How to Become an Au Pair

One of the most frequent questions readers ask me is, “How did you become an au pair?” So I thought I’d take the time today to finally answer that question, as well as talk about my personal experience working as an au pair in France. 

How to become an au pair

Just to clarify, an au pair is a girl (or boy!) who works for a family abroad in exchange for cultural immersion and a place to stay. Au pair duties generally include cooking, tidying up and taking care of or tutoring children.

1. Pick a country

The first step to becoming an au pair is to think of the country where you would like to work. My best advice for this is just to really listen to your gut on what you find interesting. Do you go crazy for Flemish architecture? Or do you just love the cadences of the Italian language? Search for a job in a country where you have always wanted to live and with a language you would like to learn.

2. Decide if you want to use an agency

There are pros and cons to using an agency. The pros: the agency will help you find a family, apply for a visa, and provide support during your time abroad. The cons? Au pair agencies charge a hefty fee – often more than $400.

Personally, I wouldn’t use an agency – it’s just too expensive when you could easily do it yourself. Also, most au pairs I’ve met found their families independently on websites like or

Of course, this completely depends on you. If you’d feel more comfortable going through an agency and don’t mind spending the money, go for it.

RELATED: Should I Use an Agency to Find an Au Pair Host Family?

Note – if you want to au pair in certain countries, like the US or the Netherlands, you have to use an agency.

3. Find a family using an au pair website

How to become an au pair

Next, start looking for a family to work for. I’ve met au pairs who have found their families using everything from Au Pair World to Monster. seems to be the most popular au pair website. Personally I got my job through friends (more on that below).

Considering I didn’t choose my family via a website, my only advice is to trust your gut, pick a family with older children if possible and make sure you find a family who (at least seemingly) respects you! And always ask for a higher salary than they want to give you- negotiation is key.

In order to see if you will jive with the family, I recommend scheduling a Skype call with them. Over Skype, ask questions such as:

  • How old are the kids? What’s their current level of English?
  • Have you had an au pair before? If so, may I speak to her? (This is actually pretty common and I highly recommend doing it!)
  • Will I be required to clean? Just tidying up or deep-cleaning? (Don’t take the job if they want you to do deep-cleaning!)

If I could go back and choose a family I would choose one who both a. allowed me to speak French with the children, and b. lived in Paris. Those are my two biggest problems with my current family, but beyond that, I’m quite content.

RELATED: How to Pick the Right Host Family for You

4. Applying for your visa

This process really varies from country to country (even in Europe) and depends a lot on your citizenship. All of my English or European au pair friends in Paris work under the table because they have EU passports, while all of the American au pairs I know are here on a student visa (this is because technically as an au pair you are supposed to attend school- more on that later).

For my French visa, I had to fill out a ton of paperwork and the entire process start to finish took three months. The process was absolutely out-of-date, as it involved several rounds of sending literal papers across the Atlantic as opposed to scanning documents. (Please France, let’s move into the 21st century!)

I technically filed for a student visa, as au pairs legally have to go to school while they are abroad (note- the friends I have here who aren’t interested in learning French simply stopped going to school and the government did nothing.)

If you are a non-EU citizen, don’t even think about working under the table! I’ve heard of some girls doing this and trust me- it’s just not a good idea to live in another country with no rights or health care.

(Notes on the French visa- I didn’t get my documents professionally translated and I had no problem getting them approved. I just used Google Translate!)

5. What to expect when you arrive

This is the factor of au pairing that differs the most – every family is different. You might be in charge of anything from triplet infants to two teenage girls. While families in France must pay their au pairs a minimum of 80 euros a week, I have several friends who earn upwards of 1000 euros a month.

To show you how radically situations can vary, let me give you the stats on my job as well as those of a few of my friends:

My set-up: 2 teenage girls, live with the family, 125 euros a week, family pays for school, airline ticket and cell phone, family doesn’t pay for subway pass

Friend 1: 4 boys under 12 years old, has her own apartment (paid for by family), 250 euros a week, doesn’t go to school, family pays for her utility bills at apartment and cell phone, family doesn’t pay for airline ticket or subway pass

Friend 2: 3 kids under 9, lives with the family,  80 euros a week, doesn’t go to school, family doesn’t pay for… anything

Friend 3: 1 eleven-year old boy, lives with the family, 150 euros a week, doesn’t go to school, family pays for everything

Another thing that differs is the workload. I work around 30 hours a week (which is legally how much you’re supposed to work) but I have another friend who basically never has time off, and then another who works about 10 hours a week.

Here’s my schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 5-9 p.m., Wednesday: 12-9 p.m., Saturdays: 4-9 p.m. and no work on Saturdays. My duties include tutoring, entertaining kids and helping cook and clean. Your schedule could be very different though- most of my friends drop and pick up the kids from school, and thus work both early morning and evenings.

6. Living situations: living with the family or on your own

In terms of living situations as an au pair, there are two general situations: you will either live with the family or have your own apartment.

Here is the main rule of living situations as an au pair: if you live with the family, you will learn more of the language but if you have your own apartment you will be less stressed out and have a better social life.

I live with the family, so while it is great because I am around a lot of French and learn a ton about French culture and food, I also kind of feel like I am on call all the time and I have little privacy. I also can’t have friends over or have parties, which I miss.

7. Foreseeing problems

a. Don’t be afraid to talk to family

If there’s a problem, talk to your family. I personally had a row with my family because they expected me to take one weekend off a month, and be at home with the kids for the rest of the weekends. I told them that if they didn’t give me time off on weekends then I would have to find another family. In the end, we compromised, and while I still work Friday night and Sunday afternoon, I have all day Saturday and most of Sunday to do as I please. I also have one paid long weekend off a month to travel.

b. Don’t be afraid to switch families

I met an au pair who was working for a complete madwoman- she demanded that my friend walk the dog for two hours a day, and would make her take the dog out again if she deemed his paws “not dirty enough.” She found a new family via the Paris au pair Facebook groups (a great resource to find a new family because au pairs post listings for their old families all the time) and is worlds happier.

c. Making friends

Making friends is something I struggled with at the beginning because a. I was the only under-40 in my language class and b. I lived 30 minutes away from the nearest town. (not even Paris!) I made friends through a variety of ways, but random encounters and the Facebook Paris au pair group served me the best.

