If you’re an adventurous individual seeking to immerse yourself in French culture and gain invaluable experience abroad, becoming an au pair in France might be the perfect opportunity for you. As an au pair, you’ll have the chance to live with a French host family, care for their children, and experience the daily life of a local family. In this article, we will explore the process of becoming an au pair in France, the administrative requirements, as well as the pros and cons of this unique cultural exchange experience.

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The Process Of Becoming An Au Pair in France

Research & Preparation

  • When beginning on your Au Pair journey, start by researching au pair programs, agencies, and websites that connect au pairs with host families in France. It is key to look for reputable sources that provide comprehensive information and support throughout the process. 
  • This may also help you narrow down which city you see yourself in; you might come across something which catches your eye and is a perfect fit for your needs, regardless of their location. If location is particularly important to you and your next adventure however, be sure to check out our cities guides linked here for more help! Try and picture yourself there and do your research- it will be your new home and will play a massive part of your experience!

Choose An Agency Or Independent Search

  • Decide whether you want to go through an au pair agency or independently search for a host family. While both have their pros and cons, agencies offer structured programs with assistance in matching you with a family, while independent searches give you more flexibility and control over the selection process.

Application & Documentation

  • Fill out the application form provided by the agency or the host family. This typically includes personal details, a motivation letter, references, and a profile highlighting your childcare experience. You may also need to provide a medical certificate and a police background check.
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Matching Process

  • If you’re using an agency, they will assist in finding a suitable host family that matches your preferences and skills. Alternatively, if you’re conducting an independent search, you can connect with potential host families through online platforms or social media groups.

Interviews & Selection

  • Once a potential match is found, you’ll engage in interviews with the host family to discuss expectations, responsibilities, and compatibility. It’s essential to ask questions to ensure a good fit for both parties involved. This is your chance to ask about the schedule, their needs, and most importantly to gauge whether your personalities are the right match! This is also a good time to ask about the living arrangements: do they provide a car? Would you live in their house? Or have a separate apartment close to yourself?

Visa & Legal Requirements

  • As an au pair in France, you’ll typically need a long-stay visa. Consult the French embassy or consulate in your home country for specific visa requirements, including necessary documents, fees, and the application process.
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Administrative Requirements Of Au Pairing in France

  • Visa:
    • Apply for a long-stay visa, known as the “au pair visa” or “D visa,” at the nearest French embassy or consulate. To do this, the visa application usually requires proof of acceptance by a host family, a valid passport, medical insurance, and proof of financial means. Be sure to check out the France Visa page to make sure you have everything you need before your appointment! 
  • Health Insurance:
    • Obtain comprehensive health insurance coverage that is valid during your entire stay in France. This should cover medical expenses, accidents, and repatriation and is definitely worth every penny!
  • Language Requirements:
    • While not mandatory, having a basic understanding of French will greatly enhance your experience. Consider taking language courses before or after arriving in France to improve your language skills and make the most of your stay!
  • Au Pair Contract:
    • Once you and the host family agree to move forward, it’s essential to sign an au pair contract. This contract outlines the terms and conditions of your stay, including working hours, pocket money, time off, and any additional benefits provided by the host family.

Pros & Cons Of Becoming An Au Pair in France

Pros:

  • Cultural Immersion
    • Living with a host family offers a unique opportunity to experience French culture, traditions, and language firsthand. You get a unique access to family life and see a French family in action. It’s the perfect way to learn about the way of life in a country and integrate yourself into the society.
  • Personal Growth
    • As an au pair, you’ll develop valuable skills in childcare, adaptability, independence, and cross-cultural communication. It is a space to grow and learn and take on different types of responsibilities.
  • Travel Opportunities
    • France’s central location in Europe provides easy access to neighboring countries, allowing you to explore diverse cultures and landmarks during your time off. Whether you’re taking a bus, train or plane, the world is on your doorstep!
  • Cost-effective Experience
    • As an au pair, you’ll receive free accommodation, meals, and often a weekly stipend, which helps manage your living expenses while abroad. The money you earn is yours to spend on exploring the city and making the most of what France has to offer!

Cons:

  • Limited Independence
    • Living with a host family means adhering to their rules and routines, which may restrict your personal freedom and independence to some extent. This can be particularly difficult if you live with the family and it can become really difficult to switch between being on and off the clock.
  • Language Barrier
    • If you’re not fluent in French, communication with the host family and local community may pose a challenge initially. However, it can also be a great opportunity to improve your language skills.
  • Childcare Responsibilities
    • As an au pair, you’ll be responsible for taking care of the host family’s children. This includes handling their needs, organizing activities, and sometimes dealing with the challenges that come with childcare. For some, this can be really tough and maybe not what they expected from moving abroad.
  • Homesickness and Cultural Differences
    • Being away from home and adjusting to a new environment can sometimes lead to homesickness. Additionally, cultural differences may require some adjustment and open-mindedness to embrace new customs and traditions.

Websites To Become An Au Pair in France

  • AuPairWorld (www.aupairworld.com): One of the largest online platforms connecting au pairs and host families worldwide, including France. It provides a user-friendly interface to search for host families, create a profile, and communicate directly with potential matches.

  • GreatAuPair (www.greataupair.com): This platform offers a wide range of au pair opportunities, including placements in France. It provides detailed host family profiles and offers resources for au pairs regarding visa requirements and cultural information.

  • Cultural Care Au Pair (www.culturalcare.com): Cultural Care Au Pair is an agency that offers au pair programs in various countries, including France. They provide support and guidance throughout the application process, matching, and preparation for your au pair experience.

  • AuPair.com (www.aupair.com): This website connects au pairs and host families worldwide, offering a range of opportunities in France. It provides a database of host family profiles, helpful articles, and a community forum for sharing experiences and advice.

Becoming an au pair in France can be a rewarding and enriching experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in French culture, enhance your language skills, and develop personal growth. By following the process, meeting administrative requirements, and considering the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision and embark on a memorable adventure as an au pair in France.

Looking For Something A Bit Different?

Babylangues is here to offer you a more independent way of moving to France, providing part time work to English speakers without the limited independence and lack of separate home and work life balance.

You will get the chance to fully set your own timetable and life outside of work: you choose where you live, your hours and what you want your days to look like living in France. Au-pairing can offer a lot of amazing benefits, but what we offer may be more up your street!

Alongside the benefits listed above, we also offer:

Apply through this link here and a member of our team will be in touch. Let the adventure begin today!