The Everyday Life of An Au Pair in Paris
If you love children and want to travel, working overseas as an Au Pair could be a perfect option for you. Hold your horses though, before you actually move abroad and start working as an Au Pair, you’ll want to do some research about what it’s like. You probably already have some ideas about what life will be like. Some of your ideas may be spot on, while others might need some tweaking! This is where Keely comes in! She’s a Global Au Pair from Australia currently living in Paris. And below is what her weekly routine looks like in her own words.
Mornings & Afternoons - FREE
I am lucky enough to have mornings free! But keep in mind that not all Au Pairs do, it just depends on what your host family needs! I had a lot of free time which I got to spend exploring parts of Paris, going to different museums and meeting up with the new friends that I’ve made.
One of the things I did ask my agency before coming here was: what can I do to fill up all my free time? After all, I was used to working and going to university and all of a sudden I was going to be working nights, with little to do during my day. You are probably thinking “but you live in Paris?” - I don’t blame you! but seeing as I had already been to Paris before, I was able to do some of the less “touristy” things, although in Paris there isn’t much that isn’t “touristy”.
When you first arrive you have a lot of drive and energy to go out and explore! For the first 2-3 months I was out constantly doing new things and exploring new places. Once you have gotten a bit more settled in you might find you are doing less of these sorts of things. In a way, you may feel pressured to always be doing something all the time because of where you are living. But try not to worry about that, it’s normal! It doesn’t mean you have become lazy or unmotivated, but that you have just adapted to your life for the next year!
Related: What it's like to Au Pair Abroad
School Pick Up - 5:45pm
After I would pick up the kids from school they would usually have a snack and then we would start doing their homework, if they had any that day. It’s important to only help them with their homework and not do their homework for them! Once homework was done, then it’s play time.
That may all seem pretty easy, but you have to remember that kids can be difficult at times. Sometimes they don’t want to do their homework, or have a shower or go to bed, and sometimes they just want their parents. But you will learn to get through this and adapt to the kids you look after and their needs!
Parents arrive home - 8pm
Sometimes the parents might need to stay later at work or they want to go out to dinner together without the kids, which means more like a 10-11pm finish. So you may also need to make sure that the kids get into their pyjamas or have a shower or bath. If I worked later than 8pm, I would also have to make myself and the kids’ dinner and then put them to bed. Of course, once they were in bed I could just hang out until the parents got home.
French classes - 10.15am – 12.40pm
School usually only runs for about 6 hours a week plus homework, so it really doesn’t take up that much of your time either. So don’t be worried that you’re going to spend all your time studying! The time slots of classes vary depending on your level and availability. My class times changed every trimester. You can usually choose but you have to make sure to get in quick, especially if you have to work mornings - it is important that you have a time slot that works for you!
School pick up - 3.45pm
I would play a lot of board games with the kids or we would make pompoms or other crafts. It’s important to ask the kids what they want to do and what they want to play with. Within reason of course! I had friends whose kids really liked to read, so they would read books together! So it really depends on the child you’re looking after and their age.
Gymnastics - 4:45 pm
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would take the little girl I looked after to gymnastics. This meant that as soon as we got home I would do her hair and she would need to get changed then we would be straight out the door for the 20 minute walk to gymnastics. Sometimes this would be a bit stressful because we were working on such a tight schedule. The kids you look after like any others, will most likely have extracurricular activities whether it’s a team sport or an instrument or language classes.
School Pick up - 11:45am
In France, some kids only go to school for half day on Wednesdays and others don’t go at all, so this is usually your longest working day. But it can also work in reverse, sometimes the parents would be able to come home early or have days off and other times the grandparents would come and visit so they would pick up the kids and you can have a late start!
take the metro to English classes - 1.15PM
The metro is probably the easiest and fastest way to get around. But it’s important to remember that metro stops aren’t actually that far away from each other, so walking every once in a while will do you some good. Also Paris really isn’t that big, once you do some walking around you will realise how accessible it is by foot. If I have any advice to give it’s to walk! Paris is a city that is best seen by foot. You can always google walking tours in Paris and find some fun self-guided walking tours that will probably take you to places you have never been and parts of Paris you never even knew existed. My school would have free guided walking tours every Monday and Tuesday as well as film screenings, so make sure to check if your school runs any sort of activities.
French classes - 1PM – 2.30PM
School pick up - 3.45PM
gymnastics - 4.45PM
parents come home - 8PM
I lived in a separate apartment and not with my host family, this has both its negatives and positives. For example, it is really nice to have your own space and that way you can really separate your work and personal life. However, it also means I didn’t spend that much time with my host family! We would eat together occasionally, but they would also go out to dinner often. This meant that I did spend a lot of time alone in my apartment, which can be lonely but it also allowed me to have a lot of freedom.
If you live with your host family you will probably have the opposite problem, you would most likely really like a little ‘alone time’! In these kinds of situations, it can be hard to know when you actually ‘finish work’ and can do your own thing! While I could just go to my apartment when I was finished, Au Pairs who live with their host families are more or less always at the workplace!
A positive of having Au Pair friends is that you can vent to each other about your lives as Au pairs, and you have common ground from day one. They won’t necessarily be from your home country either, so it is a great way to learn and connect with people from all around the world. On the other hand, sometimes it is nice to not talk about your job or kids but sometimes you just can’t escape it :P.
French Classes - 10.15AM – 12.40PM
Usually only 6 hours a week with very minimal homework. Once you get used to it, you realise you have a lot of free time on your hands. I don’t know about you guys, but I am someone that needs to be constantly stimulated, I always need to be doing something. Which is funny, because part of the reason I became an Au Pair was to have time off.
School pick up - 5.45pm
Parents come home - 8pm
Saturday & Sunday
Typically I would have weekends off, but I did occasionally babysit for my host family. I would say in the 6 months I have been here, it has maybe been 4 times maximum! This is also a bonus because it means you can go on weekend trips. I myself went on a few to Brittany, Normandy, the Loire Valley and even London.
So there you have it folks. The everyday life of an Au Pair can be challenging at times, but by far one of the best decisions you’ll make in your life. You’ll get to travel, make some pocket money, learn the language, make friends and immerse yourself in a brand new culture. The Global Work & Travel Co. is going to be there from day one, getting you set up and ready to kick off those dreams of travelling the world that you have always had. Start your overseas au pair adventure today by clicking the lovely green button below.