Finding accommodation during your Working Holiday in France
- Geographic location: south east France.
- Major towns and cities: Lyon (1.7 million residents), Grenoble (515,000), Saint-Etienne (375,000), Clermont-Ferrand (265,000), Chambéry (190,000), Annecy (170,000), Valence (130,000).
- International airports: Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne, Chambéry.
- Distance between Paris and Lyon: 2h by train, 5h by car.
- Job opportunities: one of the most dynamic regions. Numerous opportunities in tourism, around the lakes (Lake Annecy, Lac du Bourget, Lac Léman), in the mountains (Vercors, Vanoise, Chartreuse), in Ardèche, around the Auvergne volcanoes, in the vineyards of the Rhône Valley, at theme parks (PAL, Walibi, Vulcania). Jobs in finance, R&D and sciences in Lyon.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €550 in Annecy and Lyon. €425 in Grenoble and Chambéry. €390 in Clermont-Ferrand. €350 in Saint-Etienne.
- Places to visit: the old town of Lyon, the Vanoise massif, Chamonix Valley, Puy de Dôme, the Cantal Mountains, the Auvergne volcanoes, the Gorges de l’Ardèche, Lake Annecy, Vercors Natural Park.
- Must-see events: Lyon Festival of Lights, Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon, Fourmafolies in Ambert, Jazz in Vienne, Musilac in Aix-les-Bains.
- Culinary specialities: pike quenelles, saucisson from Auvergne and Lyon, Auvergne casserole, truffade, aligot, tartiflette, fondue Savoyarde, cheese (Bleu d’Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d’Ambert, Salers, Saint-Nectaire, Beaufort, Abondance, Tomme de Savoie)
- Geographic location: north east France.
- Major towns and cities: Dijon (245,000), Besançon (135,000).
- International airports: Dole.
- Distance between Paris and Dijon: 1h30 by train, 4h by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region with a relatively low rate of unemployment. Opportunities in tourism (vine-growing region), agriculture, viticulture, agri-food industry, car and tyre industries, craft.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €400 in Dijon.
- Places to visit: the vineyards in Bourgogne, the waterfalls of Ménétrux-en-Joux, Baume-les-Messieurs trail.
- Must-see events: Eurockéennes de Belfort, Foire Comtoise in Besançon, Fête de l’Absinthe in Pontarlier, Festival du Chablisien, Foulée des Vendanges in Savigny-lès-Beaune.
- Culinary specialities: Bourgogne snails, ham hock terrine, beef bourguignon, Bresse chicken, Franche-Comté hotpot, coq au vin, Montbéliard and Morteau sausage, Charolais beef, frogs’ legs, mushrooms on toast, Dijon mustard, cheese (comté, morbier, mont d’or, chaource, brillat-savarin), wine (Chablis, Pouilly, Meursault and many more)
The Rock of Solutré and the Bourgogne vineyards
- Geographic location: north west France.
- Major towns and cities: Rennes (330,000), Brest (200,000), Lorient (115,000).
- International airports and maritime links: Rennes, Brest, Saint-Malo-Dinard and Quimper (flights are seasonal). Links between St-Peter and Portsmouth (England) and the port of Saint-Malo. Links between Plymouth (England) and the ports of Saint-Malo and Roscoff. Links between Cork (Ireland) and the port of Roscoff. Links between Rosslare (Ireland) and the port of Roscoff.
- Distance between Paris and Rennes: 2h by train, 4h by car.
- Job opportunities: one of the most dynamic regions. Numerous opportunities in tourism, on the coasts of the English Channel and the Atlantic, on islands, around Océanopolis in Brest, the Aquarium of Saint-Malo, zoos. Jobs in agriculture, fishing and the agri-food industry, computing, digital, telecommunications and services in Rennes and Lannion.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €420 in Rennes. €350 in Brest.
- Places to visit: the Gulf of Morbihan, Ushant, Saint-Malo, Belle-Île, Cap Fréhel, Presqu’île de Crozon, Cancale.
- Must-see events: Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient, Les Vieilles Charrues, Trans Musicales in Rennes, Astropolis in Brest, the Perros-Guirec Comics Festival, the Scallop Festival in Paimpol, the Strawberry Festival in Plougastel-Daoulas.
- Culinary specialities: Brittany casserole, coco de Paimpol beans, sausage galette, crêpes, Bouchot mussels, oysters, Saint-Brieuc scallops, Far Breton, Kouign-amann, washed down with cider and chouchen.
Centre-Val de Loire
- Geographic location: central France.
- Major towns and cities: Tours (355,000 residents), Orléans (280,000).
- International airports: Tours, Beauvais (Ryanair flights to ‘Paris’ land here).
