At this time of year there are a number of seasonal fruit growers in France who are looking to take on temporary staff. Most notably in my area, the Deux Sevres are the melon and apple producer Rouge Gorge.
They have orchards in La Chapelle Gaudin and melon fields in and around Taize, plus many other locations.
Language (or lack of it) can create a real barrier when looking for work, but applying for work in this sector is very simple. There are three places to obtain the necessary forms.
- Your local Pole Emploi offices (Bressuire and Thouars in the Northern Deux Sevres)
- Mairies where the fields and orchards are located.They may not have forms, but will have leaflets with the necessary details.
- The site offices in the orchards and fields themselves.
In addition to this, your local Pole Emploi offices will supply you with a very comprehensive list of all local growers in the area looking to employ seasonal workers. Given that there are numerous vineyards in the area, plus other fruit growers, there is an excellent chance to find work.
If language is an issue, I would suggest the following advice when seeking work.
Firstly take along a friend who can speak French to help you with your initial request and filling in the form.
It is also a good idea to put their contact details on the form for the company to contact. These firms often hire the day before or even on the day they require staff and ring around to start new people, so a mobile number is probably a good idea.
Drop around to the site offices from time to time and ask if there is any imminent work. This seems to be the accepted norm and the site manager is usually very helpful.
The next big work opportunities are in June and September for apples and the months in between for melons. Grape picking is later on, but the information sheet provided by the Pole Emploi gives all the latest information on times and dates for work in this sector.
If you have been unsuccessful if obtaining work up to now, why not give this a go?
I have acquaintances who have done the following.
- A job share (husband and wife team) at a local vineyard, so that children could be looked after.
- Full time work at an orchard when little or no French was spoken by the applicant. The site manager found another English speaker working there to help with the initial training.
- Working in a vineyard almost all year round, save the coldest winter months.
May will soon come and go, so now is the time to take action and apply before someone else does!