8. My personal experience

While I’ve already talked about my personal experience a bit, I wanted to elaborate on the pros and cons. The pros are that my family has been extremely generous in terms of salary, airfare and paying for my school and cell phone bill, as well as being very kind in including me into the family.

But here are the cons: my biggest problem with my au pair living situation is that I live an hour and a half from Paris, which has really hampered my networking opportunities as well as language learning progress.

Also, the main reason I came to France was to learn French. I’m finding this to be incredibly difficult as I’m forbidden from speaking in French to the kids, and only have a few minutes a day to talk to the parents in French (and they sometimes switch to English, which wasn’t our agreement!)

While legally as an au pair the family can’t force you to speak a certain language, in most cases families choose English-speaking au pairs in order to help their children improve their English skills.

If I could do this again, I would find a family that both lives in Paris and allows me to use French. While I love my family, those were the two biggest downfalls of my job.

Au pair FAQ

  • How did you find your au pair jobs in the past?

The way I found my au pair job is unusual- when I was in high school I babysat for a French family and when they moved back to France, they invited me to come work for them every summer. After three blissful summers with them, I told them I wanted to stay in France longer in order to learn fluent French, and they then recommended me to their good friends which is whom I work for now.

  • Is there one au pair site you would recommend over others?

I would recommend It’s the most popular au pairing site in the world and is probably your best bet for matching with a family.

  • What’s a “regular” amount an au pair could expect to make per month?

In France, you will make at least 80 euros a week, but the average salary seems to be around 100 euros. I make 125 and have friends who make 250 a week. However, it depends on the country. You can expect to make a lot more in certain countries (e.g. the UK, Switzerland), than others (e.g. Italy, Spain).

  • How far in advance did you find the au pair job (in order to get a visa, etc.)?

I started communication with my family in late July and was working in France by the end of October. I would start the search for a family at least 4 months in advance.

More posts:

How to Become an Au Pair in Spain

How to Become an Au Pair in France

How to Become an Au Pair in the UK

10+ Gift Ideas for What to Bring Your Host Family

How to Get Along with Your Host Family

A Day in the Life of an American Au Pair in France

Would you ever consider working as an au pair in a foreign country?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

173 thoughts on “How to Become an Au Pair”

  1. I grew up on the other side of things, I have a very large family so we’ve had aupairs as long as I can remember (My parents still do since they still have little kids at home) from South Africa, Germany, England, so aupairing is something I have always wanted to do. This was a great read!!!

    • Where did you find your family? Also, How was your fluency level when you left Paris after a year? I have read blogs that suggest going to smaller towns to learn french. I would like to live in Paris, but I am going to learn the language. thanks!

    • I found my family through friends actually. And it was definitely hard learning French in Paris- so many people wanted to speak English, so I imagine going to a smaller town would be beneficial for fluency. I left Paris almost fluent after 9 months, but I already spoke Spanish and I worked crazy hard.

    • Hi,

      I start thinking about usine an english au pair for our family. Il have to childrens (d’augurer 8 and son 5 years old) . I just would like to Know if you have seen a différence in childrens english Level after an expérience like that ( even in 2 or 3 month)… Do you speak english with childrens and french with parents!!!

      Thanks for your advices.


    • Hi Nico! Thanks for stopping by :). So I think it depends on a lot of factors- namely how much English the children already know and what age the children are. I’d say your best bet is to have an au pair and to send your kids to a bilingual/international school- the kids I knew who did that spoke English very well. But please feel free to post a listing for an au pair here!

    • Hi Ashley I hear u I do want to join Au pair but have no idea where to start but since I hear your story how u start.i feel blessed now and I never work before as nanny but I have two kids of my own I’m a widow from South Africa and I’m want to start new life work for my kids my first child is a girl 14 years old boy 11 years old and I’m 38 years old I wish u could help me to join Au pair I have made up my mind want to work overseas I have only high school.Thank u Ashley hope we talk again.

  2. Great post! This is something I really want to do, maybe next year. Do you need to know French beforehand while applying for the visa? What if you want to live somewhere else in France?

    • Hey Liz, glad you liked the post! And no, you don’t need to know French- but you do have to write a letter to the government in French about how you want to learn French. (that makes sense, right?) Just stick it in Google Translate, or send it to me, I’d be happy to help! And there are au pair placements for all over France, so no worries if you don’t want Paris.

  3. I’m thinking about maybe trying to work as an au pair for a bit next spring/summer, after I finish applying to medical school, so this information was really fun for me to read. thanks for that! but I do have a question – how do your friends get around taking classes if they’re on student visas? do you have to prove you’re enrolled somewhere in order to qualify for a student visa?

  4. Great post! Looks like you got a really sweet financial set-up with your family! I only got paid 80euros per week, and I had to pay for my own classes and airline ticket. When I came back to the US, I had exactly $100. haha. But my family was in Paris and couldn’t speak English, so in that way, ça en valait la peine. In my opinion, being an au pair is one of the most authentic ways to travel. Love the picture of you with the kids!

  5. I’d recommend going through an agency to find an au pair or nanny job. When I came to Switzerland from the US, I had the assurance of an agency that the family I was working for was already vetted. Plus, you can potentially make more money. (I made 3000 Euros a week + had my own apartment & car). Check out for super jobs in Europe and worldwide – they placed me!

  6. Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for this post. I will be an au pair in Paris beginning in September. A lot of what you said is super helpful, and I wish I would have been able to see this before I chose my family because I had no clue about negotiating wages! I just took the offer of 300 euros a month which I am a little concerned about. They’ll also be paying for my navigo, room and board (of course). I feel like since I have accepted the job I can’t really say anything about wanting at least 80 euros weekly…do you have any suggestions for me?

