What is an Au pair in France?
An Au pair in France is called a “Stragaire aide familial étranger”
It is an exchange between a host family and a young person who is usually a student.
The family will provide food, lodging and pocket money in return for childcare and light household duties.
The young person must also be given enough time in the week to attend their courses.
You can be an Au pair from three months to one year and this can be extended to up to two years.
Who can be an Au pair in France?
- Be aged between 17 and 30 years old
- Be of a foreign nationality
- Be prepared to register for a French language course (Compulsory for non-EU citizens, recommended for EU citizens)
- Be prepared to sign a contract with the host family
How to become an Au pair in France?
The process to becoming an Au Pair in France differs depending on if you are from an EU country or not. If you are an EU country, please read the article on Become an Au pair in France (EU Member) . Unfortunately if you are not from the EU becoming an au pair in France has a few more steps. Luckily I’ve written them all down here for you to follow.
Collect the following documents:
- Health certificate (to be completed by your doctor within 3 months of applying)
- School leaving certificate or equivalent
- Letter of motivation in French (why you want to be an Au pair in France)
Translate all documents using an official translator.
Please double check that the translation is allowed to be used by DIRECCTE to get a visa.
Find a host family
Look out for scams
Agree to your terms of contract (duties, pocket money etc.) and sign an Au pair contract before leaving your home country.
Make sure to keep at least one copy of the contract.
Send your host family:
- Four signed copies of the Au pair contract
- Health certificate with official French translation
- School leaving certificate with official French translation
- A letter of motivation in French
- A copy of your passport
Your host family will then provide you with two copies of the contract that has been validated and a confirmation of enrolment to a French course for non-French speakers.
Apply for your Visa
The visa to become an Au pair in France is called Visa de long séjour / Titre de séjour pour les étudiants.
You should contact the French embassy in your country to guide you through the process and let you know which documents you should need.
Finding a host family in France
There are many places to find a host family in France, the most popular I have come across are:
Watch out for Scams
There are many scams out there. Keep yourself safe with these tips:
- Trust your gut, If something seems off or too good to be true it probably is
- Watch out for any family telling you a sob story
- Never send money to anybody
- Never accept money before starting an Au pair position.
- Always request a video call interview
- Check consistency of information
- Impatience and pressuring are signs of a scam
- Advertisements of Facebook that have comments turned off are scams. Do not email them.
- Do not pay over any money even if the host family say it is is to process a Visa.
A common scam is for a “Family” to send money to you for a variety of reasons, they then over pay you and you wire back the extra money to them, their check then bounces and they disappear with your money.
Does the information they give you keep changing? Were you sure they had two twins named John and Jill and now they have a 3 year and an 8 year old called Fred and Bob? It’s probably a scam.
What Questions Should I ask the host family?
- What will my duties be?
- What days and hours will I be expected to work?
- What is a typical day in your family?
- How will meals work?
- Am I expected to eat with you as a family?
- Will I be able to help myself to food/shopping list or will you provide me with extra money for food? If so, how much per week?
- What is a typical meal for you?
- What is my room like?
- What are the family’s hobbies?
- What are the children’s ages, likes and dislikes?
- Have they had an Au pair before? If yes what was the experience? Can you get in contact with the previous Au pair(s)?
- Will I be expected to babysit? If so how often?
- How far is it to the nearest town?
- How far is the nearest public transport?
- Will I have access to a car?
- Will I be expected to drive?
- What made you decide to host an Au pair?
As an Au pair you can only work a maximum of five hours per day and up to thirty hours per week.
You must be given a schedule that allows you to take you courses and be given at least one day off a week, and once a month this day must be on a Sunday.
Pocket Money and other Benefits
According to the official “Stagiaire aide familial étranger” website
Pocket money should be between €265.50 – €318.6 per month (January 2017)
This is between €66.375 – €79.65 per week.
However in a poll of Au pairs in Paris most Au pairs received between €70-€100 per week, with some receiving up to €200 per week.
If in Paris, as cost of living is so high, I recommend finding a family who pays at least €100 per week.
As well as pocket money, you should be provided with:
- Somewhere to live. This might be either a room in their house/apartment or your own studio apartment
- Navigo or transport tickets
- Mobile telephone
As well as childcare an Au pair may be asked to do light housework.
What are childcare duties?
- Take children to and from school, crèche and other activities
- Preparing and cooking meals for the children
- Keeping the children’s rooms tidy
- Playing with the children
- Helping with homework
- Helping children get dressed
What are light housework duties?
- Washing dishes, or unloading/loading the dishwasher
- Tidying the children’s rooms
- Washing and putting away the children’s laundry
- Picking up groceries
- Making the children’s beds
- Emptying the rubbish
What are NOT Au pair duties?
- Cleaning the bathroom/toilet
- Washing windows
- Making the parents bed
- Tidying the parents room
- Doing the parents laundry
- Ironing difficult items
- Spring Cleaning
- Washing the car
- Cleaning the oven
- Cleaning the entire house or apartment
- Lots of shopping
Remember, all duties should be clearly outlined in your contract before you start work.
The host family is responsible for paying your social security, to cover you for sickness, maternity, industrial accidents etc.
The most important thing you need to have when being an Au Pair is a contract. I cannot express how important it is. If a family is not willing to sign a contract with you it is a sure sign they are not going to treat you fairly.
A contract shows that both parties understand what they are agreeing to, and you can discuss what duties you will and won’t be expected to do.
Use the Official Au Pair contract
What the contract includes:
- Rights and obligations of each party
- Benefits due (payment, food and lodging)
- Working hours
- Condition of Payment
This agreement must be established before the Au pair leaves their home country.
If you wish to Terminate your Contract
According to the European Agreement on the Au Pair Placement (English) (French)
Where the agreement referred to in Article 6 has been concluded for an unspecified period, either party shall be entitled to terminate it by giving two weeks’ notice.
Whether the agreement was made for a specified period or not, it may be terminated with immediate effect by either party in the event of serious misconduct by the other party or if other serious circumstances make such instant termination necessary.”