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Finding childcare for children aged under 3 years

You are coming to France with children under 3. If you and your spouse are working, you can find a childcare facility for your child.

Individual daycare

In this case, a caregiver looks after your children in a stable, familiar environment.

You can hire an assistante maternelle (a professional, registered caregiver) to look after your children at his or her own house. Assistantes maternelles can look after 1 to 3 children. Parents become employers and receive government financial assistance (prestations familiales d’aide aux jeunes enfants, PAJE). Most French parents choose this childcare option. Assistantes maternelles can also be employed in family childcare centers (crèches familiales).

A nanny can also come to your home to look after your children. In this case, parents also become employers and receive government financial assistance (prestations familiales d’aide aux jeunes enfants, PAJE). An employment contract must be signed from the first day. This childcare option is rather expensive, unless you have at least three children under 6 or you decide to go into partnership with another family.

Collective daycare

In this case, qualified professionals look after children in specific facilities aimed at developing your children’s interpersonal, intellectual and physical skills.

Childcare centers (crèche collective) can look after your children every day, on a regular basis, full-time or part-time. This childcare option is in great demand, so there may be a long waiting list.

There are other childcare centers (halte garderie) which can take care of your children from just a few hours a week up to two days a week, leaving you free for personal activities. Choosing this childcare option enables your children to be in a socially interactive environment and sets up the basic rules of preschool.

Family childcare centers (crèche familiale) or parent’s childcare centers (halte-garderie parentale) are small facilities managed by groups of parents. Parents work alongside professional caregivers to take care of the children.

Starting your search

Whether you are looking for individual or collective childcare programs, you can contact your city hall for further information. You can find the address and phone number of your city hall on the Pages Jaunes website. If you do not speak French, we advise you to go with a friend or colleague who can translate for you.