Maybe it's the food or the wine or the people, but France has a certain je ne sais quoi. There's an allure that, while hard to pinpoint, is definitely there. If the site of the French flag or a cafe that could be a snapshot of Paris have you sighing, then follow your heart and head to France. Sure it's the most visited country in the world, but you won't be just another tourist.

As an au pair in France, you will not just collect beautiful Instagram picture (though you'll definitely get those too), you'll also get to live, breathe and enjoy French culture every single day. By the end of your trip, France will be not just a stamp in your passport but a second home!

Choosing a Host Family

Length of Program

Programs tend to have a duration of between 6 months and 1 year.


For programs that are a combination of work and language study, au pairs are responsible for the children for between 15 and 20 hours a week and attend courses about 20 hours a week. Certain programs limit the au pair's responsibilities to teaching the children, with training sessions provided and specify the au pair's duties do not include housework. Other programs specify about 30 hours per week, during which the au pair will care for the family's children. In some cases light housework is part of the agreement so be sure to be very clear on your scope of duties as an au pair before your arrival. Typically au pairs have weekends off, though with some agencies, au pairs get 1.5 days off instead of 2 full days.


The stipend paid to au pairs varies, but it is most commonly between 280 and 500 euros per month.

Planning Your Trip

When and Where to Start Looking

Most families start their au pair search 1-4 months before the desired start date. Sites like Au Pair World allow au pairs to connect with families directly, through standard search features plus more advanced features like profiles and an internal messaging system. Au pairs can also opt to participate in structured programs run by agencies. Some agencies, for example Freepackers offer combination work-study programs, where the nannies take French classes in the morning and care for children in the afternoon.

Application Process

Most agencies have a multi-tiered recruitment process. First you have to meet the general requirements such as age (some have even more specific age requirements than the general age for a visa application,like ages 18-26), language (most require you speak English or in some cases German fluently and some though not all require competency in French), previous childcare experience, education (most require a secondary degree diploma) and lack of criminal record. Au pairs then go through an application process, where facets include phone and/or video calls, requests for references, some form of background check, document submission (such as copies of a diploma, driver's license, passport, etc.), and in some cases in-person meetings. Then once thoroughly screened, applicants are matched up with host families.

Visa Requirements

If you are a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country (EU countries plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland), then you are able to work in France sans restrictions. If you are not an EEA national, then you must apply for work permit. To apply for work permit you must meet the following criteria: you must be 18-30 years old at the time you apply; you must have a valid passport, plus either a return ticket or proof that you possess sufficient funds to purchase one; you must not have participated in the work program before; you must show proof that you have sufficient funds available to cover all of the expenses for the duration of your trip. For full details, visit the official French Immigration and Integration Office Site.

Contributed by Anis Salvesen

Au Pair Jobs in France

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General Gap Year Scholarships


InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship

$2,500 - $10,000

The InterExchange Foundation Christianson Fellowship awards up to $10,000 to young Americans who are passionate about helping communities abroad thrive and are eager to learn about the local culture. Fellows identify a project or an organization working on an issue they care about, and with the support of the Christianson Fellowship, contribute their skills and passion to that endeavor for at least six months on-location abroad. This intercultural experience is a meaningful way to help others, improve skills, and gain insight about another culture.

EF Gap Year Awards


EF Gap Year has awards of up to $5,000 for students in their gap year and semester-long programs. Various scholarships are available for leadership, blogging, videography, and photography. Over $50,000 of funding is available every year.

GoEco Volunteer Scholarships

$1,000 - $3,000

To assist prospective volunteers in taking part in one of their programs, GoEco, an eco-tourism company, awards one flight voucher of $1,000 and waived fees for a two-week program, plus travel insurance to successful beneficiaries of their scholarships. To apply, you must be currently enrolled at an educational institution to be eligible for the award.

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