You might want to move to France one day and work there. You would like to have an idea of what it is like to work in France. What to expect if you work as an employee in France. Let's talk about it!

Don't forget that at the end of this episode I will explain the vocabulary and expressions I used. So don't panic if you don't understand everything I say.

Let's start by talking about the hierarchy in France. This is perhaps the most negative thing about working in France. The hierarchy in France is considered archaic, old, not modern at all. Even if in some companies, especially in start-ups, we feel it less. In most companies, the hierarchy is quite marked.

Relations between superiors and employees are often tense. We notice that superiors do not trust their colleagues very much.

Employees often have the impression that they are constantly supervised, infantilized and not sufficiently considered. The atmosphere is not always good!


Moreover, this is also felt on the organization of the work. If you hope to telework in France, forget it! Telecommuting is not at all popular in France. If you are not at your workplace, you are not considered to be working. So, yes, during the pandemic, companies were forced to open up to telecommuting. However, they did not adopt it. Most French companies quickly forced their employees to come back to their workplace.

Forget about leaving work early even if you have finished all your work. Generally, when you work in France, you have fixed hours. From 9am to 5pm, for example. But, let's imagine that it's 4:30 pm, you've finished your work, you're very early, it will be rather bad to leave your workplace.

If you like short and efficient meetings, you will be disappointed in France. There are often long, boring and often useless meetings.

Let's talk about the positive now.



But first, I'd like to talk to you about something. I'd like to talk to you about Ohlala French Coffee, my French conversation group.

This week, we're going to talk about work, especially happiness and well-being at work in French.

Students and teachers will discuss this topic together through authentic resources and conversation questions.

If you want to express yourself more naturally in French and gain confidence in speaking, then I invite you to join Ohlala French Coffee. At Ohlala French Coffee, you will practice your oral French with other students, learn how to hold conversations in French on various topics, and get corrections and feedback from the teacher on your vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.




The lunch break! The lunch break in France is often sacred. It is an important moment where we take the time to eat and to spend time with our colleagues.

Generally, the lunch break in France lasts one hour, even two hours for some. Eating in France is important! It must be done well and in good company.

Some people appreciate having a long lunch break to relax and have a good time with colleagues before going back to work.

However, it can sometimes be too long. Personally, on the rare occasions when I was employed, I preferred to take a 15/30 minute lunch break and finish my work day early. But, it was not well seen and it was not something that was done. The French lunch break is well anchored in the work culture.



One of the strongest points of the French labour market is the labour legislation. Employees in France are well protected. You can't be exploited or fired for no reason.

You can be sure in France that if you work overtime, extra hours, you will be paid for it: in time or in money.

In addition, employees in France have the right to 5 weeks of paid vacation per year. You can go on vacation for 5 weeks a year and still get the same salary.

Another good news is that in France there are 11 public holidays per year. Public holidays are days when you don't have to work. You will be able to take advantage of them if you work as an employee in France. You might even have the chance to do the bridge!



In terms of relationships with your French colleagues, it will be more relaxed. Generally, between colleagues, we kiss each other if we know each other. So don't be surprised if your colleagues kiss you good morning and say "tu" or "tu" to you. If the atmosphere is friendly at work, most of the time we are on first-name terms.

You will certainly be invited to after-work parties. It is quite common from time to time to have afterwork parties in France. It's a nice time to bond with your colleagues. It is also very common to become friends with your colleagues.



Work vocabulary in French :

Un salarié = employee

La hiérarchie = hierarchy

Archaïque = archaic

Les start-up 

Un supérieur (hiérarchique) = boss, manager

Infantilisé(e) = infantilize

Au beau fixe = be set fair

Le télétravail = teleworking

Des horaires fixes = fixed hours

Un lieu de travail = workplace

Une réunion = a work meeting

À rallonge = extended

Le bien-être = well-being

La pause déj = lunch break

Ancré(e) = anchored

Se faire virer / Être viré(e) = se faire licencier, être obligé d'arrêter notre travail (to get fired / to be fired)

Des heures sup = overtime

Des congés payés = paid vacation, leave

Toucher un salaire = receive a salary

Un jour férié = public holiday

Faire le pont = take a long weekend

Se faire la bise = give [sb] a kiss on the cheek

Se tutoyer = use "tu" with someone

Un apéro = pre-lunch drink

Créer des liens = forge bonds, form bonds