Essentials > Money Matters > Currency

 


The Euro

On January 1, 2002 the Euro became the official currency of France and 11 other EU countries (and the Principality of Monaco). Learn more than you ever wanted to know about the Euro here, and see the pretty pictures of the Euros here.

What if I have French Francs?

Although many shops still display prices in Francs (and you'll see both Francs and Euros on your receipts), they are no longer accepted as legal currency. You can exchange notes at the Banque de France branch until February 17, 2012. If you have coins, consider them souvenirs!  

Exchanging Money

It's a good idea to buy at least €100 from you home bank so that you arrive with enough money to get you to your hotel (you really don't want to deal with out-of-order cash distributors or expensive exchange commissions when you arrive jet-lagged at the airport).

Banks and exchange booths (bureaux de change) that state "no commissions" have better rates than airports, hotels, department stores or train stations. You can find exchange booths in every touristy area such as:

  • Place St-Michel, 5th
  • Carrefour de l'Odéon, 6th
  • Avenue des Champs Elysées, 8th
  • American Express behind the Opéra, 9th 
  • Around M° Grands Boulevards, 2nd/9th
  • At 162 Rue de Rivoli, 1st, M° Louvre-Rivoli

Find the official exchange rates here.

Compare Paris Currency Exchanges (From Secrets of Paris Newsletter #136, February 21, 2014)
I’m not a big fan of exchanging currency because it requires you to carry large sums of cash while traveling, which is never a safe thing to do. Using a credit or debit card to get cash from the ATMs in Paris usually gets you a better rate anyway. But if you can’t avoid exchanging cash, at least try and get the best rate possible within Paris. Usually to do this you’d have to call around or check a bunch of websites, but an enterprising young French techie with some free time decided to create a website that allows you to compare rates all in one spot, Compare Money Changers. He doesn’t work for these agencies and doesn’t make any money off the site (for now), so consider it an unbiased service, and always confirm the rate with the change office before handing over your cash.

Also have a look at this ongoing discussion on currency exchange in Paris.

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