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Au Pair

What does it mean “be an au pair”?

Laurie · 20/07/2022

Becoming an au pair is one of the easiest ways to go abroad without 🔫 breaking the bank. What is being an au pair? How to become one?

What is an au pair?

➡️ An au pair is a young adult (18 to 30) who travels overseas and lives with a host family to learn a language and visit a new country. You can be an au pair for up to two years (last which could be different depending on the country), and provide childcare in exchange for room and board, a weekly salary and some free time.

Requirements to meet

The program Au Pair is an 🌎 international cultural agreement set up between some countries. It allows young people to live abroad, discover another culture, i.e. the customs and know-how specific to a country, and learn or improve a language.

You have to fill some mandatory conditions, which change according to your destination country. There are different from the United States rules to the Spain ones, for example. To be an au pair in France, you must ✒️:

  • Be between 18 and 30.
    You can start the process to become an au pair before being 18, but keep in mind, parents look for someone with enough maturity to look after their children.
    ⚠️ Some countries refuse people over 25.
  • Speak French and / or English.
    We recommend that you already have a good level in one of the two languages (A2/B1 minimum) to facilitate the search for a host family. That allows a better communication and integration in the family as well.
  • Have some experience with children.
    We recommend that you include letters of recommendation, descriptions of your experiences and photos of yourself with the children you cared for in your profiles.

  • Have your high school degree.
    Or an equivalent that allows you to study, at least, French in a FLE (Français Langue Etrangère) school.
    ⚠️ Register for French classes is mandatory to get your au pair French visa.
  • Be eligible for the Au Pair Program.
    As I said, the program is a cultural agreement to help young to learn language and discover the customs of another country. That means, the au pair should have a different nationality and mother tongue from the host family and country.

I did not precise but in case that's not obvious: you must not be neither married nor having kids. And you should have enough money to buy your flight ticket, the family is not required to participate.

If you meet all the criteria and are interested in being an au pair, create your profile 👇. Create my profile for free

You can read “Prepare yourself for your departure as an au pair” to learn more about getting ready 🧳 for France and find some tips to create a good profile 👍. The best way to find quickly a host family.


Why do you want to be an au pair?

It depends. Typical French Answer. Keep in mind: there is neither a “perfect” or “right” time to be an au pair, nor a good or bad reason.

But it could be interesting to know 🤔 the reasons why young people want to be an au pair and when they decide to leave.

A group of happy young people taking a picture of their experience together

When should I become an au pair?

The most of the time, young people decide to become an au pair during a gap year: after getting a degree, before entering the world of work 💼 or looking to change their career path. That allows you to improve a language, to open your mind, to expand your knowledge, etc.

Alright, but when is it easier to find a French host family?

  • That's not a secret, but a lot of families look for an au pair for the back to school time in France, so around September.
  • Every other three months from September because some families want an au pair for only 3 months.
  • During summer ☀️ or / and winter ❄️ because some parents work more when it's tourism seasons: ski, beach, etc.

Of course, you can find at anytime a host family because some events happen in life and steer families to look for an au pair to help them 💪.

Do you have more questions about it? Register to our next webinar, where our Au Pair Manager will explain to you everything you need to know and answer your questions 😉.

Register to our next meet up

Why should I become an au pair?

There are different reasons that push a person to go abroad as an au pair. As I said, that allows you to 📈 improve some skills (language, open-mindedness, childcare, etc.) but it's an excellent way to travel for cheap as well. 

You can read “5 reasons why you should become an au pair” to get more information about making the decisions.


Au Pair Salary

It depends on the host country because the cost of living is different in each country. It could be variable according to host families. Some of them don't have the 💶 financial resources to afford 100 euros pocket money to their au pair. In France, the legal minimum wage is €80.

Our premium families have to give you at least €90 a week and €100 for Paris.


The Au Pair Visa

According to the host county and where you come from, you would need a visa. For applying, you have to supply some document to the host county embassy 🏛️ in your own country (or the closest embassy from you). To become au pair in France:

  • Youth coming from European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland: you don't need a visa ✅.
  • Others (American, Asian, African, etc. people): you must apply for a visa if your stay is longer than 3 months.
    On average, the process last 1.5 months to get your French au pair visa. 

For example, if you come from Colombia, you have to apply at the French embassy in Bogotá. If you come from the US, you must apply in Washington, D.C. etc.

At Au Pair Butrfly, we can help you with the application 📁 as a part of our International Au Pair Package.

Check out our Packages

🦋 To make sure you require a visa as an au pair, you can do the 3-minutes Test on the French government's visa website. The website tells you where you can apply and what document you should provide.


The Au Pair Contract

We will never stop to remind you.

🚨 You must have a contract between you and your host family. This is really important for your safety and to make sure you get the best out of your au pair adventure 🥰.

Thanks yo your contract, the host family can't stop to pay you, can't kick you out, can't ask you to do tasks you're not supposed to do, etc. It's your shield 🛡️. 

➡️ You can read my au pair experience review where I didn't sign a contract as an au pair and why I should have signed one 🥲 before my arrival in my host family.


⚠️ Last things you should know: cultural aspect

As a member of a new family, even if it's temporary, that doesn't mean you can't make an effort to participate in the home life. We sometimes hear our families being surprised, even shocked, to see their au pair at the table on their phone, not emptying or filling the dishwasher or not thinking to take the rubbish out when it is full. It is normal that customs and habits are different from one country to another. In France, everyone who lives under the same roof participates and helps in the house. In case, you can ask your family 😉.

It's the cultural part of the Au Pair Program 🌏. I want to live an au pair experience

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Laurie · 20/07/2022



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