For the first year of Renestance we focused on supporting retirees who wanted to spend their golden years here in France. As we grew, we learned that there are an increasing number of younger workers and families making the move to the hexagon. While the fortunate few can afford to retire early, not everyone has that luxury. Many English speaking residents of France are working either full-time or part-time to supplement other forms of income.
Creative Strategies to Working in France
Personally, my husband and I schemed for a few years to be able to work one hundred percent virtually… We are both in technology and as long as we have a reliable internet connection (and a willingness to make evening phone calls to accommodate our U.S. clients,) we’re set. Since arriving, we’ve made friends who also can work from anywhere, people who have opened up bed and breakfasts, teach English, paint wine barrels, and commute back and forth from London. Overall, it seems like English speakers are extremely adept at piecing together a wide range of creative money-making strategies.
In order to better understand the landscape, The Renestance team created a survey to learn from English speaking workers. We didn’t include demographic or location data, but we believe the majority of our respondents are current residents of the Languedoc. All are currently working.
Check out our “Making Money While Living the Dream in France” infographic to see what the numbers tell us about working in France.
Is working in France right for you?
Just like any life change, there will be pros and cons in your decision to work in France. If you are willing to do your homework (and perhaps take a pay-cut,) our survey takers overwhelmingly encourage others to follow their dreams. They do warn, however, not to come here expecting to find a job with a French employer. In fact, only 15 percent of those surveyed work for French employers, the overwhelming majority of these workers have been educated in France and obtained a qualifying diploma or certification. According to our survey, over two-thirds of working English speakers in France are freelancers (this percentage is even higher in the Languedoc.) Approximately half decided to work for themselves to make a lifestyle change, citing the flexibility and freedom of self-employment. The other half have become self-employed in order to adapt to the reality of the limited job market and/or lack of French language or required certification. Beyond wanting autonomy, one administrative reason so many people work for themselves here is because of the streamlined Auto-entrepreneur status. We will be discussing expat entrepreneurship in more detail in a future article (and how Renestance can support you getting started of course!)
As for me, my family came for a year to try it out at the beginning of 2013 and we haven’t left yet! We’ve learned a lot along the way and it’s not always roses, but what beats the view from our office window and the local wine at the end of the day?
If you have questions or concerns, why not give us a call and set up a time to talk it through.
Do you have a story to share or questions about making a living in France?
Let us know in the comments!
Natasha Freidus was Renestance’s first blog editor and web content advisor. She is a consultant and trainer specialising in multimedia storytelling. You can learn more about her work at her website, Creative Narrations. Natasha moved to Roujan from Seattle in early 2013 with her husband and two children.
All articles by: Natasha Freidus