    • I would definitely try to negotiate! It never hurts to try, and I would just explain to them reasonably and rationally that you will need a bigger budget to live comfortably in Paris… otherwise you’ll need to look for another job.

    • I am only getting paid 260 a month but they are splitting my school and airfare with me. Is that good? I get to use their car and go on vacations with them as well. And to who said where to go, I went to nad I must say SKYPE SKYPE SKYPE that is the only way to know the family whatever site you use. That is how I met mine and you really get to know them (they only speak french which shouldd be fun!)

    • 260 is pretty low actually, it’s the lowest legal limit. I think it depends a lot on the set-up though- if you have your own apartment or the kids are a bit older than it might be worth taking. Don’t decide too soon and keep looking until you find a suitable family!

  7. That post was amazing! So informative!! I’ve always thought that would be a great thing to do and had friends that we au pairs in Switzerland, but it’s nice to hear all the details! Thanks!

    • Hello Au Pair/Nanny, We are Foxwell Family from the USA,we need an honest and God fearing Au Pair that’s willing to take good care of my 2 kids for me….

      If you are interested,please send your CV to the following email address…

      Foxwell Family…

  8. This is really clear and helpful! I was on the other side of this as a kid. We had au pairs from Holland and Sweden when I was little. Both studied at the local community college and then university and drove us around to various afternoon activities while my parents were at work. A lot of people ask me about how to live and work in other countries, and I think becoming an au pair is a good option (and one that few people know much about!) Enjoy France.

  9. This “How to” was incredibly helpful. I’ve always wanted to au pair. Maybe I’ll look into it after I’m done teaching English in Spain. I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences so far!

  10. I’m worried that the French Government is going to read this and track down all your friends who are now in the country illegally!!!! I wouldn’t advise dropping out of school; in the UK they are on a manhunt for ANYONE who has done this. BUT what I really wanted to write is – thank you for sharing this. I’ve always wondered how to become an Au Pair, and whilst I’m too old for it now (30), I’ll bookmark this so that i can recommend it as a resource to others.

  11. Hey Ashley,

    I am living in IGNY as an Au Pair and was wondering if there are any repercussions to ‘breaking’ the contract that you make initially as required by the French Gov’t? I mean, finding a new family. Can you just change your mind? They are asking me, however, to work more than 30 hours a week and I thought it would be less.

    If you don’t know, do you or does anyone else know where I can do research on this?


    • Hi Rachel, Thanks for your question. As far as I know you are allowed to break contract at any time- a lot of my friends did that and had no problems. (Well, besides to awkwardly running into her old host mother at the grocery store when she said she had left the country, but that’s another story.) Before leaving I might try negotiating with them, and reminding them that you legally can’t work more than 30 hours a week. I know it’s hard but you can do it!

  12. Hi Ashley! This is SUPER helpful as being an Au Pair in France for a summer is something I’ve wanted to do for a while! However, I am a bit worried about the school. You said in a comment above that your friends just quit, but was this university? If so did they still have to pay fees such as tuition? And if you were to do school and stick to it, is one class good, or is it not enough or too expensive?
    Thanks so much!

    • No, this wasn’t university, it was a French instruction school like the Alliance Francaise. I found having one class two times a week was fine, it was just important to work hard on my own- but if you’re serious about learning French, maybe two classes four times a week would be best, all up to you!

  13. So I wanted to clarify, you have to be in school to be an au pair? I just finished getting my two BA’s here in California so does that mean I couldn’t do it? And I’m 25, going on 26 – is there an age limit to this as well? And do you need prior experience? Because I’ve only ever baby-sat my younger sister, haha. Thanks!

    • Hi, Desiree! You actually don’t have to be in school to be in au pair, you just have to enroll in school in France (like a language school) in order to get a student visa. And you’re fine on age until you’re 30 in France. And no prior experience necessary for most families! Hope that answers your questions :)

  14. Hi Ashley,

    I’ve recently moved to Paris to become an au pair.

    I stumbled upon your blog before I arrived when I was looking for advice on becoming an au pair in France. This post, along with lots of your others were soo helpful when deciding whether this was an opportunity I wanted to pursue, so thankyou!!! :)

    And from the looks of it, you’re sound like you’re having an amazing time in Asia!

  15. Great read – as an au pair in Austria it’s interesting to hear about how it is in other countries! I’m thinking about trying to get au pair work in France next too so thanks for some really helpful information!

  16. Love this post!

    But do you have any info about breaking an au pair contract or finding ANOTHER host family?

    I recently moved to Paris as an au pair, but the relationship between myself and the host mother has turned toxic.
    I really want to stay in Paris and was wondering how to find another host family (short notice) OR if you have any information about breaking a contract?

    Any info is much appreciated. THANKS SO MUCH!

    • Hi, Jessica! Oh no, that’s never a good situation to be in. To find another family I would definitely check the Paris au pair facebook groups (there are 3 or 4 so join them all). Girls post jobs there all the time. As far as leaving the family I’d give them a week notice and then just go- you can definitely break contract from what I’ve heard. Good luck and bonne courage!

  17. Hey Ashley!
    i m Puujee, from Mongolia can i ask something?
    i really want to work as an au pair bu now i dont know well how will i find any english speaking country specially in USA.
    there r some agency here but they r require many things
    pls can u give me some advice?


    • Hi, Puujee! Thanks for your comment! I’ve never had a commenter from Mongolia so that’s pretty special. I’m so sorry I actually don’t know anything about becoming an au pair if you aren’t American :(. I would check though, that’s a great site for finding a family!

  18. Hi Ashley!

    Your blog has been super helpful and interesting(I’ve literally stalked the entire thing). Also, I want to thank you for responding to all my emails about au pairing in Paris!

    I’m just starting my travel/living in Paris blog if you want to check it out! (Sorry for the shameless plug!)

