Chamonix – Seasonal life series

The Chamonix Valley is a place of outstanding natural beauty, and has some of the best off-piste and free-ride skiing in the world. Thanks to it’s fantastic location, the valley is the perfect base for spending a winter season and exploring the alps. 

However, one of the first things you will need to think about is finding enough money for fondue and beer every week. Unless you are a very talented busker, we suggest looking for a job. Here is our guide to contracts, and employment in France:

CDI (Contrat durée indéterminée)

A CDI or contrat durée indéterminée is basically a full time contract or a contract that doesn’t have a fixed period limit on it. The employment usually begins with a trial period that is stipulated in your contract. Your trial period can be renewed. Either party may choose to end the contract, provided they adhere to the correct notice period. This contract was invented to be the standard contract of employment in France. It offers many benefits, such as maternity/paternity leave, restaurant vouchers, annual leave, sick leave etc. 

The CDI contract must include the following details: 

  • Identity and address of each party
  • Employment role
  • Workplace address
  • Contract hours
  • Remuneration (Salary and Bonus) 
  • Paid vacation allowance
  • Duration of the trial period
  • Notice periods in the event of breach of contract
  • Potentially to include a mobility or non-competition clause

CDD (Contrat à durée déterminée)

The CDD or Contrat à durée déterminée basically means a fixed term contract/contract for a fixed period of time. A CDD is given for seasonal work, to cover an absent employee (maternity leave,  illness, parental leave training), for state-funded contracts or increased staffing needs over a period of time. The contract doesn’t technically have a minimum time period, but it cannot exceed the maximum time period (this varies across contracts from 9-24 months.) If you do exceed the maximum period, the contract must be either transferred to a CDI or employment must cease. The employees rights and obligations are identical to a CDI, but the contract must stipulate clearly the start and end date. These types of contracts are quite common in Chamonix, as the valley is obviously a seasonal place.

Auto entrepreneur (Micro entrepreneur)

Another popular choice is to set yourself up as an auto-entrepreneur or micro-entrepreneur and invoice for your services. This is popular for work in Chamonix, as you are able to be flexible and generally manage your own hours. This can be really useful for taking advantage of the snow, provided you can still cover your work load correctly. 

Auto-entrepreneurship is basically a tax status with simple tax and accounting rules. You pay your social security contributions as you go. There is a limit to how much turnover you can make, and this is different depending on the nature of your work; whether you are in sales/buying of goods (commerçant), providing a service(artisan), or involved professional activities (profession libérale). If you exceed this limit you will automatically adopt a tax status of regime réel. You can find out more about this by checking the following website: L’essentiel du statut –

  • Professional or service based activity the maximum turnover is €72,500 a year. 
  • Commercial based activity the maximum turnover is €176,200 a year. 

You won’t need an accountant, but you will need to keep a day book that gives details of the income received. Commerçants are also required to keep a book of their expenditure. 

You are exempt from VAT up to certain turnover thresholds. However, this does mean you are unable to claim back VAT on goods bought. The thresholds are different based on the type of activity you are carrying out for your business. 

  • For commercial based activity you are obliged to charge VAT if your turnover is over €85800 a year. 
  • For professional or service based activity you are obliged to VAT if your turnover is over €34400 a year. 

You can find out more about this directly by checking on the following website:

Finding work

There is plenty of opportunity for work over the winter season in Chamonix. You can start by applying for work through the tour operators and travel companies if you are interested in working for a larger corporation. However there are also lots of small businesses based in France that will be hiring for the winter season. You can start by checking the following facebook pages:

You can also check the following websites:

Interested in our seasonal properties?

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