Eating Lifestyle

Grocery Shopping

This article will explain a bit more the ins and outs of grocery shopping in France. Don’t worry, no secrets will be revealed or magic tips shared, but you can learn a bit more about the way you buy stuff in France.

How to grocery shop in France ?

Do I live in a major city or not ? 

Your shopping habits will vary if you live in a major French city or in a suburban/rural area. In all major cities in France, you’ll find supermarkets within the city limits. There are small shops where you can find all the products like in huge hypermarkets, but don’t worry, it’s enough for everyday life. These shops are everywhere around the corner, usually there are around 3 or 4 in your neighbourhood. As an example, in a 500m radius of my home, there are 2 Carrefours, 1 Intermarché, and 2 Franprix.

Inside cities, these shops usually open from 9 or 10 am to 9 or 10 pm and are open on the Sunday.

On the contrary, in the suburbs or rural areas, the “centre commercial” will be your go-to place. It’s a huge complex of stores (clothing, pharmacy, hairdresser etc) organised around a hypermarket.

These shops have less broad opening hours and most of the time are closed on Sundays and sometimes during lunch hours. So make sure you pick the right time to get your shopping done.

The brands of these grocery shops are basically the same wherever you live. You’ll find the usual suspects : Carrefour, Monoprix, Intermarché, Leclerc, Franprix, Casino, Lidl etc.

In major cities, you may have more choices regarding the grocery shops as you’ll have ethnic options (Asian food, African food etc) or organic shops (Naturalia, Bio C bon etc.).

French people shop outside of

supermarkets for specific items.

French people are what you may call “gourmet” and if their budget allows it, they will get their cheese, bread, meat and alcohol in dedicated shops. This is often the case in the big cities where a lot of shops are in a small area. It also happens elsewhere if  one can directly source their products from the producer.

Here are the names of the shops : 

Bakery = Boulangerie

Butcher shop = Boucherie

Cheese shop = Fromagerie

The liquor shop that you’ll find most frequently in France is Nicolas. It’s not an off-licence and they have very decent products that range from medium to higher/top quality.

What time should I go grocery shopping ?

You may hear that French people shop daily and that the supermarket down in the street is their fridge. That may be true in big cities where you’ll see long lines at the cashier with people merely buying a couple of leeks, a bottle of wine and some ham.

However, everywhere else, you plan your shopping ahead because the opening hours are not that flexible!

How do I go to the market ?

If you’re a fan of markets and knowing the producer closely, a lot of options are available to you. In most cities in France there is a weekly or bi-weekly market. You’ll find all the info if you follow this link.

For people living in Paris, the info will be this way.

Tip : if you like fresh produce, you can register with an AMAP (association de maintien de l’agriculture paysanne = support group for agricultural production).

How does it work : every week you get a selection of products (vegetables etc.) based on the seasonality, meaning you don’t choose them. So you may get leeks and potatoes one week and the next time, chard and sorrel.

Here is the official website to register.

How does it work for off-licences ?

We have all been in this position, 2am, party is nicely going but the drink level is getting low and you need to reload. Shops are closed and bars too, so where are you going to go ?

To an off-licence !

These shops are open until quite late and offer a nice variety of soft drinks, booze, crisps, biscuits etc. The catch is that the prices are quite high. So, these shops must remain your last resort. Don’t go shopping there for your everyday needs.

You’ll notice the off-licences usually have the word “épicerie” in their name. 

Delivery from a store

For some people, grocery shopping is just too tiresome or they may not have time to go to the shop. If this is the case, there are a couple of options available.

Be advised, this is not your classic food delivery app like Deliveroo, this is a grocery delivery solution. If you were hoping to get a warm meal through these apps, you might be disappointed.

The first solution is to get in touch with the actual stores. Monoprix, Carrefour, Intermarché, all of them offer a delivery option either on their websites or once you’re in the store. The option could be to go in the store, fill your cart and get it delivered or to order everything online.

The second solution is offered by a series of apps which, if you ask me, compete for the weirdest names. The service usually is either a delivery within 10 minutes or based on your availability. These apps work in Paris, they may not be fully operational in other cities.

Here are the main ones : 

Apps against food waste

I don’t know how much is thrown away every year in supermarkets but it’s way too much. To fight against this waste, a couple of apps make it possible to collect the food that is about to be discarded.