  19. Hey Ashley! I have a question for you that I can’t seem to find anywhere. I am in the process of becoming an au pair in Spain, and I was thinking about the money situation. Did you set up a bank account or anything, or do you just get paid in cash and keep that? I’d be afraid of losing it/getting it stolen, but I don’t know how hard it would be to get a bank account abroad. Do you mind sharing what you do? Thanks!

  20. This was actually really helpful and I’m really glad I came across this. I’ve been so stuck with wanting to travel but also be able to do something I love and go places I’ve never been before and someone told me about being an au pair considering I can’t seem to get a job (any job involving kids or not) here in LA for the past 7 months! This was really informative and I’ve kept your blog on my favorites on my computer haha. You’re really kind in answering peoples questions and I respect that incredibly!

  21. Hi Ashley! First off, so much helpful info here! I’ve got a question about visas. I’m going to Spain, and I’m having a hard time figuring out this visa thing. I’ve just read so many different things. I know it’s probably different in Spain than France. My family is sending me their contract they wrote up….what do I need to do with that? Do I really need to be enrolled in classes before I get my visa? I was going to maybe take a language class after a little while and I get settled in. I was going to work on getting my visa over there since I’m leaving in a month and I can be there for 3 months with my passport, right? Can I get it over there if I bring my birth certificate, and all that good stuff? Also, what do you recommend in regards toward getting some sort of ID over there? Can I even do that? If I have an international DL do you think that would be good enough identification to carry around? Sorry for all the questions, but thank you!!!!!

    • Hey, Rachel! I’m not 100% sure about the Spain visa but yes, I do think you need to be enrolled in classes before you get your visa (for France, but again that could be totally different from Spain.) I would check with someone who has worked in Spain. If you fly to Spain without a visa you will be under a tourist’s visa and I have no idea if you could get a student visa once you’re there… sorry! And you don’t need any special id- just have your passport and your driver’s license!

  22. Hello Ashley I have always wanted to be an au pair in Europe. Firstly I know of countries that accept kenyan au pairs I.e. Sweden France Germany Norway Denmark and Netherlands but I have for two years tried without positive outcome to find a family! Could you help me out.
    please Ashley i am ready to share my email with any person that could help me!

    • have you tried an agency? i really like using, i have had a lot of families contact me and i have only had my profile up for 3 weeks.

  23. I am so happy i came across this post! I am in the process of talking to families in europe and the UK and have been having such a hard time hearing about other girls who have gone out to au pair without an agency! you make it sound very doable! what is your home country? or what passport do you have? It seems to me it is pretty hard to get a visa in some countries if you are an american. for school, what are the requirements? do you have to be a full time student or just take language classes? also any other tips on negotiating salary? I have a lot of experience and have worked my wages up over the last couple years but do not want to scare families off by asking too much.

    • Great questions, Erika! My home country is the US and no, you don’t have to be a full-time student, you can just take language classes. I would negotiate the salary before you get to their house and get 100 euros a week or up. Basically say that you won’t take anything less than that and I’m sure they will accomodate you! Otherwise try another family.

  24. Thank you for all your information! I’ve been interested in becoming an au pair for a while now, I just didn’t know how to go about it!

  25. Hi Ashley,
    You’ve done a great job with this blog! I was googling information on au pairing in France and I ran across it — a ton of useful information! And I read many of your other blog entries as well.

    I have a few questions for you – I’m going to be an au pair in France starting in August of this year. I’ve already found a family and we’ve begun the process of getting the documents underway. You said above that you had a French cell phone while you were in France, did you also have an American cell phone or did you do without one? I’m trying to find the most affordable and smart way of keeping in contact with friends and family without having it be entirely via skype.
    Also, you said you opened up a French bank account. Was that hard to do or to close out? I’ve had other people tell me to just get a Charles Schwab account that will not take out ATM fees but I’m not sure what the option would be that would be the most practical. Thanks!

    • Hi Marianne, I actually didn´t have an American cell phone, just an iPod touch I used when I had wifi to check my email/use the internet. It was actually surprisingly easy to open and close a French bank account- I´d highly recommend doing that when you´re making euros. You won´t really need the Schwab account unless you want to withdraw money from your American account while in Europe. I actually didn´t have a Schwab account while I was in Europe and it was just fine!

  26. Bonjour,
    I’m currently studying abroad in Denmark this semester and want to stay in Europe longer. My student visa expires at the end of May and then I was planning on using a tourist visa to travel around Europe this summer. However, Europe is expensive and I’m beginning to think it might be better to work as an au pair for a month or so to help support myself. I was wondering what the average length of au pair jobs are, whether it’d be worth working for just a month, and would a work visa still be neccessary for just that short amount of time and if so, could I still get it in time for this summer?

  27. Hi Ashley,
    Your blog as been super helpful, and I am sorry if I missed it but have you or could you do a follow up with the info you have gotten or questions from all these comments?
    I see you asked a few people more information and I am curious as to what you found out.
    I am looking to go to France in the fall and I am getting too much interest on aupair world without enough being serious or going somewhere, so I am looking for an agency but I am not sure which one to choose and I don’t want to choose wrong as some of the fees are pretty steep.

    • Hey, Meredith! That’s a great idea- I’ve been meaning to do a follow-up post. I have never used an agency but I know a few girls who found families on and were very happy. Maybe that would be a good place to start? Best of luck!

  28. Hello, I’m a French/Parisian (Montparnasse) mum considering hiring an au Pair for next school year. (2 boys 4 and 6 years old). I’ve been doing some research on internet but I wonder if my proposition would work : I need 15h of work / week (only after school – Fridays and Sundays free and only 3h saturdays) and no work (house tidying….) to do except watch the boys. but I can only offer the bedroom which would not be in our appt but in my mum’s (at Alesia, 15 mins away) she’s alone in her appt.

    Thanks for your advice : is it feasible and where to post my proposition ?

  29. We are a recruiting company of Au-pairs. At the moment we need an Au-pair for Spain from 15 of June to 15 of September. If you are available and you like work with children, contact us to

    I hope hear from you soon.

    Thank you.


