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Summer Jobs in France - Destinations Guide

Map Of France

Citizens of the EU are entitled to work in France automatically but you still have to get a carte de sejour if you are there for longer than 3 months and working for a French Employer. (Usually involves a very boring day down at the nearest prefecture (county hall). France's minimum wage is called (and pronounced as) the SMIC. Its about £7 an hour officially but working unnoficially (strangely referred to as 'le black' by the French) is rife, especially in tourist areas and on farms in the picking seasons. The max weekly hours limit is a similar story and can often only seem to apply to the locals. A good way to avoid being exploited is to sort out some work before you get to France with a French or British company. Club Med and Disneyland Paris are large reputable French employers and are happy to employ UK citizens in France.

Campsite Jobs in France

Hundreds of British, German and Dutch tour operators employ people of all ages to work in France. Its not just for students, in fact quite often people who are a little older than the usual 18 - 25 age bracket are preffered for their life experience and maturity (in theory!). Even people at retirement age can find great jobs in France in the camping and tourism industries. Canvas Holidays employ many retired couples and career breakers to work on French campsites in the summer.

Grape Picking and Agricultural Jobs

The picking seasons afford lots of seasonal work at great 'filler' times of the year. For example, you might be working a summer season that finishes in September, the ski jobs really dont kick off until November so that leaves you a month or two in Slough or Leyland. But it doesn't have to be like that. You could travel down to Languedoc or Bordeaux to help with grapepicking. Or do a bit on the olive harvest in Provence, which lasts until about November. These places in the south of France also have a longer tourist season than most other places so bar work and casual jobs can still be found this late on. There are also lots of ways to stay in France through the winter without being a ski rep or chalet host etc.. Many summer companies operating in France need staff for their support and warehousing operations from September through to March.

Living and working on a French farm is not all red wine and olives though. If you are remotely sqeamish or have strong ideas on the treatment of animals be prepared for a shock. Many rural communities in France hold the right to hunt and be horrible to dogs up there with the freedom of speech. Day to day jobs will obviously vary with type of farm but the level of integration you get with this kind of work will be something you will remember forever. What will be consistent is hard work, long hours and a sometimes over exposure to French.

Extending your Seasonal Work

All of the large camping companies employ warehouse assistants and drivers, contractors (good job if you have a decent language) and maintenance teams (good job if you don't like talking to people). There are also possibilities for work with the companies that sub contract to the camping industry. BRADS Blanchisserie and the big Siblu (used to be Haven Europe) holiday parks (used to be called campsites) employ people to labour through the winter months all over France. European Services, or ESL (European Services Ltd), employ installers and maintenance crews all year round to work on the technical side of the camping operation.

Nantes, Montpellier, Beziers and Avignon are big centres for this kind of work. Large cities like these also afford many bar jobs thanks to the large student populations. There is always the essential Irish, British and Aussie bar ready to employ English speaking staff. This is a really good way to learn French and meet a lot of people (and often plenty of free pints). Even the French owned UK / Irish themed pubs employ foreigners but you will need to be able to speak a higher level of French. We are working on a list of pubs and bars for you to take with you (keep checking back).

It might sound a bit strange but you can go and work on ski chalets in the French Alps during the summer. If you have a practical trade and a clean driving licence you could be one of the many people working on revamping and building new ski season accommodation during the snow free months. The larger tour operators and lots of small chalet owners employ UK and Irish tradespeople for this purpose.

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