Maybe you dont want to make your career in Paris, maybe you want to have some fun and make some money living a few months in a fun city. Maybe youre a student or taking a year off from school. Here are some options. (note: certain schools only allow a limited number of work hours a week for their students…for example, Brenna was limited to 10 hours a week teaching English while doing her full-time masters, other interns are limited to 60% of the French work-week, etc.)
Classroom Language Assistants
Many a foreigner has come to France working as a language assistant. This is done through the Centre International détudes pédagogiques: if you have a college degree, are between 20 and 30 years of age and have a basic comprehension of France, you can work in a French classroom helping teach your own language. One thing thats worth noting: although you can indicate your preferences in terms of age range and region, the French education system will make the final call on where and who you will teach. The Paris area is quite naturally very heavily requested.
If you are a native English speaker and (better yet) if you have European citizenship, youre in luck: the market for business English tutors is alive and strong. Agencies such as the Wall Street Institute and Telelangue offer business English classes for professionals.
Weve both had friends who have put in time at these illustrious institutions and they are often paid decently and work reasonable hours. However, expect to devote at least an hour to preparing lesson plans and occasionally correcting papers. A solid comprehension of English grammar is required.
Another option is working as a tutor for students. Various tutoring agencies abound. Again, this is a particular benefit to people fluent in English (although German, Spanish and Italian tutors are sometimes requested) and those who have working papers. These agencies tend to pay based on the level of studies youve completed and your competence in a given material. Generally, the work hours are flexible and can vary according to demand.
Au Pair Work
Au Pairs are often referred to in France as Jeune Filles Au Pairs. This should give you an idea of the implicit limitations of this type of job: it skews young and female. There are many different ways to work as an Au Pair in France. You can go through agencies, respond to ads or even create a profile on Au Pair matching websites.
If you are not an EU resident, you will need a visa (informally known as the Visa Au Pair) before you arrive in France. This will involve a trip to your local French consulate, the family that wishes to hire you will almost certainly have to write a letter detailing the time youll be staying with them (maximum 1 year), the work youll be doing and the conditions.
However, one can pretty easily find babysitting and Au Pair work au black. Sites like Craigslist and Fusac often have ads from families looking for foreign childrearing help. Sometimes these positions are paid, sometimes theyre in exchange for living rent-free. As with anything concerning this kind of work, look before you leap.
One last thing about Au Pair work: it can be demanding. You have to not only like children, but you be okay with having babysitting potentially eat into your Saturday nights.
One great advantage with working in restaurants is that you can meet lots of people, and your understanding of the spoken language improves immensely. A well-rounded gastronomic vocabulary can be an invaluable asset in this food-obsessed country.
If you go into restaurants in the afternoon, when theyre not too busy, ask the manager if theyre looking for waiters or bar tenders, be prepared to give a CV or to start an informal interview with the person in charge. Although there are restaurants who pay their wait staff under the table, the vast majority require working papers. So if youre on a student visa, youre in luck, if youre bumming around (and sans European citizenship) you might have a hard time finding work (but its not impossible).