Be advised that you don’t choose the food you’ll get.

Here are the apps 


  • In any shop, you can scan the barcode of the products with the YUKA app. It’ll give the nutritional information and overall quality of the item (including environmental info).
  • If there is shop you go to regularly, ask for a loyalty card (“carte de fidélité”). You’ll save money the more you buy in the same shop.
  • Don’t go to an off-licence if you don’t need to, prices are usually higher.
Unemployment Work


Us French people may have a reputation in this world, but none of us really like to sit on our asses all day long doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, doing so for a couple of days or weeks is nice, but it’s called a holiday and it’s only temporary. Unemployment is a bit different.

Unemployment not a holiday and the French people know this, that’s why the welfare system to help people out of unemployment is quite generous and inclusive.

In this article we will discover what is the Pôle Emploi, what is the criteria to get benefits and how does it work?

What is Pôle Emploi ?

The Pôle Emploi is the French unemployment agency. It is populated by agents meant to help you find a job and get benefits.

The way it works in France, is that the system relies on contributions from everyone. So, when you work, you pay taxes called social charges that are going to be used to finance the social system, whether you get this money back or not. Thus, you need to contribute before you get any.

The Pôle Emploi, among other benefits, allocates what is called the ARE (Allocation de retour à l’Emploi – back to work benefit). If you are looking for a job, you’ll spend a lot of time with them, replying to emails or actually going to their offices.

How to register ?

What are the documents to submit ?

Before even thinking about your registration, remember that you’re in France and like any other request you have with the administration, you’ll be expected to provide some documents, which usually are : 

  • Your former working contract (because you usually cannot get unemployment benefits if you’ve never worked)
  • Attestation de Pôle Emploi (if relevant) – it is issued to you by your employer
  • A proof of ID
  • A copy of your Carte Vitale
  • A CV
  • Your bank details
  • A proof of address (utility or phone bill)

Can I register if I

don’t have all the documents ?

Yes, you can. However, Pôle Emploi will ask you to provide them at some point during the registration process.

Can I register for the

Pôle Emploi/unemployment

benefits if I’m not French ?

The criteria to allocate the allowance doesn’t take your nationality into account. What is important is that you have worked in France for a couple of months (see below the criteria for more details).

The only difference if you’re a foreign resident is that you’ll be asked to provide a copy of your titre de séjour. Bear in mind that most of the “titres de séjour” make you eligible for the benefits, but not all of them. You’ll find some more info here.

This doesn’t apply if you’re from an EU/EEA country, a simple proof of ID is enough and you shall have no stress to be eligible or not based on your nationality. If you are arriving in France and haven’t worked there before applying for unemployment, make sure you have the tax document that you have finished your work and left the country officially (there is a form for that).

How to create an account ?

Step 1 : you can do this on the website here

Comment faire ma première demande d’inscription à Pôle emploi ? – Pas-à-pas

Step 2 : scroll down to the “Je commence” Button

Step 3 : pre-filling the form

Yep, in France, you fill a form to make sure you’re eligible to fill the registration form.

The whole thing is in French and seeks to know a bit more about the reason you register (Q.1) and if you have registered in the past (Q.3).

Step 4 : filling the actual form.

This is always the funniest when dealing with the French administration, so let’s crack our fingers and get on with it.

You’ll then get a couple questions to fill. They are the same as any other admin form.

1. Your contact details, name and address and the motive for your registration (yep, it should be the same than in Q1)

2. You’ll be asked about your situation (when you left your job, what was your status etc.). The French administrative logic also dictates that you’ll provide your bank details here (and not when you filled your contact infos just above…)

3. You’ll be asked about your previous work experiences and diplomas, so get your CV in order, your qualifications, driving licence etc.

4. You’ll finally be required to book a time for a first meeting with an advisor (see below). It’s not clear if they have an English speaking option.

And that’s it !

What happens during the first meeting ?

As strange as it seems, the French government doesn’t want to give you money if you’re gonna be lazy. That’s why this first meeting takes place. It’ll help the advisor get to know you and your project. The idea is to draft with what is called a “projet personnalisé d’accès à l’emploi” (PPAE) / personalised project to get a job.

