You want to move to France. But you need to earn a living. What can you do? If you are happy living in a big city, this is usually not a problem. There are plenty of jobs available translating, teaching English and working for companies that require English speakers. For instance, the British Automobile Association has a large call-centre based in Lyon. Lyon also happens to be the home for English-speaking organisations such as Interpol and Euronews. You’ll find similar jobs available in the other large cities, especially Paris. So you can almost definitely get a job in big cities, although you would normally expect to have a job of a lower status and salary than in your own country.
However, most of us looking to move to France don’t want to move to big cities. That’s the sort of lifestyle we are trying to escape. We want to live a gentler lifestyle in some secluded rural part of France. What are our job prospects there?
The first thing to say is that the reason that these parts of France are so quiet and rural is that there is very little industry or commerce. Such regions depend mainly on agriculture (and the famous EU subsidies.) The main reason that these areas are so quiet is because young French people don’t want to (or are not able to) live there because of a lack of employment opportunities.
So how can you find a job where the local young French population cannot? The main asset that you have that they don’t have is that you speak good English. As long as you also speak passable French, you may be able to get a job in the tourism industry, perhaps as a guide or as a waiter/waitress. Or you could get a job helping new English people who want to buy property in France. One possibility is to work for an estate agent, though this is a heavily regulated industry where you may be required to obtain qualifications. If you have building skills, many English-speaking people moving into the area (Dutch and German as well as British and Irish) will choose you over French speaking artisan. However the path chosen by many people is to run a gite – a self-catering cottage. This can be a good source of income and we’ll look more at this next time.