Most communes will contain a creche (either crèche or garderie in French) for children under three years old, often alongside the local school.
The creches are generally operated through the local mairie, although some are also managed by authorised non-profit organisations, composed primarily of parents.
In many cases entitlement to access is only possible if both parents are working, as places may be limited.
The level of service offered by the creches does vary, with some offering all day provision, others merely for half a day.
A small charge is payable for creche services, although the costs are generally subsidised by the mairie and the final charge will be related to your net income. It is, therefore, likely you will need to provide details of your income in order that your contribution can be determined.
There are also drop-in centres, called halte-garderies, which offer part-time and occasional care for parents who do NOT work.
These centres are regulated by the authorities and have trained staff in attendance.
You can normally send your child to such a centre from a few months upwards.
As with the creches, a small fee is payable.
If you need to know more, pop along to your local mairie.
Next: Nursery Schools