This meeting will determine if you get the benefit or not, and in order to convince the advisor, here are a couple of tips : 

  • Come prepared with a solid and bulletproof project (at least a plan). It’s always good to come with a plan B and C. So that the advisor sees that you’re motivated and knows what you want.
  • Show that you can handle your job search on your own. This will take the advisor off your back and you won’t get meetings every other week to check your progress. Usually, the advisor likes to see independent people that can handle themselves.

How does the unemployment

benefit work ?

What is the criteria to receive

unemployment benefits ?

There are 5 main criteria you need to think of, which I will present to you as questions. If you answered yes to all of them, you’re on a good track:

  • Did you leave your previous job involuntarily or through the mutually agreed termination procedure ?
  • Did you work in France for at least 6 months in the last 2 years ?
  • Did you register to Pôle Emploi within 12 months after leaving your last job ?
  • Are you actively looking for a job ?
  • Are you available for work right away ?

Regarding your status as a foreigner, I refer you to the paragraphs above.

How do I receive the compensation ?

Every month, you’ll receive an email requiring you to update your status on the Pôle Emploi website.

It’s a list of questions to assess if you’re still looking for a job that you have to fill every month !

How is it calculated ?

Let’s get to the numbers, now. Pôle Emploi provides you with a monthly allowance. This benefit equals 57% of your gross salary. It is also capped at 4 or 5k/month. Of course, the calculation is more complicated than that.

Can the payments stop ?

There are a couple of cases when then payments can stop : 

  • if you you refuse two job offers made through Pôle Emploi (not the ones that you look for yourself)
  • if you don’t provide the required documents in due time 
  • if you refuse a training course required by Pôle Emploi
  • if you miss the monthly registration
  • When you find another job

Bear also in mind that if your allowance is above 85,18€ a day, then after 9 months, your benefit will be cut by 30%.

How long do unemployment

payments last for ?

As you worked for a minimum of 6 months to become eligible, you’ll be compensated for at least 6 months.

Then, basically, you remain eligible for as long as you contributed during your previous jobs. this means that if you’ve worked for 1 year, you’ll get benefits for 1 year. Once again, the calculation is trickier than that. I’m just giving you the big picture here.

To date, the maximum period to get unemployment benefits is 2 years.

Can I cumulate unemployment benefit

and job revenues ?

Programs are being set up to cumulate benefits and work revenues. Of course, you won’t get the full amount of your benefit but as your salary grows, the benefit will decrease.

What happens if I don’t get any

benefits ?

Then, it meant that you were not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, it does not mean that you cannot register with the Pôle Emploi.

Indeed, the registration can grant you access to trainings and courses that could be relevant in your project.

Also, other benefits may be available to you, noticeably the ASS (Allocation supplémentaire de solidarité) – yep, a funny name! Please get in touch with your Pôle Emploi advisor to know more about it.

Tips : 

  • The form is in French. If you need any help please ask a French friend for help or send us a message
  • Don’t forget to update your status every month to receive the benefits
  • Most of the training offered by Pôle Emploi are in French – a good way to develop your skills in French !
Essential Job contract Work

Employment contract

The employment contract in France can be a tricky one. There are a lot of footnotes and impenetrable jargon. But don’t worry, reality is not as bad as it seems.

First of all, most of the contracts that you’ll sign as an employee will be legit. It may not seem like so because a lot of paragraphs and/or the wording is weird, but they are. Indeed, labour law in France may be kind of a bitch and most employers in SME will rely on templates they find online on lawyers’ websites.

Second, even though your contract is 15 pages long, there are only a few elements that need to be checked thoroughly. The rest is mainly french self-satisfaction in writing long and complex sentences (you don’t have writers like Proust for no reason…).

In this article, we will help you navigate the most important questions you need to ask yourself and the most important boxes you need to tick in order to check your work contract.

Little disclaimer : we are not law professionals and the advice we give is of course not exhaustive. If any doubts or questions remain after reading this article, either contact us or a labour law professional.

Must the contract be in written form

on paper ?

There is a distinction in France between permanent contracts (CDI – Contrat à durée indéterminée) and temporary contracts for part-time positions (CDD – Contrats à durée déterminée).