  30. hi Ashley

    i’m doing my last year in high school this year i realy want to travel next year but i am clueless about the au pair procedure.i wanted to ask are there specific types of people who are concidered to be au pairs?where can i start because i dont have a passport?or visa sorry for asking such senceless quetions.

  31. one last quetion i also want to study will i be able to do that because it seems to me being an au pair is all about fun.

  32. Hey Ashley. I’ve been reading the posts I’m from South Africa and in the process of applying to do au pair abroad. I’ve been thinking of doing it in France but I do have one question though I know it might be senseless but I’d still like to know. Won’t one experience racism a lot though since France is still one of the countries dat don’t have a lot of mixed race individuals. Please help

    • Hi Prudy, actually France has a high percentage of African immigrants, especially in Paris. While there still is racism, there are still many mixed race individuals! Hope this helps.

  33. Hi everyone,

    My brother is trying to find an Au pair starting in September

    He lives in the north west of France in the nice suburb of Le Conquet close to Brest.

    Need to speak some basic French to be able to communicate with the kids.

    My brother wife will be doing a training 200km from home so she will be away during the week.

    My brother works quite a lot as well.

    As an Au pair for them you need to take care of 2 little cuties..

    Hugo will be one 1 in September and Julie is 5.

    They both go to day care or school 4 days a week so you will only need to bring them to school at 9am and pick them up at 4.30pm .

    You need to cook for them, bath them, need to help with the household chores and do some of ironing.

    The Wednesday will be a full day with the kids as they don’t go to school.

    During the weekend and holidays you can chose if you want to do some activities on your own or with them.

    They can pay for your flight if you commit to stay with them until end of June 2015.

    They will give u a small salary to cover your expenses, feed you, take care of you and you will have a nice bedroom for yourself overlooking the water! They can also help to pay for some French lessons, that’s negotiable!

    My brother and his wife are mid 30, very friendly, love life, food.

    If you are interested please send me a short description about you and I can give you more details about them, photo of the family, of the house!

    I live in sydney, so I don’t have the same timezone as them…

    Please make sure if you want to apply that:
    You DON’T SMOKE!!
    you are 20 or over
    U are responsible!

    No time waster!

    My email:

    Thanks a lot!


  34. Ashley, I have been trying to research this forever and have not been able to find anything concrete. I am currently a college student during my 3rd year and wanted to take some time off to be an Au Pair. My only problems seem to be this: I didn’t graduate high school, instead I got my GED at 22 (kind of embarrassing, but I was going through a rough time and had to support myself). I’m just wondering if this is going to pose a problem for me?
    Second, Is it required that you have studied french at least once in high school or college, thus resulting in the proof for this? I had found a family once before whose DIRECCTE asked for this. I took Spanish, not French. BUT, I was in Paris this past summer and took a 1 month, 9 hour a week French beginners course, and this semester I will be taking a French class at my college. Do you think it would pose a problem if I submit the letter from the place I took a beginners French language course in Paris and send my transcripts or a letter from my teacher stating that I am currently taking a French class at so and so time.

    A little insight if you have any would be great!

    • Hi Paula, I’m actually not entirely sure on this one! But no, you don’t need to have studied French- I never did. And just Google Translate the letter you have to send the French government saying you want to learn to speak French in France- that’s what I did!

  35. Urgent! family Looking for nanny,aupair,caregiver and driver (USA)

    About the family…..

    We are Spanish family basically in the USA. we would enjoy

    someone with lots of energy and enthusiasm. Having English as a first

    language is not required and in fact that you want to work with us,

    you are entitle to be respectful, loyal and honest and also hard

    working somebody,We live in Los Angeles,California.USA

    We need urgently a position of Nanny,Driver,Au pair and care giver

    Nanny…….$2500 monthly and $150 for weekly allowance

    Driver……$2800 monthly and $150 for weekly allowance

    Au pair……$2300 monthly and $150 for weekly allowance

    Care giver..$2400 monthly and $150 for weekly allowance

    You shall have a private accommodation with furnished sitting room and

    bedroom and also a private bathroom. A Fixed land phone and an

    Internet ready computer. Do well to send us your references or resume,

    and we would get in touch with them. Should the outcome be positive,

    we would send you a Contract Letter. We shall discuss travel

    arrangements in due course of which I would be of generous assistance

    to you.

    send your resume/CV directly to the family

    email address :

    Mr John Larry

    We sincerely look forward to hearing from you.

    For the family we need you urgent

  36. Hi Ashley,
    I’m interested in becoming an au pair through Au Pair Paris and I am just wondering if you needed even a basic knowledge of French when you were interviewed. Also, how difficult was it to communicate with your host family before you gained a better understanding of French? Thank you so much for all of this information!

    • I actually didn’t know any French when I started- almost every family will know English so no worries. And communicating was fine, everyone spoke English though I did speak French with the parents through the second half of the stay when I could speak better.

  37. Hi Au Pair, I’m leaving my current host family,I have worked for a year and half and my mum is sick i wanna go back to my country guilty conscious to help search for a suitable replacement.The family live in Las Vegas,Nevade USA they have 2 kids 2 and 6 years and you will be working 5 days a week and 7 hours daily while weekend you are free and you can enroll in language school while the host family will be responsible for the tutor fees,feeding and accommodation is also free and you will be using a private car.The family already enroll with an Au pair agency if you will be willing to switch your agency feel free to contact me.

    • hey,i’m ij,i’m a nigerian and i’m 20 ,i’ve heard a lot about au pairing and would like to try it,i love cooking and i love being around children,i think i would really enjoy staying with your host ,hope to hear from you soon.

  38. Hello!

    First let me say thank you for this blog! I recently discovered au pair (ing) and I am totally interested in going to France, preferably Paris. I was wondering if you would mind giving me a step by step guide on how to become au pair coming from the US. I know you mentioned visas, agencies and schooling but what comes first? Should I find a language class and then a family that’s close to where I’ll be studying? Should I apply for my visa before I contact anyone? Please let me know what you think.

    Thank you!!

