Putting extra money in your pocket

It is possible to find work in France but you may have to jump through a few hoops to get what you want. Then again, hoops are there to be jumped through!


If you do your homework, think about what you really want to do, what you are good at and most importantly, what is feasible, you should be able to find something. Plenty of expats either earn a living in France or work part-time to subsidise their income, and there is no reason why you can’t do it too.

To set up your own business, you will have to be prepared for a lot of paperwork, but your local Mairie should be able to help you with that.

Next, you will really need to learn some French! There are ways of earning a living with little command of the French language, but getting yourself to a reasonable speaking standard will be extremely handy and may be crucial to finding the sort of work that you are looking for. For example, helping out in an estate agency or shop may be a possibility and being English may even be an advantage if you are in a tourist area, but you will still need some French.

You may be thinking of trying to find a similar job to the one you did in the UK, but bear in mind that you will likely still have to qualify to work in France. The French do not accept English teaching qualifications, for example, to teach in French State schools and the same applies to other careers such as architects, dentists and so on.

Skilled craftsmen such as builders, stone masons, plumbers and decorators can often find work in rural France. Remember that most British people buy properties which need some sort of renovation, so there will always be work if you have such skills. British expats often like to deal with their fellow English speakers, and this should be encouraging as there is a huge market of expats all over France.

Running your own business such as a chambres d’hotes or a gite is a choice many Brits have made. If your house is large and you have some spare bedrooms, this can be an excellent way of making some money. To set up a chambres d’hotes, you must register with the local Mairie, providing as much information as possible - including the number of rooms, guests and operational periods. Please note: since August 2007, all chambres d’hotes are limited to having a maximum of five bedrooms and 15 people staying at one time.

The Mairie will then pass this information onto the local prefecture who will process it and then, once approved, will add the chambres d’hotes to its list in the commune. Additionally, the Mairie should also be able to provide advice on standard charges and how one can advertise locally.

A gite is a self-catering holiday home, and must be separate from your own home. Chambres d’hotes are popular in France and require a reasonable level of commitment (providing breakfast, keeping the house clean and tidy with fresh linen and towels), but once this is done, it can be a great way of using your property to its full potential as well as earning you an income.

Teaching English as a foreign language or translating are other possibilities as an expat. There are plenty of internationally recognised courses such as TEFL and CELTA.

Another idea is to register with Agence Nationale Pour Emploi (ANPE) or ‘Pole Emploi’ as it is now called, which is a nationwide resource for jobs of all types.

If you are simply after a few extra Euros in your pocket, think about offering your services locally, for perhaps helping children with learning English, household services such as cleaning or gardening, or baby or dog sitting. You are free to advertise in local shops, bars and at your Mairie, and this type of work is something that you will be able to fit around your lifestyle as you wish, meaning the number of hours you work is only dictated by you.

Finally, when you get to France, make use of all the contacts you will gradually make. There is nothing to stop you putting an advertisement in your local paper offering your services. Take advice from anyone you know who has sought and found work in France before you, and remember to embrace the French way – you are then far more likely to find exactly what you are looking for.

Whichever method you choose for earning that much-needed cash, make sure that when the time comes to transfer money from your UK account to France (or vice versa) in order to pay for your various bills and commitments, you employ the services of a currency expert like Smart Currency Exchange. Smart Currency offers exchange rates that are typically up to 4% better than those offered by your bank, and you don’t need us to tell you that this can equate to quite a substantial saving each and every time you make your regular payment. To read more about how they can help you secure rates and guide you through the process, download their free report here http://www.smartcurrencyexchange.com/freereport1.aspx.

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