- Distance between Paris and Tours: 1h45 by train, 3h by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region. Jobs in tourism around the villages of the Loire, Cher and Beauval Zoo. Jobs in the rubber, cosmetics, agri-food and cereal farming industries.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €400 in Tours and Orléans.
- Places to visit: châteaux and fortresses (Chambord, Chenonceau, Chinon, Blois) and regional natural parks (Loire-Anjou-Touraine, Sologne, Perche).
- Must-see events: Printemps de Bourges, Sancerre wine fair, Marais Festival in Bourges, Chartres en Lumières
- Culinary specialities: Tours rillettes and rillons, chitterlings sausage, Berrichonne casserole, goats cheese (Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, crottin de Chavignol), wine (Sancerre, Valençay).
Chinon and its impressive castle
- Geographic location: island in the Mediterranean sea.
- Major towns and cities: Ajaccio (70,000 residents), Bastia (68,000)
- International airports: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Figari
- Distance between Paris and Ajaccio: 1h35 by plane.
- Job opportunities: a region affected by unemployment (around 9%) but opportunities in tourism and commerce, especially in the summer. Jobs in agriculture and fishing.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €450 in Ajaccio. €380 in Bastia.
- Places to visit: the GR20 trail, the Aiguilles de Bavella, Bonifacio and its cliffs, the Gorges de la Restonica, the Lavezzi islands, Corte, the Gulf of Porto-Vecchio, the Calanques de Piana, Scandola nature reserve, the village of Sartène.
- Must-see events: Calvi on the rocks, Musicales de Bastia, Venaco cheese festival, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano olive festival.
- Culinary specialities: Corsican charcuterie (lonzu, coppa, figatellu), wild bore stew, Bonifacio stuffed aubergines, Corsican cheese (brocciu, casgiu frescu), chestnut tart.
Evisa, a small mountain village in Corsica
- Geographic location: north east France.
- Major towns and cities: Strasbourg (460,000 residents), Nancy (285,000), Metz (285,000), Mulhouse (250,000), Reims (215,000).
- International airports: Mulhouse, Strasbourg, Metz-Nancy, Châlons-en-Champagne
- Distance between Paris and Strasbourg: 1h50 by train, 5h by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region around Strasbourg, Nancy and Metz. Opportunities in tourism, particularly at the numerous museums and leisure parks (Amnéville, Sainte-Croix and Mulhouse Zoo, Fraispertuis and Nigloland, Centre Pompidou in Metz), at the vineyards of Champagne and Alsace and in tourist villages. Good knowledge of German is often required. Jobs in commerce around the European quarter of Strasbourg. Jobs in the automobile, robotics, computing, energy, transport, agriculture and agri-food industries.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €470 in Strasbourg. €420 in Metz. €400 in Nancy.
- Places to visit: Little Venice in Colmar, Reims cathedral, Strasbourg old town, the Cité du Train in Mulhouse, the Centre Pompidou in Metz, the Massifs des Vosges, Les Ardennes, the Alsace wine route.
- Must-see events: Alsace wine festival, Christmas markets, Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Festival du Houblon in Heguenau, Riedwihr sauerkraut festival.
- Culinary specialities: Lorrain pâté, sauerkraut, flammekueche, Baeckeoffe, Alsacian casserole, Rethel white pudding, Ardennes ham, quiche lorraine, pain d’épices, munster, Alsatian beer, wine and sparkling wine (Crémant d’Alsace, Champagne, Riesling, Gewurztraminer)
Colmar, or "Little Venice"
- Geographic location: northern France.
- Major towns and cities: Lille (1 million residents), Douai-Lens (500,000), Béthune (355,000), Valenciennes (335,000), Dunkerque (180,000), Amiens (165,000).
- International airports: Lille.
- Distance between Paris and Lille: 1h by train, 2h45 by car.
- Job opportunities: the region most affected by unemployment (around 13% of the active population). Opportunities in tourism although a good command of Flemish is often required. Target seaside resorts such as the Opal coast and Baie de Somme, and the numerous theme parks (Astérix, La Mer de Sable, Parc Saint-Paul, Bagatelle, Dennlys). There are also jobs in the agriculture, agri-food and textile industries.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €480 in Lille.
- Places to visit: Lille old town, Louvre-Lens, the Piscine museum in Roubaix, the Baie de Somme, the forest of Compiègne.
- Must-see events: Lille flea market, Dunkerque Carnival, herring festival in Etaples-sur-mer, Main Square Festival in Arras, Paris-Roubaix.
- Culinary specialities: Flemish stew, welsh, potjevleesch, Belgian endive and ham gratin, tarte au maroilles, beers of the north (la Goudale, Jenlain, 3 Monts)
Lille Old Town
- Geographic location: Paris and the surrounding area.