The CDI doesn’t always have to be in written form on paper, but the vast majority of companies will have you sign one. You can always request your employer to provide you with a written contract.

The CDD always has to be in written form on paper. This also applies for fixed-term contracts (like temporary positions), or apprenticeship contracts.

A written employment contract is always more protective of the worker than a mere verbal agreement and it’s pretty standard to have a written contract in France.

Can you start working without

a contract ?

In France, you can start working without a contract but you must make sure that you get one as soon as you can. A contract is always more protective than a verbal agreement.

Some companies may send a work confirmation letter (lettre d’engagement) in which they declare their intention to hire you. This is in no way a contract !

What should be included ?

When a permanent contract is written, it must specify:

  • The identities and addresses of all parties.
  • The job title and professional qualifications.
  • The place of work.
  • Working hours.
  • Remuneration (salary and bonuses).
  • Paid leave.
  • Duration of the trial period.
  • Notice periods in the event of contract termination.
  • A non-compete or mobility clause, if applicable.

Can I request a contract in another

language than French ?

CDI contracts must be drafted in French.

You can always request a bilingual version or a copy translated into your own language for information purposes.

The French version of the contract will remain the reference version.

What is a trial period and how long

can it be ?

In France, before you are definitely hired in the company, you may have to work a trial period. During this trial period the employer can fire you at any time, but you can also leave at any time, without any notice period.

Trial periods are not mandatory. They are at the employer’s discretion.

The duration of the trial period varies according to your rank in the company : 

  • 2 months for the workers (ouvriers et employés)
  • 3 months for technicians (agents de maîtrise ou techniciens)
  • 4 months for a cadre

Your rank (worker, technician, cadre) is usually specified in your contract.

Trial periods can be renewed once.

How can you change your

employment contract ?

A distinction should be made between :

  • “Changes to the conditions of employment” which the employer can decide unilaterally (hours, notice period, etc.)
  • “Changes of the contract of employment” which requires the employee’s agreement and which relates to:
    • the methods of payment or the amount thereof
    • the working hours
    • the place of work
    • the employee’s job title,
    • any other information considered necessary by the parties.

How to end a contract ?

The CDD ends when its term is up.

The CDI can be terminated by the employer or the employee.

Bear in mind that in France, there are multiple ways to end a work contract.

It can be done on the company/employer initiative, it’s then called a termination (licenciement in french).

You can also instigate the end of your work contract, then it’ll be either a resignation or a mutually agreed termination


  • Never write and send a blank resignation letter to your employer
  • Always check that your rank and remuneration align
    • Your working contract shows your rank and in France, collective agreements set a minimum amount for salary based on that rank.
  • You cannot have more than 2 consecutive CDD with the same company for the same position. If they hire you a third time in this situation in a CDD, you have to be offered a CDI.
Leaving/losing a job Work


In France, there are a couple of ways to terminate a work contract.In this article, we’ll focus on termination of the work contract at your instigation, meaning a resignation.

The relationship can be ended by your employer or by you, like in any other country. However the ways to do it and the consequences will be different based on who instigates the break-up.

There are two main ways to do so.

Little disclaimer : we are not law professionals and the advice we give is of course not exhaustive. If any doubts or questions remain after reading this article, either contact us or a labour law professional.


Why would you hand out your resignation ?

This could seem like a pretty basic question, but don’t forget that you’re in France and we like to complicate things… All jokes aside, there are two scenarios : 

  1. You’re in a permanent contract (CDI) and you can resign pretty much whenever you want. There are of course a couple of steps that we’ll cover below.
  2. You’re not in a permanent contract (CDD or else). Then some conditions may apply for you to resign, for exemple, having another firm job offer. Please check your contract before doing anything reckless !

How do you do it ?

A resignation is quite easy to navigate. There is one step and that is to notify your employer. You can do that via email or a letter. The most important is that when reading the message, it must be clear that you’re leaving your position so that there is no interpretation.

We can also assume that chivalry is not dead and when dealing with other people you’ll walk the extra mile and talk to your employer or management in person or via a call to advise them on your decision before actually sending your resignation letter.

Is there a notice period for when I

can hand in my resignation ?

