The cost of daycare (crèche) is usually subsidized by the mairie and calculated based on your net income. Children must be at least months old, which is usually when the paid maternity leave ends.
The catch is that you must register for it immediately after finding out you are pregnant – well, at least in the major cities. If there are no spots left in the public crèches, then you may also try the private crèches. Some crèches with very limited space will give priority to families with parents that both work full-time.
Finding availability in major cities can be a huge issue in major cities. If you go to book a spot when you are 4 weeks pregnant, there may not be any room left. My husband’s sister lives in Paris but did not realize she had to book in advance, so when she tried to find a one after her son was born she was greatly disappointed. Now she is a stay-at-home mom.
A list of local crèches can be found at your local mairie, or mairie du quartier. There may also be crèches that are managed by non-profit organizations, organized by parents.
We have decided not to take advantage of the affordable daycare since we both work from home, plus I am excited about being a full-time caregiver to our future little angel. Or, at least I hope she is an angel!
If you are a French mamma and have some info about the free daycare here in France, please chime in below. This is a very interesting subject that I wish I knew more about for my readers.
Image Credit: Pavel Losevsky fotolia.com