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Thursday
May072009

Where to Exchange Money in Paris

I don't normally recommend coming to Paris with money to exchange if you can help it, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I've listed some exchange bureaus in the touristy areas of Paris (you can NOT exchange money in local banks), but their rates are pretty horrible. Yesterday someone I met had $2000 to exchange into euros. The official rate was €0.74. The agency at Rue de Rivoli (near BHV) was paying €0.65 plus tacking on a 4% commission (BTW, there is always commission, it's just sometimes hidden in the exchange rate).

She may have been able to bargain on the commission if she hadn't given up her $2000 all at once, but I did manage to talk the jerk at the desk into giving her smaller bills (he tried to give her two 500 euro bills, which no one in Paris will accept).After everything, she got just over €1200. Not great.

When I got home, I checked with a few other change bureaus, including the one in Chinatown I usually use, and all of them would have saved her €200. It pays to look these places up before arriving if you know you'll have cash, or to call around to find out what the rates are at different bureaus. Here are three recommendations (anyone want to add to this?):

MultiChange Paris (8 agencies in Paris, including ones open daily at Place Vendôme, Arc de Triomphe, and the Marché aux Puces St Ouen). You can also order your currency online.

Puccini SARL (the one I use in Chinatown at 20 ave de Choisy, 13th, M° Porte de Choisy, tel 01 45 83 58 00).

Yes Change (1 Rue Rouget de Lisle, 1st, M° Concord or Tuileries, tel 01 42 60 00 35; make sure you tell them at the bureau that you want the "Yes Change" rate from their website)

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Reader Comments (30)

I'm American and I usually just bring my debit card with me. I have BankOfAmerica as my back who has a deal with one of the major banks in France so all I pay is the conversion rate. The conversion rate at the bank is typically close to the foreign market exchange rate and no where near those booth exchange rates.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaulR
Having done alot of overseas travel and been to Paris many times, my advice is simple. Do not bring cash to Paris or anywhere else. Instead,draw euros directly from an ATM.But choose that bank with care, because many banks add a 1%-3% exchange fee in addition to the fee that's built into the exchange rate. I use a Fidelity Investments ATM card, no fee. I've read elsewhere that Capital One doesn't charge a fee but lots of complaints about their customer service.

During our last two trips to Paris in 2006 & 2007, we operated entirely in cash, drawing several hundred euros from ATMs every day or so.

By the time we returned to our hotel, the ATM transaction was posted to our account & we knew the effective exchange rate.

At the hotel, we made periodic cash payments on our account, always making sure we received a printout of the account showing the new balance.

All told, in 2007 we spent US$4,300 over 17 days. At 3%, that's US$129 in our pocket, not the banks.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteveArizona
The best exchange rate (at least, from what I saw/tried out) is always on rue Vivienne, a small street full of exchange agencies near métro Bourse.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaria
Coming from the UK I went to the travel agents and got a Travel card, which I put money onto before I went to Paris, you can use it at any ATM or shops, it has a visa sign on it..I was charged such a minimal amount to use it...no charge at a ATM..This was a EURO travel card and if I was going elsewhere I think I could get one for America and worldwide..excellent choice, I was very pleased with it.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
THE best exchange bureau I've found over 18 years is on Rue Rosiers at Marche Clignancourt. Trust me they are the lowest.
June 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdoug fuss
I've always liked BNP's ATMs because they are not complicated to use with my debit card. Now I have read of another benefit: they are part of ATM World Alliance and charge no fee. Is this true?
August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPoetess
The place in chinatown as reccomeded (Puccini SARL (the one I use in Chinatown at 20 ave de Choisy, 13th, M° Porte de Choisy, tel 01 45 83 58 00).) was still the best deal in Paris as of Oct. 2010. The place at Galerie du Claridge in Paris 74 rue Champ Elysees was only the best exchange in THAT area. But I didn't like the hard sell or attitude of the attendant. He made me feel uncomfortable because he bartered with the exchange rate. The Chinatown location had a better exchange rate and I felt safe doing business with them. In Venice and Barcelona the exchange rate was not as good. Rome had equal rates accross from the train station Termini ( Western Union).
One more point rural exchange places vs big city exchange places did have a better rate but double check on the internet before you go.
October 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranthony
Merci. I was searching on foot in vain near Montparnasse. Your post helped me find one minutes away! God bless!
December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo
66 avenue des Champs Elysées. Paris
Galery between Mauboussin and Bennetton.

Net price. And good prices of course !!!
April 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDexter
Despite this article being written 2 years ago, I can vouch for "yes change" being a great place to still exchange currency. I went to western union [don't laugh] near Norte Dame, and got exactly 300 euros for 500 Australian dollars. I thought this was low, I then did some searching, I found this article, and decided to try out your advice. From yes change I got 357 euros for 500 Australian dollars. 57 Euro more!! I can't believe I just threw my money away earlier in the day. Merci beaucoup!!!!
May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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