    • Find a family (either on your own or through an agency), then sign up at a language school (and always ask the family if they’d paid first), then apply for your visa. That’s how I did it anyway. And I am starting an au pair website that will be up soon so stay tuned!

  39. Thanks for the blog, really helpful information, I am a South African, fluent in English, I have registered with a few sites to find a host family in France & learn french, this is however proving to be a difficult mission, if anybody can assist, please reply

  40. Hey Ashley,

    Great blog! It’s really informative and interesting. I was wondering if you (or anyone) knows of a company called planet aupair. Are they a legitimate company?


  41. Hi Ashley

    Its such a lovely site and nice to hear from an aupair about her experiences. I wonder if you could asssist? Im based in South Africa and looking for an aupair as my current aupair finishes in August 2015. I have a 2,5 year old son and i have had 2 previous aupairs from Germany who have been brilliant!!! Only wish they stayed for longer than a year, as its so traumatic when they leave us :( Do you know of any aupairs who are looking for work directly. They complain that the agencies are a rip off they could use the extra funds when in SA. I have since discovered that the large fee i pay and they pay, is merely an introdcution fee. They dont even get any assistance with obtaining there visas!!! Let me know. If anyone reads my post maybe they can respond :):) Thanks

  42. Hi I am wanting to become an au pair in Denmark. I have a profile on websites like aupairworld and greataupair and countless others. I haven’t paid the fee I’m just the standard member. I’m having difficulties finding families. But it sounds like there are agencies that place you with a family, is this too good to be true? What are some agencies with placement? Thanks!

  43. Dear Ashley and all other readers,

    We are a nice family with 2 polite kids age 7 and 9 living in İstanbul, Turkey.
    We would like to welcome an english native speaker for summer holiday. We live in a big house in Zekeriyakoy ( has 4 floor) so our guest will have a private room and also bathroom. Our expectation is not any housework or something, just to take care kids, play with them and practice English. In summer we will spend our summer holiday in Bodrum, a very popular place in Turkey.
    If any of you interested in discover Turkey and a very mysterious culture, pls. contact with us. We will welcome all comments and questions.
    Wish you all the happiness. Thank you.

  44. I’m talking to a family in France and I just started. I’m hoping to move by the middle of July the latest. I understand all that would go into visa’s, residents card, ect. But if I get on it right away do you think I can manage? Also how hard is it for an American to get a job on the side of Au Pair ‘ing to make extra money. I want to do this so that money can go towards paying off my student loan from school while using my pocket money to sustain me living there and my savings before I move for emergencies only. Thanks! P.S. Love this blog!

    • It’s not technically legal to get a job in addition to au pairing but I think you’d be able to do an internship (internships in France typically pay around 450 euros a month.) That or you could do online work or tutoring, or even more babysitting! I think you can definitely be in France in mid-July if you work fairly quickly. Glad you like the blog! :)

  45. Hey,

    I’m going through the visa process right now to become an au pair in France and I was wondering if you could tell me how long it took for you to get your contract validated by DIRECCTE? I’m trying to figure out when I may be able to schedule my visa appointment and book my ticket.

    I will be just outside Paris, and my family will be using using a DIRRECTE that is also just outside of Paris. If that information helps.


  46. I am currently going through the process of becoming an Au Pain in america, I am just waiting for a few references to go through, I am going to be blogging about it on my blog. I might also make a youtube video going through the process. Haven’t managed to find much on you tube about english aupairs in america and Its something I would watch! shame really, if anyone knows of any english aupair’s in america that have accessible social networking platforms let me know.

  47. Hi Ashley!
    I’ve come across your blog a few times now since I made the decision to Au Pair in France- so much great information! I’ve been in a small town in France since October, and have decided I would like to stay another year but with a new family in Paris. Do you think I’ll have any trouble doing this? I have a 1 year student visa. I’ve read tons of information on renewing, but I’m just unclear on if it matters that I would be with a new family! Also not clear if I should handle this at the prefecture where I live now, or in Paris..

    This is what I’ve found- any thoughts?

    Your original birth certificate + one copy
    A certified translation of your birth certificate + one copy
    Your DIRECCTE contract from the previous year + one copy
    Your DIRECCTE contract for the upcoming year + one copy
    Proof of housing (given to you by your host family)
    Grades/attendance from previous year + one copy
    Your “inscription definitive” for the upcoming school year + one copy
    Copies of your ID page of your passport, your French visa, and your OFII stamp
    49 euros worth of timbres fiscaux that you can buy from any tabac
    Three passport photos

    Thanks so much for any input!


    • Hi Hailee, I’m so sorry but I’m actually not sure! I’ve never renewed a contract and the only American girl I knew who did did it illegally :(. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help :(

  48. Hello!
    I came upon your blog in my Facebook newsfeed and I can definitely say I’m super glad I did. I love traveling and languages and culture and you offered so many way to travel and learn without needing huge funds! I’m from Canada and graduating high school this year and I was wondering if your Au Pair links for America apply to Canadians as well? I’d love to work in France, Spain or Italy and go to school as well – not just for learning the language but to take actual classes (I’m among to be a fashion designer, let’s see how that goes) and I was wondering how does it work/can it? Can you only take classes as they work around your Au pair duties?

    • Hi Olivia, funny you mention working in fashion- one of my best friends in Paris was an au pair in the evenings but spent her days interning at a fashion house! So it’s definitely possible. I have testimonies from several Canadian au pairs on my au pair website, So it’s definitely possible!

    • Hi,

      My name is Barbara.
      I’m living in St Barths (French Caribbean Islands) and I’m looking for an au pair to help me first to take care of my baby just few hours per day and to work with me on my project! I juste create my brand and I’m looking for a fashion designer to help me to develop the collection! If you are interested don’t hesitate to contact me I can give you more informations! Thanks for your answer!

    • Hi Nicole, I apologize but I’m actually not sure! I do believe it’s more difficult to get an au pair/student visa if you are from most countries in Asia and Africa unfortunately, but I would definitely look into it.

