The Languedoc and Provence-Côte d’Azur regions that locals call “le Midi” and foreigners commonly refer to as the south of France are home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The region also attracts many retirees from the UK as well as multitudes of other English-speaking expats who come for the region’s pleasant weather and natural beauty along with various educational and occupational pursuits.
For those who live or would like to live in the south of France and are not lucky enough to have a generous pension or other source of income, a topic of perennial interest is the local job market. Exactly what is the possibility of finding employment suitable for a native English speaker who may not be fluent in French? Actually, as far as English-speaking jobs in France go, the south offers good potential, especially for those possessed of a creative and flexible mindset. Of course, it is highly desirable to learn French, but there are plenty of job possibilities to help keep the rent paid while you are studying.
One of the most common occupations for English speakers is childcare. Being a nanny or au pair is at once a pleasant and beneficial way to earn a living in France. Pleasant because working with the young children of generally well-to-do families is for the most part fun and interesting. Beneficial because little kids are a great source of simple language input and embarrassment-free practice opportunities that will improve your French. Although typically limited to young women, there are a lot of openings in this field due to the fact that many parents want their children to get early exposure to English.
Another job that is relatively easy to land is bartender. Learn the basics of polite greetings, “please” and “thank you” in French along with names of popular beverages and you are ready. Look for expat pubs where English speakers gather and remember that young French people also like the chance to practice their English skills by chatting with a native-speaker bartender. Perks include getting to practice French in a convivial atmosphere and the potential to make new friends and local connections on the job.
If you are up for slightly more challenging work, look for writing/editing positions. While it would be ideal to be able to offer French/English translation services, there is always demand for educated native English speakers who can improve documents written in English by French speakers. It should not be too difficult to come across some possibilities in this field, particularly if you have experience at the production of website content. Strike out as a freelancer and take advantage of France’s auto-entrepreneur system that makes it simple to work as a self-employed person.
Homestay English Teacher
Of course, as with the rest of France, many of the working expats encountered in the south are employed at teaching English in one position or another. The highly-qualified might find work at a university as a professor d’anglais. Others teach English at companies, but the majority of English teachers in France find work at small language institutes or as private tutors. Among the teaching jobs in France for English speakers, an often-overlooked but very attractive opportunity for the right candidates is teaching English to French children as a parent in a homestay language immersion program.
Recruiters like Talk to Teach search for English-speaking families who are living in France to host young French students who want to study English and experience Anglophone culture during school holiday breaks. The programs typically last one week, during which a host parent will offer English lessons in the morning then lead fun family activities with their own children and the homestay students in the afternoon. For those who qualify, this is a far more relaxing and enjoyable way to earn a bit of money than the grind of a “real” English teaching job.
Whether or not you want to teach, bartend or write, as with any job search, it’s important to keep a positive attitude, print out a recent CV and seize any opportunities that come your way!