- Major city: Paris (10.7 million residents)
- International airports: Paris CDG, Paris Orly
- Job opportunities: Grand Paris is the most dynamic region of France in terms of employment. Numerous opportunities in all sectors.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €900 in Paris. Between €650 and €850 in the suburbs.
- Places to visit: Latin Quarter, Montmartre, the Marais, Saint-Germain des Prés, Belleville, the forest of Fontainebleau.
- Must-see events: Music Festival on 21 June, Harvest Festival in Montmartre, European Night of Museums, Fnac Live, Rock en Seine, Solidays, Festival of Humanity in La Courneuve, Roland Garros.
- Geographic location: north west France.
- Major towns and cities: Rouen (665,000 residents), Caen (420,000), Le Havre (290,000), Cherbourg (120,000)
- International airports and maritime links: Caen and Deauville airports. Links between Portsmouth (England) and the ports of Le Havre, Cherbourg and Ouistreham. Links between Newhaven (England) and the port of Dieppe. Links between Poole (England) and the port of Cherbourg. Links between Dublin (Ireland) and the port of Cherbourg. Links between Rosslare (Ireland) and the port of Cherbourg. Links between St Peter (England) and the ports of Diélette and Carteret. Links between St-Helier and the port of Granville.
- Distance between Paris and Rouen: 1h30 by train, 2h10 by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region. Opportunities in tourism. Seasonal jobs on the coast of Cotentin, the beaches of Calvados and the Seine-Maritime, theme parks (La Flèche zoo). Jobs in agriculture, agri-food and industry.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €425 in Rouen. €400 in Caen and Le Havre.
- Places to visit: the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, the D-Day landing beaches, Rouen Old Town and its cathedral, the cliffs of Etretat, Normandie-Maine natural park.
- Must-see events: the commemorations of 6 June 44, Deauville and Cabourg film festivals, Beauregard, Cabourg Mon Amour and Papillons de Nuit music festivals.
- Culinary specialities: Caen tripe, Vire chitterlings sausage, escalope normande, cheese (camembert, Pont-l’Evêque), teurgoule (rice pudding), Isigny butter, cider, calvados (apple liqueur).
The bay of Mont Saint-Michel, the natural border between Normandy and Brittany
- Geographic location: south west France.
- Major towns and cities: Bordeaux (1.25 million residents), Bayonne (300,000), Limoges (285,000), Poitiers (260,000), Pau (245,000), La Rochelle (215,000), Angoulême (185,000)
- International airports: Bordeaux Mérignac, Biarritz-Bayonne-Anglet, Pau, Bergerac, Limoges, Poitiers and Brive.
- Distance between Paris and Bordeaux: 2h10 by train, 6h by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region. Numerous opportunities in tourism. Seasons jobs on the coast of the Atlantic ocean (Îles Charentaises, Royan, Lacanau, Bassin d’Arcachon, the Landaise beaches, Biarritz), in the Pyrenees (Gourette, La Pierre St-Martin, Artouste), in the vineyards of Cognac and Bordelais, in the Basque Country, at Futuroscope in Poitiers, at La Palmyre zoo, in the wood industry and in oyster farming. Jobs in finance in Bordeaux and in insurance in Niort.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €550 in Bordeaux. €480 in La Rochelle. €350 in Limoges. €340 in Poitiers.
- Places to visit: Cité du vin in Bordeaux, the vineyards of Saint-Emilion, the Dune of Pilat, Ile de Ré and Ile d’Oléron, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, inland Basque country, the Pyrenees national park.
- Must-see events: Dax and Bayonne Festivals, Francofolies de La Rochelle, the Angoulême Comics Festival, Garorock, Cognac Festival.
- Culinary specialities: oysters from Ile d’Oléron and Arcachon, Agen prunes, Landes salad, foie gras, duck breast, Limousin beef, canelés bordelaise pastries, Bayonne ham, Ossau-Iraty (ewe’s milk cheese), cognac and Bordeaux wine.
The Dune of Pilat seen from a pretty Cap Ferret village
- Geographic location: south west France.
- Major towns and cities: Toulouse (950,000 residents), Montpellier (430,000), Perpignan (200,000), Nîmes (185,000).
- International airports: Toulouse, Montpellier, Nîmes, Perpignan, Tarbes-Lourdes, Béziers, Carcassonne, Rodez
- Distance between Paris and Toulouse: 4h45 by train, 7h by car.