  49. Hi! I had been looking into being an au pair and found this article you posted which helped solve some of my questions. I was hoping to ask you how you lived in France financially? Was the pay sufficient enough? Also what age do you recommend someone should start seriously looking into being an au pair? Also is it possible to au pair only in summers? I have heard from other girls when we were about 16 of them au pairing in the USA during summer. Also other than finding host families on au pair websites do you have any other recommendations? Also I’m interested in being an Au Pair in London or Spain? I speak fluent Spanish also so I wouldn’t mind traveling to a Spanish speaking country. Do you have any personal recommendations on where to start out? Sorry for all the questions!

    • No worries! Let me just try to answer all of them. You definitely can au pair in Spain but I’m not totally sure about England. The pay was fine, it was 125 euros a week but I didn’t have to pay for my flight, schooling, cell phone, accommodation or food. So it was pretty much purely spending money. I’d definitely recommend looking for a family on You can au pair all year. And the ages depend on the country- I believe the ages in France are 18-30. Hope this all helps!

  50. Im a single mother, i was really just wondering if there are any opportunities where Id be able to bring my child with me?

    • Hi Kelsey, That’s a really good question! I’m actually not entirely sure of how that would work- unfortunately I’ve never met an au pair who brought her child. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  51. hey guys I’m Beaudine from South africa I would love to be an au pair,I love being around kids,right now I’m finishing my schooling and maybe within two years time I would love to be an au pair

  52. I loved This post, i just found your Blog and feel in love instantly! im currently an Au Pair in USA, im living in San Francisco. I just did a Post all about life as an Au Pair! your more than welcome to check it out. keep up the good work.

  53. Hello thanks for posting it helped me so much. I have a question though using the Aupairworld site you suggested I have gotten an offer from a British family who live right outside of London they really want me to work for them but they said the last american they had was only able to get a 6 month non working Visa which they found to short an they also said she was stressed being unable to work a side job to cover her bills in the state. Their will be a lot of off hours so the pay is kinda low so I would like to be able to work a side job. What kind of Visa can I get to be able to do this? I was thinking probley the student but I don’t want to do full time school one class at the most or nothing if possible how do u go about getting around the school thing without getting in trouble or what can I do . Help I really want this position. Please email me

    Thanks so much
    Haley :)

    • Hi Haley, thanks for commenting. Unfortunately I don’t believe that Americans are able to get side jobs in the UK while on an au pair or student visa. I would definitely post your question in the Aupairworld forums. Best of luck to you!

  54. Hi Ashley!
    I am in the process of talking to several families about being their Au Pair… in this game of tango how do I let the family I like the best know that I want to be their Au Pair? Should I wait for them to ask me or do I state I have picked them? (I know your story is different but what would you say is the best practice?)
    Also, what is some advice for negotiating more “salary” money per week?
    Do you think it is better for me to have my own space or really live in the same quarters with my family? I am on the fence because I know I will want my own space to separate work but I also want to be around them all the time to become fluent.
    All advice is much appreciated! Thanks in advance :)

    • Hi Paula. Those are great questions! So if you’re on the fence I would say “I’m really interested in working for you but will need to be paid X amount.” Then you can negotiate from there. I would say if you want to learn the language live with the family, but otherwise it’s preferable to live alone. I’m personally I’m glad I lived with the family as it helped me learn French and taught me a ton about French culture. Best of luck to you!

  55. Hi Ashley – I am so inspired by your blog and living in Europe is something I have always wanted to do! I have an undergrad degree in public relations and I would like to obtain my masters abroad, hopefully Europe! I can speak some spanish, but just traveled to Paris recently on vacation and would love to study there.. Any recommendations on where to start and how to au pair and go to school simultaneously??

    Thanks in advance! :)

    • Great question! So I don’t know anyone who went to university full-time and au paired. I honestly think that would be a little too much! So maybe get your masters and focus on that full-time? Just an idea :)

  56. Hello Ashley,
    I just want to ask if can i work as aupair even im over age…im 33 years old and i found my host family in spain but the required age is 17-30. Is there a possible to work there even if im over age?

  57. My name is Lynn Becker, i am British and my husband name is Chucks Becker an American. We are a fun loving and energetic family currently living in New York city but we will be relocating to

    Hertsfordshire soon and we need an aupair/nanny that can take good care of our children with little or no supervision.
    We work in the Ministry of USA Catholic Mission and we have been transferred to head our new Parish in Herts so that is the reason for our relocation to United Kingdom.
    We hope to move to our new home in Barkway Rd, Herts in 2 weeks as soon as we confirm your commitment to work as the next aupair in my family.
    We are looking for someone very friendly who is prepared to be part of our family and look after our child appropriately when we get to Herts. Your main task will be to care for our adorable

    Children, Dan and Lilly. Dan is 5 years old while Lilly is 7. Occasionally you will do light household work like cleaning and ironing. You will take Dan and Lilly to and from Kindergarten and also to

    play dates. email me now on…. Thanks

  58. Hi, I’m an au pair in Paris and I’m switching families – is there anything I have to do in regards to DIRECCTE or OFII? Since I need to at least get the address changed on the vignette in my passport. Also, I’m already 30 (I was 29 when I started with my first family) and I heard that you absolutely have to be 29 and under to be eligible for a new contract. But on all the websites, etc. it sounds like it’s 18-30 inclusive, so I should still be ok?? Please let me know if you have any info on this!

  59. Thank you so much for this article: I’m currently looking at applying to become an au pair and this has given me new things to think about etc :)

  60. Hi Achley,
    It’s interesting to hear about this article,I’m currently looking at applying to become an au pair;what I have to do?
    I’m interior Architecte ,talking French fluently,English I can manage with.
    Thank you ,Vivien

  61. Dear Ashley
    I am from Uganda East of Africa, I hope you know where that is.
    Thank you for a very organic and extensive Aupair insight blog.
    It is truly an award winning Aupair travel blog.
    Please Ashley, do you know of an Aupair Agency that accepts Aupairs from East Africa. I very much like to Aupair abroad but I have been frustrated by all the agencies I have contacted. Some do not even reply to
    my inquiries. I believe East africans are letf out when it comes to the aupair program.
    I have tried online Aupair platforms and still the same story. Personally, I would like to use an agency because of obvious reasons.
    Please help me as much as you can. If you have personal contacts of families still help me with them. I really need your help.
    Thank you.

