Along with sixteen other countries in the European Union, France has been using the Euro as its official currency since 2002 (except in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis & Futuna, which still use the "Pacific franc" or CFP).
One Euro is divided into 100 cents, or centimes.
Bills: 500€ -- 200€ -- 100€ -- 50€ -- 20€ -- 10€ -- 5€
Coins: 2€ -- 1€ -- 50c -- 20c -- 10c -- 5c -- 2c -- 1c
Bank Opening Hours
Banking hours in Paris are usually from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Throughout the rest of France, banks are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Banks often close earlier the day before a public holiday.
Currency exchange is available in most banks and post offices as well as in some large stores, train stations, airports and exchange offices near major tourist sites. Look for a sign indicating "Change". Remember that even though exchange rates are fixed, agent commissions vary: they must be clearly displayed. In general, it is best to find a larger bank or exchange office in the center of town or in a financial area. If only a small amount of money is being exchanged, the hotel's money exchange rate may be adequate.
Credit cards are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels, and restaurants. Shopkeepers often state a minimum charge.
If you lose your credit card, contact your credit card emergency hot-line immediately to cancel the card, or call your credit card company's local office - see a list of numbers below:
Eurocard-Mastercard: 0033 8 00 90 13 87
Visa: 0033 8 00 90 11 79
Diner's Club: 0033 8 20 82 05 36 (customer service) or 0033 8 10 31 41 59 (lost or stolen cards)
American Express: 0033 1 47 77 70 00 (customer service) or 0033 1 47 77 72 00 (lost or stolen cards)
Prices in France
As a general rule, prices for most goods and services, including hotels and restaurants, in the French regions are significantly less expensive than in Paris. There are also significant discounts for senior citizens, students and children under 18 for domestic transportation, museums and monuments, and for some leisure activities (movies, etc.).
Restaurants usually charge for meals in one of two ways: a prix-fixe menu (also called a "menu"). This includes two or three courses (with cheese and/or dessert, and sometimes a half-bottle of wine) for a stated price. Or you can order "a la carte", which is generally more expensive.
Tipping in France
Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15% service charge (service compris) in their prices. If a meal or service has been particularly good, leaving another 2-3% is customary, as is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill if you pay in cash. If service is not included (service non compris) a 15% tip is appropriate. In hotels, tip porters approximately 1.50€ for each bag and chambermaids 1.50€ a day. Taxi drivers should be given 10-15% of the metered fare. Tip hairdressers 10%, assistant 5%. Small tips of around 1€ are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers and museum tour guides. It is standard practice to tip tour guides and bus drivers after an excursion, generally 1.50-3.00€, depending on your level of the satisfaction.
Non-European Union residents over the age of 15 who stay in France or elsewhere in the European Union (EU) for less than six months can get a refund of the value-added tax (VAT, or TVA in French) on purchases amounting to more than 175€ at any single store. In most cases, the refund represents 16.38% of the purchase amount. When making purchases, ask the store to complete a VAT refund form, then submit the form to customs (within three months of date of purchase) when leaving France or the last EU country you visit. If leaving from an airport, arrive before your check-in time and be prepared to show your purchases. Customs will stamp the form, which must then be mailed to the store where the purchases were made within six months of the date of purchase. Refunds are credited to your credit card account or are sent by mail within a few months. Get more information on tax-free shopping in France.