In addition to grape harvesting in France there are many other seasonal agricultural activities, such as the harvesting of corn and grain, the harvesting of tobacco, legumes, and fruit. In general, the duration of the work varies from ten to three days, with a schedule that includes six days a week.
It is a physically demanding activity and conditioned by weather conditions. As a general rule, accommodation is offered only to those who work in the grape harvest in France, so it is advisable to have camping equipment for other types of harvest.
With the exception of activities involving the driving of agricultural machinery, no prior experience or special qualifications are required.
Applications must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of employment. It is important that the application is fluent, clear and concise, no longer than one page, and includes information on work experience, professional interests and attitudes (possibly related to the type of work sought). It is necessary to provide information about you, your academic education and lyour language skills.
In order to know when to move and apply, it is important to know the harvest dates for each type of product and region.
Vacancies are usually published in the period March/April
These are approximate times that may vary from year to year depending on weather conditions:
- Rhone Valley: cherries from mid-May to mid-June;
- Center – Périgord: strawberries from mid-May to mid-June;
- Center Sud-Ovest: first fruits from June to September;
- Isère (especially in the Grenoble region): Walnuts in autumn;
- Southwest and East: tomatoes and tobacco leaves between August and September;
- Auvergne and Aquitaine: corn from mid-July to mid-August;
- Center, Hautes-Alpes and Haute-Savoie: apples and pears from late August to late October;
- Champagne, Burgundy, Aquitaine: harvest from mid-August to late October.
For grape harvesting, Farmers sometimes provide room and board for their workers, and the workday lasts up to nine hours, seven days a week. The duration of the work varies between eight and ten days (15 days in good years).
Pay is regulated by collective agreements, but it is still advisable to check the salary and working conditions before signin the contract and make sure they are in accordance with the applicable rates. This rule applies to any type of work.
The cost of transportation to the workplace is usually borne by the employee. Only in some regions is bus transportation organized (e.g., from Paris to the wine-growing regions).
The focal point for work in the agricultural sector is the APCA (Assemblée Permanente des Chambres d’Agriculture), and the departmental chambers of agriculture are present in all regions and put people seeking work in touch with entrepreneurs. For more information, visit the website, which also contains job offers.
On the website of ANEFA (French Association for Employment and Training in Agriculture), there is a section dedicated to seasonal work, with practical information and job offers.
When looking for a job, it may be useful to contact the companies directly or to consult specialized newspapers and magazines that publish job offers.
- La France Agricole is a good reference in this sector;
On the Picking Jobs website, you can find job offers in the agricultural sector all over the world and in France.
From August to October, French winemakers are looking for seasonal workers to harvest grapes in France. If you don’t know what to do and want a different experience that can earn you some money, check out these links:
I would also like to point out WWOOF, (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). It is a worldwide movement that matches volunteers with organic farmers and growers. In exchange for your work (usually 4/5 hours per day), you receive room and board but no financial compensation. However, you will have the opportunity to learn the language of the country and learn new things in agriculture and other fields. You have to pay a registration fee for each country you want to join.