  62. Hi Ashley! First of all I’d like to thank you for this post, and for this blog! :) it’s pretty much a gem plus so far it’s the most helpful one out of the few Au pair blogs. Keep it up. Anyway, I am currently messaging various families so that I could hopefully au pair in France/Switzerland this early September 2016. The family that most recently messaged me offer to pay me 80 euros per week for 30 hours. I have a certificate in Child Care from the Red Cross, a Food Safety certificate from the Southern NV Health Department, and I’m in the process of obtaining my TESL certificate from the University of Toronto. But, I’m not 100% sure if this is a good enough reason to negotiate wages! The 2 kids are between 10-12 years old and I’ll have to take them to school walking since it’s only a 10 minute walk and then I’ll have to pick them up and help them do their English homework, entertain, etc. The weekends will be free. And I won’t have to cook except for the occasional Wednesday. Oh, and I’ll have to vacuum and sweep once a week.

    Of every 2 week vacation, 1 will be free. They’ll also be paying for my bus passes to Paris as they live in Sevres, basic cell/internet service, and of course will provide me with a room and board with office and kitchen. They also tell me that I am welcome to join them when they go travel someplace else. What do you think about this setup? Is it alright or meh? What do you advise me? Also, um, I can’t believe I’m admitting this online but, I didn’t graduate high school due to some personal issues that I was going through at the time… Will this be an problem when attempting to obtain a French student visa? Your advice is very much needed and appreciated! :) …Ugh. Sorry for the essay, but I just didn’t know who/where else to ask. Cause as far I’m concerned, your the Au-pair expert.

    Lots of love from Summerlin, Nevada!
    – Janelle Lucky

    PS: Yeah, Lucky is actually my middle name. Ironic, ain’t it?! ?

    • Everything sounds great but I would definitely request a higher salary, especially considering your qualifications. I would shoot for around 150 euros, but settle for 120 if necessary. Hope that helps!

  63. Hi Ashley,

    I wanted to inquire about the competitiveness of the program, and is there a time of year when au pairs are especially needed?

    Thanks so much :)

  64. Hi Ashley, thank you for this post. It helped me a lot. I am currently in the process of interviewing for a couple families to start being an au pair in January. One of the people I interviewed with (they live in France) said that I might encounter problems because I have never taken any French classes before. They said sometimes the ministry there asks for validation from a school that I have had beginner courses in French in my home country. Did you deal with this or know anything about this? I am using au pair world and their website under “Becoming an au pair in France” says you have to have a basic knowledge of French but I do not see where I have to submit anything proving that on my end of the paperwork.
    Thanks so much!

  65. I’ve always considered trying to be an Au pair and this guide definitely makes me want to try it! I don’t have much experience with children in the past, but I’m thinking I could do it! :)

  66. Ashley,

    When you were an Au Pair in France did you keep your American cell phone number? That is something I am considering now, what the best option would be so I can connect in Europe and America.

    Thank you

  67. Hi Ashley, I am ideally going to France in a couple months, but I can’t afford to pay for the classes the entire time I will be there. Plus a big part of my bachelors degree is French so taking classes for six months or more wouldn’t really help me as much as being immersed in the culture. Is it really possible to stop going to school after a month or two like you said?

  68. Thank you so much for this post, it was really helpful! I have a question, I am currently considering a family who wants me to speak only English with the kids. My goal is to become fluent in French, so I’m just not sure if speaking English for 4 hours a day would be a huge problem. I saw that you wrote if you could change anything, it would be to find a family who will allow you to speak French, so I was just wondering what your goals were as far as learning French, and if this was a huge frustration for you or not!

    • I’m glad you liked it, Emma! It was a pretty big frustration for me. I worked around but would have learned MUCH faster if I had been allowed to speak French with the kids. However it can be hard to find a family with whom that’s a possibility.

  69. Hello , this is a great post . I really enjoyed it while i am reading it . so informative and great sharing . I wander if this Au Pair family host accept males as well , not only females . As for my case i am 24 years old – male , non European citizen . Thanks for any feedback . and i do really appreciate the post .

  70. Hello! I’m currently in High school (going into Junior year). I’ve been taking French for 2 years now and am interested in being an Au Pair. Are there any requirements? Do you need to have an associates/bachelors degree? Or do you need to have a certain major or take a course? Also, do you have any suggestiond for Au Pair in Italy? Thank you in advance! I really enjoyed reading this article! ❤

    • Hi Sarah, glad you enjoyed it! Some families may want an au pair with a college degree but most don’t care. I knew plenty of girls who were 18 or 19 – in most countries, the youngest age for au pairs is 18. Hope this helps and best of luck!

  71. Hello Miss, thank you for writting this. It’s really helpful :)
    I also want to go au pair usa without an agency. But I read J1 visa requirements this link, they said that the au pair have to be interviewed by the agency. Also, the,they said that au pair can only apply for this visa through one of the 16 designated agencies on this link
    so, can I really go aupair without agencies and is it free?
    Thank you a lot for reading my cmt.

  72. Hi ashley! Is it even possible that I can be a part of au pair even if I’m fron Philippines? I want to experience being an au pair and to help those children someday ? thank you and God Bless

  73. Thank u so much Ashley. I’ve always wanted to do au pair and u have provided a lot of useful information. May God bless u. I also want to know that can u do au pair if u ar married. Do they accept someone who is married or they only prefer those who ar still single. I’m in Zimbabwe and its hard to get a visa to UK,USA,Canada, France etc. Can u pliz give me some tips on how I can get a visa.

  74. Am Adeola, a Nigerian. How can I really get a visa to france or other countries as an au pair, but I can’t speak french

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