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For parents who wish to continue working, there exist various collective or individual childcare services. Childcare services are also available if one of the parents does not work. However, these services are in high demand, so it is essential to plan for childcare prior to departure.

See below for a comprehensive guide provided by Espace Ulys to childcare in France, as well as more specific information about these services in Lyon and Saint-Étienne:

Collective childcare facilities

Childcare facilities are known as “crèches”, “halte-garderies”, “structures multi-accueil” or “jardins d’enfants”.

Children can attend on a regular basis (more than 20 hours per week) or occasionally (less than 20 hours per week) until they enter kindergarten (three years of age).

All of these services must follow applicable rules and regulations and be approved by an official body (president du Conseil Général). The children are cared for by trained professionals.

Childcare costs are determined by the family benefits body (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales CAF) based upon your income and the number of children placed in care.
Calculate the cost.
 Registering your child for child-minding services

Less than 20 hours per week
For less than 20 hours of child-minding per week, we advise you to directly contact a local collective childcare facility for information regarding child registration. You will be contacted as soon as a place becomes available!

Search for a childcare center in Lyon

Search for a childcare center in Saint-Etienne

Over 20 hours a week (occasional care in a public nursery)

For over 20 hours, it is necessary to submit an application to your local town hall. Your application will be studied by an admissions committee. You will then be informed by the town hall whether your application has been accepted or refused. The entire procedure can take several months.

Consult the list of town halls for Lyon and the surrounding municipalities

Consult the list of town halls for the Saint-Étienne metropolitan area
University day-care centers
Lyon has two day-care centers that give priority to children of university staff:The registration procedure is the same as for other childcare facilities.


In France, a childminder (“assistante maternelle” or “nounou”) cares for up to four children aged under six at his/her home. Childminders can also work at the parents’ home.

All childminders must complete a specific training program and receive state certification. Certification gives a childminder his/her professional status.

Childminders are either employed at a family day-care center: crèche familiale or hired directly by the parents. The childminder’s salary is set either by the day-care center or in agreement with the parent-employers. If the childminder is hired by the child’s parents, the latter may benefit from an allowance provided by the family benefits body (Caisse d’Allocation Familiale CAF) depending on the parents’ income and the makeup of the family.

Look for a childminder in Lyon.

In Saint-Etienne, the list of childminders is available from the “direction de la petite enfance” or the RIAPE.

Play centers

Play centers (accueils de loisirs) are educational leisure activity centers for children and adolescents. These facilities are open:

  • During the academic year, before and after school, during lunch breaks, at Wednesdays and/or on Saturdays.
  • During school holidays.

These facilities organize indoor and outdoor games, as well as manual, relaxation, discovery, cultural, athletic, scientific, technological, etc. activities for children.

Children are cared for by state-certified monitors or monitors undergoing training.

Rates are set by the play centers.

Search for a play center in Lyon

Search for a play center in Saint-Etienne

Child-parent activity centers

“Lieux d’accueil enfants-parents” welcome children under six years of age accompanied by their parents, to participate in convivial games and exchanges. These child-parent activity centers allow families to mix and become acquainted, while promoting the socialization of both the children and their parents.
Activities are organized and supervised by either trained professionals or volunteers.
These services are usually free. A small fee may occasionally be requested.

Consult the list of child-parent activity centers in Lyon

Consult the list of child-parent activity centers in Saint-Etienne