Answer is yes, and the duration is usually specified in your contract. The period will begin as soon as the resignation has been tended and it’s quite the norm to outline in your resignation letter the date on which you’ll leave after the notice period has run out.

Even though there is a contractual notice period, you may negotiate with your employer to leave your position early. In this situation, it is up to you and the employer to find a common ground based on the needs of the service, the relationship you had etc.

What happens after ?

The common situation when you resign is that you are not eligible to unemployment benefits. However, in some situation, a resignation may trigger the benefits, usually when : 

  • You plan to take over or create a business
  • You need to resign because of your partner being transferred
  • You have a plan for a training afterward

Mutually agreed termination

(rupture conventionnelle)

What is a mutually agreed termination

rupture conventionnelle ?

This category of termination allows you to leave your job with the agreement of your employer. The main advantage compared to a resignation is that you are eligible for unemployment benefits after the procedure, regardless of your situation if you’ve worked for more than 4 consecutive months in France.

How do you get a mutually agreed

termination ?

The procedure has a few steps but it’s really manageable. Here are the main milestones you need to follow : 

  1. Inform your employer that you wish to leave your position and do so with the procedure of mutually agreed termination and request a meeting with your employer and/or person from HR Entretien. You can have a person from the company present with you during the meeting.
  1. During the meeting, if your employer accept the procedure, you will draft the terms and conditions of the termination (notice period, severance package etc)
  1. After you sign, the draft is submitted online to the french administration (DIRECTE) for approval. From there, you have 15 days to recant.
  1. You get an answer within 15 days. If there is no answer after 15 days, it is deemed to be accepted, and you are free to go at the set date.
Leaving/losing a job Work


In France, there are a couple of ways to operation a termination.

The relationship can be ended by your employer or by you, like in any other country. However the ways to do it and the consequences will be different based on who instigates the break-up.

In this article, we’ll focus on termination of the work contract on the initiative of the employer.

There are two main ways for the employer to cancel your contract.

Little disclaimer : we are not law professionals and the advice we give is of course not exhaustive. If any doubts or questions remain after reading this article, either contact us or a labour law professional.

Termination for personal reasons

Why could you be dismissed ?

French labour law dictates that an employee can be terminated based on disciplinary or competence reasons. These two motives are called in french “motif personnel”. It covers two categories : 

  1. The disciplinary reasons : if you’re always late, misconduct on the job, insult or hurt co-workers etc.
  2. The non-disciplinary reasons : if you’re not qualified enough for the job, don’t have the skills etc

Are there any steps before dismissal ?

There is of course a gradation of sanctions that can happen before you’re fired. And usually companies won’t resort to a termination right away. You may first get an official reprimand, then a suspension and if the faulty behavior persists, a lay-off.

What are the steps for a dismissal for personal

reasons ?

Step 1 : notification. You usually receive a letter or an email that invites to a pre-dismissal meeting (“entretien préalable au licenciement” in french).

Step 2 : Pre-dismissal meeting. Within 5 days of the reception of the notification letter, HR or management will call you in to let you present your point of view. In this meeting you can be accompanied by any person from the company that you want.

Step 3 : Letter of dismissal. If the meeting above is inconclusive, you’ll receive at least two days after the letter of dismissal as a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt LRAR. This letter will state the motive for dismissal and the beginning date of the notice. Usually, unless for certain motives (gross misconduct or negligence / faute grave ou faute lourde) where you can be fired right away, the notice will be about a month.

Is there anything I can do to dispute

my termination ?

If you feel like you don’t agree with your employer and have ground for a claim, here are the steps : 

  • Within 15 days of receiving the letter of dismissal, you can write a letter to your employer to request clarifications. This letter must be LRAR.
  • The employer has then 15 days to answer to you.
  • If you didn’t get satisfaction, you can refer you case to a specific labour court called “prud’hommes” in France.

How much do I get as a severance ?

That’s a tricky question as it depends on your seniority in the company, the ground of your dismissal etc.

Basically, what you need to bear in mind is that : 

  • In the event of dismissal for gross misconduct, you don’t get anything
  • In other cases you get a ¼ month salary per year in the company
  • You can waive the severance package and negotiate a compensation based on the money that owes you the company with paid leaves, bonuses etc…

What happens after ?