- Job opportunities: a dynamic region near Toulouse, where unemployment is high around Perpignan and Nîmes. Opportunities in tourism. Seasonal jobs on the Mediterranean coast (Port-Vendres, Banyuls, Canet, Port Barcarès, Port Leucate, Cap d’Agde, Palavas, Gruissan, etc.) and in the Pyrenees (Font Romeu, Les Angles, Ax 3 Domaines, Peyragudes, Tourmalet, Saint-Lary, Gavarnie, Cauterets, Luchon, etc.). Jobs in aeronautics, the space industry and R&D in Toulouse. Jobs in computing in Montpellier.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €480 in Toulouse and Montpellier. €400 in Nîmes.
- Places to visit: Les Carmes in Toulouse, the city of Carcassonne, the Gavarnie trail, the Néouvielle massif, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, the Gorges du Tarn, Pont du Gard, the arenas of Nîmes, Collioure and Aigues-Mortes.
- Must-see events: the Carnival of Limoux, the bullfighting festivals in Béziers and Nîmes, Les Siestes Electroniques in Toulouse, Jazz in Marsiac
- Culinary specialities: Castelnaudary cassoulet, Toulouse sausage, goose foie gras, tarbais beans, Sète tielle pie, bourride à la sétoise fish soup, Camargue rice, cheeses (Roquefort, Rocamadour), wine (Muscat, Corbières, Fitou, Saint-Chinian, Banyuls, Blanquette de Limoux)
Toulouse, the pink city
Pays de la Loire
- Geographic location: north west France.
- Major towns and cities: Nantes (635,000 residents), Angers (222,000), Le Mans (210,000), Saint-Nazaire (155,000).
- International airports: Nantes
- Distance between Paris and Nantes: 2h15 by train, 4h15 by car.
- Job opportunities: one of the most dynamic regions with the lowest rate of unemployment (around 6.5%). Opportunities in tourism, especially on the Atlantic coast (La Baule, Pornic, Les Sables-d’Olonne), the Island of Noirmoutier, around the Loire chateaux and at theme parks (Puy du Fou, Terra Botanica). Jobs in the naval, electronics, agri-food, agriculture and vine-growing industries.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €435 in Nantes. €370 in Angers. €350 in Le Mans.
- Places to visit: the pretty town of Nantes, the Loire chateaux (Brissac, Serrant, Saumur), the Marais in the Vendée, the Angevine Valley, the islands of Noirmoutier and Yeu.
- Must-see events: the Doll Festival, Les 24h du Mans, Hellfest (the largest hard-rock festival in France)
- Culinary specialities: préfou, Le Mans rillette, grilled sardines, Vendée ham, mogette beans, Noirmoutier potatoes, Vendée brioche, Loire wine (Muscadet, Saumur, Cabernet d’Anjou, Coteaux-du-Layon)
Nantes and the banks of the Loire
- Geographic location: south east France
- Major towns and cities: Marseille-Aix (1.58 million residents), Nice (945,000), Toulon (570,000), Avignon (456,000)
- International airports: Marseille, Nice, Toulon (and Avignon in season)
- Distance between Paris and Marseille: 3h30 by train, 8h by car.
- Job opportunities: a region affected by unemployment (around 10% of the active population). Numerous opportunities in tourism. Seasonal jobs on the Côte d’Azur (Saint-Tropez, Antibes, Fréjus, Cannes, Nice, etc.), in inland Provence and at mountain resorts (Pra Loup and Val d’Allos). Jobs in vine-growing, agriculture (market gardening, rice cultivation and flowers). Jobs in commerce and industry in Marseille.
- Average monthly rent for a studio: €590 in Nice. €550 in Aix-en-Provence. €490 in Marseille. €430 in Toulon. €420 in Avignon.
- Places to visit: Le Panier and Cour Julien in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, la Cité des Papes in Avignon, Les Calanques, Mercantour natural park, Camargue sand dunes, Mount Ventoux, Les Gorges du Verdon, Le Luberon, the villages of Provence (Les Baux-de-Provence, Cassis, Vaison-la-Romaine, Salon-de-Provence)
- Must-see events: Avignon Festival, Cannes Film Festival, the Marsatac Festival in Marseille, the Les Suds Festival in Arles, the Melon Festival in Cavaillon, Les Oursinades Festival in Carry-le-Rouet and Arles festivals.
- Culinary specialities: fougasse (bread from Provence), bouillabaisse, pissaladière, pesto soup, tapenade, stuffed vegetables, Provencal tomatoes, ratatouille, aioli, fish soup with rouille, tropézienne, calisson d’Aix, pastis, wine (Bandol rosé, Gigondas).
Marseille, the Old Port and Notre-Dame de la Garde in the distance
You can travel to mainland France and Corsica on a Working Holiday visa. Only people of certain nationalities are allowed to travel to Guadeloupe and Martinique (Antilles), Guyana (South America), Reunion (Indian Ocean), Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (French Polynesia and New Caledonia (Pacific Ocean). Contact your local French embassy for further information.
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