It attracts more tourists than any other country, but have you considered making a long-term move to France by getting a job there?
Famous for its culture and cuisine, France will never leave you short of things to do. From the spectacular ski slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees to the beaches of the Mediterranean coast and the glamour of Paris, there is something for everyone.
While growth has recently been sluggish and unemployment higher than in some of its European competitors (such as Germany), France continues to rival the UK for the title of fifth biggest economy in the world.
You'll almost certainly need to learn the language to get hired, and short-term contracts are more common than permanent roles - but the standard of living is high and working conditions are attractive.
Jobs in France
France is a world leader in a variety of industries, from aerospace, defence and car manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and wine. It is home to many globally-recognised companies such as:
- AXA Group;
- BNP Paribas;
In such a diverse economy jobs are available in all sectors, although a report by Hays in 2015 identified engineering, research and development (R&D), IT and banking as the areas seeing the greatest growth in employment.
Tourism is a vital part of the economy, meaning you can find seasonal jobs at campsites or ski resorts, and there are also opportunities to teach English as a foreign language.
You can search for jobs in France at:
How to get a job in France
Applying for a job in France usually involves sending the company your CV and cover letter. These should be in the language of the job advert, so you may need to translate your documents into French. Larger companies often use online application forms.
Explain your academic qualifications with reference to how they compare to their French equivalents. Be sure to include any professional qualifications or certifications you have, as these are very well regarded in France.
Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be conducted in person or possibly by phone.
If you don't find any suitable vacancies, don't be disheartened as speculative applications are looked on favourably in France. Choose a company that you want to work for and send them your CV and a cover letter outlining why they should consider taking you on.
Casual summer jobs are available primarily in bars and restaurants, on campsites or picking grapes. In winter, look to ski resorts for temporary jobs. You should be paid at least the French minimum hourly wage (SMIC), which is €9.67 in 2016.
If you want to improve your CV and language skills, you may be interested in volunteering. The European Voluntary Service (EVS), funded by the European Commission, is a programme aimed at people aged 17 to 30 that offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.
You can also find voluntary and paid placements through:
Make sure that you thoroughly research all volunteering opportunities and always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to a scheme.
There are many opportunities to teach English as a foreign language in France, whether at a state school, private language school, university or teaching business English to a company's employees.
The British Council and CIEP provide detailed information about how to become a language assistant in France. You must have completed two years of Bachelors-level study to be eligible, but formal language qualifications are not necessarily required.
Alternatively find out more at i-to-i Teach English in France.
A period of work experience or an internship in France is known as a 'stage' and you have to be currently studying at university to complete one.
You are required by law to sign a 'convention de stage' - a three-way agreement between yourself, your university and the employer. It acts as a work contract, sets out how the internship fits into your studies and explains how you'll be evaluated. The maximum length of a French internship is six months.
Search for French internships at:
Citizens of the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter France. (The only exception is Croatian nationals, who will need authorisation to work.) You may need to register as a resident at your local government office when you move to France.
If you're from anywhere else, you'll need to apply for a long stay visa through the French embassy or consulate in your home country then obtain a residence permit once you arrive in France. You must secure a job before applying for you visa as your employer will have to provide authorisation. Find out more from the European Commission - EU immigration portal.
This visa information is still valid following the UK's decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes occur.
The key to gaining employment in France is knowing the language and this cannot be stressed enough. For almost all jobs, it's essential that you have a good understanding of French (both spoken and written).
There are lots of French language courses in the UK and many good websites exist to help you learn a language or improve your skills. CIEP has information on ways to prove your French language proficiency to employers.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
UK qualifications are directly comparable to those in France, so employers should have no problems recognising them. You or your employer can find out more information about comparing international qualifications by visiting ENIC-NARIC.
What it's like to work in France
The legal standard working week in France is 35 hours and anything over this is considered overtime. The average working week is 37.5 hours (compared with 43.6 hours in the UK). You're entitled to five week's paid annual leave in addition to public holidays. Fixed-term contracts (CDD) are more common than open-ended contracts (CDI).
There are five income tax bands, ranging from 0% on income under €9,690 to 45% on income over €151,956. These are based on household earnings rather than individual earnings.
Unlike in the UK, income taxes are not deducted from your salary at source - everybody has to complete an annual tax return (although social security contributions are taken out of your salary). Discover more about the French tax system at Expatica.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in France.