of the major cities.

The jobs you can do if you live in deepest rural France
Photo: AFP
When you arrive in France it often feels like your chances of finding work are limited, especially if you haven't spoken a word of French since your last lesson at school.
And while unemployment might be falling, finding a job in France, especially as a foreigner who has chosen to live in a rural area, can still be tough going. 
Here's a list of the kinds of work you can find in areas outside major cities in France.

Relocation expert

As ever, France is a hotspot destination for many people from abroad, especially in times of political turmoil in the UK and the US. But we all know it's no walk in the park to just up sticks and move to France. So why not work as a relocation expert (or handler, as they're often called too)?

Given that you have been through the ups and downs of moving to France, your experience could be invaluable to others and you could even get paid for it. Companies are often on the look-out for relocation consultants and managers and you could also set out on your own to help others avoid making the same mistakes as you.

The job could involve anything from giving simple advice to showing potential new arrivals around a certain area and even helping them buy a house or find the right builder to renovate it.

Remember that many people are willing to pay for things to go smoothly, especially if they don't have the language skills and you do.

Keep an eye out for jobs in this area or set up your own website and sell your knowledge and experience. For an example of an expat successfully established as a relocation consultant in France you can CLICK HERE.

French red tape expert

Again this is a case of making the use of your unique knowledge of how things work in France. If you have lived here for a few years you will probably know a fair amount about where the red tape is and how to cut through it, whereas others who are new in the country will be lost in a sea of bureaucracy and often pay someone to help them navigate it.

You would need to swot up on all the rules and regulations and the small print on all the tax laws, but with French administration not looking like it will get any simpler in the coming years, it would be a sound long term career investment. One person who made this jump is Andy Denison, who spent years working in bars in Paris before setting up his own consultancy service.

Needless to say your level of French must be excellent as well as your knowledge and expertise of the bureaucracy.

Estate Agent

France remains one of the most attractive places for Brits and Americans to move to with many wanting to sell up and buy their perfect new home in France. Hence the fact that Anglo-run estate agents exist right across the country from the Dordogne to Brittany and from the Var to Paris.

If you are good sales person but perhaps your French isn't quite up to scratch then this could be an option for you. One of the biggest estate agents in France is British-owned Leggett Immobilier, where they are always looking for new staff. To find out more about working for them, you can visit their website by clicking here.


Teach English
It might seem obvious but teaching English — a dream job for some and a great way of starting out in France for others — is something many Anglophones who come to France will end up doing it at some point.
English teaching is a huge industry in France, with thousands of foreign nationals plying their trade in language schools across the country.
To TEFL or not to TEFL is the question facing everyone who wants to teach English abroad. A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification will undoubtedly open more doors, especially in France, but it's certainly not the be-all and end-all of becoming an English teacher. 
In fact, many agencies value experience over teaching qualifications.  
Sending a CV is still the best way of getting a job at a language school. The best time to send them off is June and July, before the new term starts. This is when a lot of teachers move on and schools are desperately hunting for new recruits.
Getting your CV just right is tricky, and even if you're writing it in English, French companies or schools might expect you to follow the French rules of CV writing
And there's always using your native language skills to teach private classes. Just make sure you're not travelling for an hour to get there, and make sure you have a cancellation policy that means you get paid even if your client calls off a lesson at the last minute.
Top tips for teaching English in France
Photo: G0h4r/ Wikimedia
Teach something else
And you aren't limited to giving English lessons.  
If you're qualified to teach something else but your language skills aren't quite up to scratch, look for other English speakers in the area and there may even be some French people who will see it as an interesting way of improving their English and learning a new skill at the same time. 
Clare Hill, a 44-year-old Brit living in the village of Beuxes in the Vienne department in south west France teaches Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation and has set herself up as a micro-entrepreneur, which allows her to give lessons and comply with French law. 
“Setting up as a micro-entrepreneur was surprisingly uncomplicated,” Hill tells The Local. “I think you hear a lot of scare stories but the online application was very simple.”
Hill, who was prepared for a more complicated process, had prepared to seek outside help but said that in the end she didn't need it. 
“I applied in early February and asked for the business start date to be mid-February and my social security number arrived a month later,” she says. 
Her husband, who gives private French lessons to English speakers, went through the same process and found it just as simple. 

As a micro-enterprise, you are just subject to personal income tax. A micro-entrepreneur is excused from professionally declaring their profits but must declare the annual amount of gross sales through the annual revenue declaration form.
This scheme, which allows the self-employed the chance to make a living, has been a saving grace for self-employed foreign nationals since it was introduced back in 2009 under the name “auto-entrepreneur” scheme, which some people still use. 

The jobs you can do in France (if you don't want to teach English)

Start your own online shop
Many expats recommend turning any skills you have into an online business.
So for any talented artists, dress makers and others in similar lines of work moving to France, setting up an Etsy shop and/or your own site and selling the products you make online could be the perfect solution to keeping the bank balance in the black. 
And if you do follow this path, it takes the stress and hassle out of setting up a physical shop although many warn that it's important to remember to be based near a reliable post office. 
Also, remember that any form of business where you make money (even if it's on the internet) has to be registered. 
When looking to set up a business as a sole-trader, the best two options are to apply as a micro-enterprise (see above). 
It's worth noting that the micro-enterprise status has a turnover limit of €33,000, so if you think your business will take you over this threshold, you'll need to incorporate a business in France. 
Or alternatively you can set up as an SAS, which stands for Société par actions simplifiée.
This is the most simplified form of a company in France where shareholders (at least two) control the company – subject to corporate tax. It's easier to run and manage than SA, but cannot be publicly listed. 
Here's more information about setting up your own business in France
If you were a plumber, driver, gardener or painter and decorator back home, it's likely you'll be able to pick up some odd jobs once you get to know people in your new community. 
And many foreigners living in rural parts of France say they make a decent living out of finding work through their neighbours. 
But remember, it's best to avoid the temptation to avoid doing this cash in hand and instead register as an micro-entrepreneur so that everything is done above board. 
It might be a bit more of a hassle to start with but you don't want to get on the wrong side of the French tax man from the word go. 
Rural France great for peace, not for mobile phone coverage
Freelance writing and translating
For some, working as a freelancer in France is their preferred career choice. There are no rigid 9 to 5 hours, no everyday commute on the Metro, no being told what to do by a boss and a chance to spend more time with the kids.
But for others it's often the only way to start out in France with the chances of securing a permanent job (CDI) often limited, especially for someone whose French language ability is not quite up to scratch.
Many freelancers start out in France on the country's micro-entrepreneur scheme and later join a worker's cooperative, known in France as a SCOP (Société Cooperative et Participative) which help the self-employed start up their own businesses.
These cooperatives will often take a cut of your earnings but for that they'll do all your accounting and go after clients who don't pay.
They'll also send payslips and issue a permanent contract which can help when it comes to things like finding a flat. To find the best SCOP for you, it's best to ask around and do your research first. 
And remember, if you choose to go down the route of freelancing in France, like looking for any work, persistence is key. 
You'll have to send out dozens of emails and make dozens of phone calls and in France it's best to keep your tone and manner as formal and polite as possible.
It's also imperative to network like crazy to give you the best chance of getting your name out to potential clients.
Sending CVs and making phone calls is one thing but it's also important to network and social networking can also be a great way of finding new work.
For jobs opportunities in France, check out The Local France's jobs page. 

FIND A JOB: Browse thousands of English-language vacancies in France 

Photo: AFP


Member comments

  1. Microentreprise turnover limit is 70k€ as from 1st Jan 2018 (for consultancy services type of work).
    Higher for buying/reselling goods.

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For members


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.