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A Guide to Working Abroad in France

France is one of the most desirable places in the world to work abroad as an expat. One of the world’s wealthiest countries with a very high standard of living, France has always been a centrally influential cultural, economic, and political force in European affairs. Not to mention it is one of the most scenically beautiful nations in the world, with sprawling hills and vineyards spanning from the magnificent cliffs of Normandy in the West to the towering Alps in the East. Working in France can truly be the experience of a lifetime whatever your field of interest.


Paris is the obvious place to start when seeking a job in France. One of the most iconic cities on the planet, the City of Love is an ideal place to find work in France, however long your stay and whatever your area of employment. Today Paris is one of the most globally connected cities on the planet and one of the most influential in terms of film, fashion, literature, and artistic excellence. More than that, Paris is a bustling metropolitan area of over 12 million inhabitants from all over the world, a melting pot of races, culture, and opportunity which is sure to inspire wonder any international worker.

Other popular cities for jobs abroad in France include Marseilles, Lyon, and Toulouse, which offer expats a more authentically French experience working abroad, as they are not so iconically global. Lyon is known as the Capital of Lights because of the annual Fête des Lumières festival which it hosts, Marseilles is France’s largest commercial port city sitting pristinely on the Mediterranean coast, and Toulouse is a beautiful brick city, which is one of the primary French hubs of education. There are many other cities in France well worth seeking employment in, so do not limit yourself even to those listed above.

It is also possible to find work in France away from the cities, if you want a more quiet place to settle into life abroad. Living in the rural areas of France and working in a small town or in the countryside can be a sublime experience for expats. France is a large and diverse country, so do your research carefully when determining what kind of environment you want to work and live in.

Jobs in France

The types of jobs in France available to foreign workers depend primarily on whether you plan to live in France temporarily or you plan on settling in and pursuing a full time career. For example, there are many opportunities to work in France as a teacher, au pair, or on a vineyard, but these openings tend to be temporary and rarely last more than one year (which is still viable to be the best year of your life).

If you truly wish to settle down in France and find permanent employment then the situation becomes trickier, because you will have to go through the process of attaining a work and residential visa. This is easier for European nationals than for workers from other countries because of European labor laws. However, France does have many international organizations and multinational corporations through which it is possible to pursue steady employment. If this is the route you wish to take then start building up your resume and perfecting your language skills, and you’ll be well on your way to obtaining a job in France!

French is the language of business across the country and for most jobs abroad in France you will be expected to have at least basic competency in French. There are some temporary jobs in France which do not require you to be fluent in French, but the locals will be much more welcoming if you are able to speak the language. Many French people do speak English, but it is well worth the effort to learn the language so that you can fully experience French culture.

Salary & Affordability

France has one of the highest performing economies in the world and as such is a fairly expensive place to live and work abroad. General costs of living in big cities, such as Paris, will be significantly higher than in the countryside, so keep this in mind when determining where to pursue a job opportunities in France. Foreign workers are often compensated via other means, such as room and board, if working in France temporarily, while full time salaries vary heavily between fields of employment.

Accommodation & Visas

What type of accommodation you will have available in France depends on the type of employment you are seeking. Temporary workers are often offered the opportunity to live with a local host family if they are, say, au pairing or working as an English tutor.

However, most expats in France end up finding themselves their own apartment or flat to live in to provide a more independent lifestyle. It will be much cheaper to start by renting out a room, then perhaps moving into your own place once you have saved up the money to do so. Obviously it will be more affordable living away from the city center in the more suburban areas as well.

If you are from the European Union then you are not required to obtain a work visa to pursue jobs in France. International workers from other countries, on the other hand, face a slightly more difficult situation - work visas have to be endorsed and organized by your host employer, so you will need to find work in France before actually moving to the country.

Benefits & Challenges

Finding work abroad in France is an extremely romantic notion to most, but one well worth pursuing if you are willing to commit to learning the language and immersing yourself fully in this wonderful culture. Whether downtown in the big city or in a small town in the rolling hills of the countryside, France has a certain aura about it which breathes beauty and cultural refinement. 

If you are seriously considering working abroad, then there are few places better than France to begin your journey.

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A Guide To
Working Abroad in France


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