Questions on the au pair stay in France

Read the most frequently asked questions on the au pair stay in France answered by the AuPairWorld Team.

3 children in Paris with the Eiffel tower on the background

  • Can I become a summer au pair in France for one month only? 
    (Martina, au pair from Switzerland)

    To comply with French regulations, you will need to stay in France for a minimum of three months if you plan to become an au pair as a stagiaire aide familial étranger.  In this context, it doesn't matter at which time of the year you enter France. 

  • What should I do if I am unable to find a suitable language course for my au pair close to our home? 
    (Anne, host mum from Beauville)

    Have you already enquired about the various possibilities for a language course in your area? Apart from universities, adult education centres and the institutions named "FLE," some secondary schools also offer French courses  - including for external participants. Should you still be unable to find a suitable solution, you should consult your local DIRECCTE. They will decide on a case by case basis, whether they validate a particular au pair contract.

  • I already speak French well. Do I still need to take a French course, if I wish to work as an au pair?
    (Martha, au pair from the United Kingdom)

    Yes, I'm afraid so. French law clearly states that the purpose of an au pair stay in France is to improve your knowledge of the French culture and language. Therefore, your participation in a French course forms a prerequisite to have your au pair contract approved/validated, even if you already master the French language well. After all, we never stop learning throughout our lives. This also applies to language acquisition ― don't you agree? 
    Useful link: Pocket money, working hours, time off and Co. in France 

  • I have come across two options for au pairs to work in France: either as a "stagiaire aide familial étranger" (foreign trainee worker supporting families in terms of childcare) or as an "employé/salarié au pair" (employed au pair). Which of these options should I choose for my au pair?
    (Matthieu, host dad from Paris)

    We personally prefer the option stagiaire aide familial étranger, as it corresponds most to our au pair philosophy, rather than the salarié au pair status. The stagiaire aide familial étranger must be a student from a foreign country, who is no more than 30 years old and does not work more than 30 hours per week. This status is aimed at promoting cultural exchange among nations worldwide. Therefore, your au pair receives a certain amount of pocket money, rather than a minimum salary (SMIC). 

  • My husband and I both work. Can we employ an au pair girl for 40 hours a week?
    (Sandra, host mom from Metz)

    This is not possible in the context of the status as a stagiaire aide familial étranger. French law limits working hours for au pairs to 30 hours per week, babysitting included. Please bear in mind that you need to treat your au pair like your eldest daughter: would you allow her to work for so many hours? Try to be creative and think about some alternatives for the remaining hours. The Chèque Domicile CESU, for instance, allows you to employ a young neighbour. Alternatively, you could have your child spend a little more time at the after-school care club.

  • We need to register our au pair with the French Social Security (Sécurité sociale). Will this suffice or do we need to take out any further insurance policies?
    (Marion, host mum from Vannes)

    You are right, it is compulsory to have au pairs covered by the French health insurance throughout their stay in France. However, as it does not cover most of the primary health care services, you will need to bear the costs of the remaining medical expenses. Contact your insurance company to find out if it is possible to extend your own health insurance cover to your au pair. Should this not be possible, it would be a good idea to take out an additional insurance policy with a private insurance company. Please read our interview with Ms Barrat-Sentagne, expert on insurances in France, to find out more on this topic.

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Do you have any other question? Read the information on the au pair stay in France to find all the information you need or write us an email. We will be glad to help!

We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.

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