When we took our son along to the “Maison d’Enfance”, to sign him up for nursery, and there was mention of ‘means testing’, we panicked slightly – because we were under the impression that all childcare in France was free.

Not so. When you sign your child up for state nursery – you are required to bring along evidence of your earnings, tax returns, social security benefits, bank statements, passports, utility bills, paperwork-paperwork-blah-blah-blah; in order to ascertain just how much you will be required to contribute to the care of your child.

But when we were informed of the amount we would have to pay – we were somewhat stunned:

“Vous devez nous payer quatre-vingt-dix-huit centimes par heure.”

To be frank we had braced ourselves for something far worse than 67p an hour for childcare!