Employees laid off through this procedure are eligible for unemployment benefits in the general situation. I remind you once again that we are here dealing with french labour law that is quite complex and sometimes calls for different outcomes in situations that look to be the same.

To discover how to get registered with the french employment agency, click here.

Termination on economic grounds

Why would a company resort to that ?

When in a financial plight, companies may choose to lay off staff. This means that the dismissal is not wanted by the employee and that creates some obligation from the employer toward the employee.

Basically, this may happen when :

  • there has been an utter shift of market that the company didn’t adresse
  • a technological change triggers significant evolutions within the company.

Are there any steps before termination ?

Most of the time, dismissal on economic grounds doesn’t happen from one day to another. In companies under financial or economic stress, employees are aware of the difficulties whether through official channels (HR, management) or unofficial ones (what you hear at the coffee break).

This is just to say that when the first steps of a dismissal on economic grounds are taken it’s, usually, not a complete surprise.

Before actually firing people, the employer must define the skills that he needs to retain or hire. For the people that don’t fall into these categories, they must be offered opportunities to be redeployed within the company at different positions.

Actually, even though this is an obligation under law, most of the time companies know they have to take drastic actions and need to lay off some people, so they may offer underqualified positions or to work halfway around the world…

What are the steps for a dismissal on economic

grounds ?

Step 1 : notification. You usually receive a letter or an email that invites you to a preliminary meeting (“entretien préalable” in french).

Step 2 : Preliminary meeting. Within 5 days of the reception of the notification letter, HR or management will explain the situation and the decision that has been made for you. they will also present you with options (take a package, take another position in the company…)

Step 3 : Letter of dismissal. You’ll receive within 7 to 15 days after the meeting a letter of dismissal as a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt LRAR.

Is there anything I can do to dispute my

termination ?

If you wish to dispute the grounds for dismissal, the package etc, you can refer your case to the “prud’hommes” that is the french labour court. In that situation, you should get help from a professional.

How much do I get as a severance ?

That’s a tricky question as it depends on your seniority in the company, the ground of your dismissal etc.

Basically, what you need to bear in mind is that : 

  • You usually get a ¼ month salary per year in the company. This grows with your years of service.
  • You can waive the severance package and negotiate a compensation based on the money that owes you the company with paid leaves, bonuses etc…

What happens after ?

Employees laid off through this procedure are eligible for unemployment benefits in the general situation. I remind you once again that we are here dealing with french labour law that is quite complex and sometimes calls for different outcomes in situations that look to be the same.

To discover how to get registered with the french employment agency, click here.


  • French law dictates that any termination must be caused by a genuine and serious motive. If you have a displeasure to be in such a situation one day, and feel that the break-up of your contract doesn’t have a serious ground, please get in touch with a labour law professional.
  • Make a copy or digitally store every exchange with HR or management during this procedure.
  • Paid leave : if you have not been able to take all of your leave before the end of the notice, these days will be paid to you.
Getting a job Work

Finding an Internship

Finding an internship in France is quite similar to any other countries. However, some specific rules may apply for pay and working hours.

Where to look for an internship ?

Several websites list offers such as L’étudiant, Welcome to the Jungle and Jobteaser

You can also check your school job board.

Convention de stage

In order to work as an intern in France you must sign a “convention de stage”. This document is your working contract and is also signed by the company and your school.

The important points listed in it are : 

  • Your supervisor (maitre de stage) : that is the person responsible for you during your stay in the company.
  • The mission (what you are expected to do during your internship)
  • The duration of the internship (beginning and ending dates)
  • The salary (see the section below)
  • The advantages you are allowed to (e.g. some companies pay up to half your transportation cost)
  • The social protection you’ll benefit from

Getting paid as an intern

In France, it is not mandatory to pay an intern that stays in the company for less than TWO MONTHS. This doesn’t mean you’ll not get paid, the company simply doesn’t have to do it.

If the intern stays in the company for over two months (or 309 hours), the company has to pay a salary. The current minimal rate is 3,90€/hour which amounts to 600€/month (for a full time job : 154 hours/ month that is 22 days of work, 7h a day)

Visa for an internship

EU nationals and nationals from countries like Norway or Switzerland do not need to get a visa.

International students studying in France can also work in France provided that the institutions in which they are registered participate in the national student healthcare plan.

For other interns-to-be, you’ll need a short-stay visa if you stay less than 90 days and a long-stay visa if the internship lasts over 90 days.

Getting a visa

Tips to bear in mind

  • Interns shouldn’t work more than 10h a day
  • Students can only work up to 964 hours per year
  • The cost of life in Paris is quite high and living merely on an intern’s salary can be difficult
  • As an intern, you don’t pay taxes if you earn less than 17 763€/year. You still have to do your tax declaration (link).
Getting a job Work



Writing a CV (curriculum vitae) or resume, is not specific in France compared to other countries, but a few sections may only appear in a French CV. Here is a list of the basics you should know to write a CV for a French recruiter !

What should be in your CV

  • Personal information
    • Picture
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • Linkedin profile (with a clickable link)
  • Education
    • French people are very big on diplomas, so if you have one or more, mention it !
    • Mention the equivalent of your diploma in French (e.g. A-level or Abitur = Baccalauréat)
    • If you are a beginner or a junior, fill that section with your grades, favorite subjects, title of a research paper that you did and can be relevant…
  • Professional experiences
    • The most recent first !
    • Mention the name of the company, the dates you worked there, the geographical area 
    • Add a little description of the role you held and the tasks you performed and begin with active verbs 
  • Skills
    • Skills range from general IT (MS office, G suite etc…) to training/courses you may have taken (first-aider)…
    • Regarding IT, only mention the software that you actually handle. E.g : if you write “Microsoft Office”, it is very possible that you’ll be asked to perform some tasks under Microsoft Access, even though you’ve never heard of it.
    • Mention if you have a driving licence and what kind of vehicle you can drive
  • Language
    • As a foreigner, you can make a difference in that section. Keep in mind that French people are quite terrible when it comes to language. So mention as much as possible and precise your level.
  • Hobbies and pastimes
    • French recruiters are used to seeing this kind of section in a CV, don’t forget it, it could make the difference !
    • Mention the sports you practise, the instruments you play, how you busy yourself outside of work.
    • Keep in mind that French recruiters love a nice work-life balance, on paper.


  • Mention your soft skills too (team-worker, good listener, efficient under a deadline,…) !
  • Enhance your presentation with some graphical elements, but don’t go crazy

Mistakes to avoid in your CV

  • Spelling mistakes
    • Make sure you correct all of your mistakes before sending.
  • Incoherences in your work history
    • Make sure that the experiences you mention in your CV are explained in your cover letter
  • Sending a .doc file
    • You should turn your .doc file into a pdf before you send it.
  • Leaving blanks
    • Try as much as possible to fill all the gaps in your curriculum. E.g. if you did not work for a year, mention it as a sabbatical.
  • Mentioning everything
    • Don’t put your full work history on your CV, only select the most relevant experiences to the job you are applying for
  • No more than one page
    • a French CV should fit on one page
  • Chunk of the text
    • Lighten up your CV and bolden the most important words.
Getting a job Work

Cover letter


Writing a cover letter is paramount in France. Most of the jobs you’ll apply to will require you to explain your motivation, what excites you about the job and how you qualify for it. This can be a bit annoying sometimes, usually when you apply for a day-job, or temp-job.

Should you write the cover letter in French ?

Most of the job listings won’t mention the language in which you should write your cover letter. We can safely assume that being a foreigner applying in France, you can write this letter in English and mention that French is not your mother tongue. 

The Header

The header will help the recruiter to know you better and how to get in touch with you. You should add as much information as you can. It is usually recommended to mention your : 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Linkedin profile (with a clickable link)

What should be in your cover letter

Your cover letter should underline your motivation, skills and ambition to apply for the job. I recommend you get these two sections in your cover letter : 

  1. The job offer and the way you understand it, what are your motivations, what is at stake for you in the job ?
  2. Your previous work history and how the experiences you had taught you the requested skills to perfectly fill the position.

Here are some suggestions to add to these two sections : 

  • Personal experiences and reasons why you fit the job description : it could be a previous project, a passion…
  • A global and refined, thought concise analysis on the company, market or product related to the job offer.
  • Illustration of your remote working skills and explanation of how you managed to organize your work through the COVID-19 pandemic

Mistakes to avoid

  • Don’t begin with “I’m writing to apply for …”.
    • Recruiters will prefer if you mention a few words about the company, the market or your studies.
  • Spelling mistakes
    • Make sure you correct all of your mistakes before sending.
  • Incoherences in your curriculum / copy/paste from your résumé.
    • Make sure that the experiences you mention in your CV are explained in your cover letter but not repeated.
  • Sending a .doc file
    • You should turn your .doc file into a pdf before you send it.
    • Also check the name of the attachment if the listing suggested one. Otherwise go for something classic like NAME SURNAME – Cover Letter.
  • Sending a blank email
    • If you send an email to the recruiter, write an abstract of your cover letter in the email. It can appeal to the recruiter and catch their attention.
  • Mentioning a weak point
    • If you have one (which is good, it means you’re human)  don’t mention it, it will naturally pop up in the interview.
  • No more than 1 page
    • Your cover letter must be short 
  • Chunk of the text
    • Lighten up your cover letter in short paragraphs and mark the most important words in bold !
  • Not explaining the acronyms
    • If you’re not talking about the UN or the FBI (which everyone knows about), you should write what the letters stand for.
  • Getting fancy in the end
    • French people are known to like literature and style. For a cover letter, it is better to keep it simple like “Hoping my application will catch your attention”.
Essential Getting a job Work

Looking for a job

How to look for a job in France

There are several ways to look for a job in France. Usually, people look for opportunities on job boards and directly on the company websites that they’re interested in.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in this section, you can still make a spontaneous application (candidature spontanée) to the company you want to work at. Most of the companies in France have a section where you can post a CV and a cover letter.

Websites and job boards

You’ll find a lot of job boards in France, tailored to your needs. We’ve selected a couple of them for you here, the ones the French people use the most :

Student jobs : 

Early career :

Freelance :

Professional : Cadre

How to apply

The basic requirements to apply to a job in France are the same as in any other country and most of the time, they are mentioned in the listing.

Here is a checklist of the documents you should provide and update when you apply for a job in France :

  • CV
  • Cover letter
  • Recommendation from previous coworkers or employers (usually, in France, you can ask for a recommendation from the manager or coworkers of the company you just left. Just make sure you have a good relationship with them before you do so).
Bank and taxes Taxes

Non resident taxes

What is it ?

Do I really have to pay taxes as a non resident ?

I have some bad news for you, yes. I mean it’s bad news if you don’t like to pay taxes. In France, you have to pay some taxes as a non-resident (meaning that you don’t live in France more than 6 months a year or don’t have the majority of your income from French sources).

You’ll have to pay taxes only on the earnings on the sum that you received from work done in France or under french law.

There are two rules to bear in mind : 

  • The taxes are calculated based on the household earnings, meaning that if you’re married, the income of both people will be taken into account and the rates will be applied then. There is a measure in France called “quotient familial” that lowers the amount of taxes you pay.
  • Taxes are directly debited out of your income and you don’t have any paper to fill. However, the applicable rate will be based on the previous year’s earnings. Meaning that if you found a job in 2022 and didn’t work before, your rate will be 0%. This will make for a big surprise in 2023 when you’ll have to pay all your back taxes. To avoid this, get in touch with the fiscal administration to determine an average rate for the first year. 

In 2021, this is the standing scale.

Applicable rateYearQuarterMonth
0%15 018€3 755€1 252€
12%From 15 019€ to 43 563€From 3 756€ to 10 891€From 1 253€ to 3 630€
20%From 43 564€From 10 892€From 3 631€

For more details about the way your own tax amount is calculated please have a look at the “Income tax” article.

How to pay your taxes in France as

a non-resident?

It is actually not difficult. You do it the same way a resident does it. The easiest way is to do it online on your personal account. In order to open one, get a numéro fiscal and access the documents, please have a look at the “Income tax” article.

Tips and tricks 

  • Check the tax system in your own country, you may need to declare your income over there
  • Don’t forget to adjust your rate every time your work status change, if you get a raise or change jobs. Otherwise, you may have a load to pay. For example, I got a raise in 2020 and forgot to adjust my rate, I had to pay over 2k of back taxes. Juliette got the same thing but with a sum along the lines of 5k.