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Your money    Currency unit    Exchange   Tax refund: T.V.A.   Customs   Tips


Currency unit


The French currency is Euro. One Euro is worth 6.55 FRF, and one franc a little more than 15 Euro cents or centimes.

The coins are of course essential to give the right money when shopping, for tips, parking meters, toll roads, etc. Don't forget! You'll definitely need some for public toilets, but they will be useless in most telephone booths…

The French coins are 2 and 1 €. The euro is divided into centimes (100 centimes = 1 euro). 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents coins can be found.

Bank notes are 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 notes.

Links:
Currency Converter: www.xe.com
Euro informations: www.banque-france.fr



Exchange and commissions

The exchange rates, outside the currencies of the countries of Euroland, vary each day. It is worth making enquiries, because it is not necessarily better to buy your euros in France than abroad, depending on how in demand the currencies are, on the exchange rates and the commissions charged.

Outside the currencies with a fixed exchange rate, the accredited organizations fix their own exchange rate in accordance with the market. The quality of the exchange rates enforced by the banks and bureaux de change can be seen by checking the difference between the buy and sell rates. A good differential between the two rates is in the order of 5% without having to pay commission. The banks and other exchange organizations often add commission charges to exchange operations. This fee can be very expensive, above all when exchanging small amounts.

Most banks exchange traveller's cheques in euros without charging commission, but make sure by asking before you hand over your money. Traveller's cheques in euros issued by American Express and Visa can be exchanged in most post offices in France. It is best to buy traveller's cheques in US$ or euros.
Take some ID with you to exchange money, traveller's cheques or Eurocheques.

Opening times:
Bank opening hours are from Monday to Friday from 9h to 16h30. Some branches are open on Saturday from 9h to 12h (sometimes until 17h).
Bureaux de change are open every day from 9h-18h in the tourist areas.

Withdrawals:
You can withdraw cash with a Eurocard MasterCard or Visa international from most automatic cash dispensers (24h a day).

Some addresses:

-Chèque point:
150, avenue des Champs - Elysées
75008 Paris
Tel.: 01 49 53 02 51
Open: every day 24h a day

-Thomas Cook:
52, avenue des Champs-Élysées
75008 Paris
Tel.: 01 42 89 80 32
Open: every day 8h30-23h


Tax refund: T.V.A.

T.V.A. (value added tax) is 19,6 % on most articles sold. Some articles, including basic foodstuffs (but not restaurants), books, medicines, are subject to a reduced rate of 5.50 %. The additional cost is calculated on the tax-free price of the products. You obtain the tax-free price by dividing the sale prices marked by 1.196 (1.055 for the reduced rate).

Conditions:
If you are not a resident of a member country of the European community, are over 15, made your purchases less than 3 months ago and spent at least 175 €, you can benefit from a T.V.A. refund.

Buy tax-free
The easiest way is to ask for a « Tax-free Shopping France » bill, when the shop has the "Tax-free for Tourists" sign. You will find them in the most commercial areas, department stores, and when buying luxury products in general. The amount of your refund appears on the bill opposite the indication "Montant de la détaxe". Over 100,000 shops throughout France form part of the Europe Tax-free Shopping network.

Get your bills validated by customs:
When you leave France, present all your Tax-free Shopping bills and your passport at the customs clearance office (bureau de dédouanement), with the corresponding products. Customs will stamp each bill.

Request your rebate:
Before embarking or leaving France, don't forget to send the pink copies of your bills stamped by customs, using the pre-paid envelope given to you when you did your shopping. After a few days, you will receive your tax refund by the payment method chosen at the time of making your purchases, either by a transfer to your credit card account, or by cheque.

Contact the Europe Tax-Free Shopping office in France

Address:
EUROPE TAX-FREE
SHOPPING FRANCE S.A.
4, place de l'Opéra
75002 - PARIS
Telephone: from France 01 42 66 24 14 - from abroad +33 1 42 66 24 14
Fax: from France 01 42 66 24 41 - from abroad +33 1 42 66 24 41


Customs


The Common Market of the E.E.C. authorizes the importing and the exporting for personal consumption of all goods within the European Space as long as tax has been paid on purchase in one of the countries of the European Community.

As regards tax-free purchases (e.g. Duty-Free shops in airports), the purchase authorization is always limited to 200 cigarettes, 250 gr. of tobacco or 50 cigars; 1 litre of alcohol or 2 litres of wine; 60 ml of perfume and 250 ml of eau de toilette.


Tips


Whatever the situation, service is always included in the price. Tipping is therefore entirely optional, and no-one will criticize you if you don't leave one, or if you leave a small one. When do you leave one? When you're satisfied with the service and with the kindness of the person who served you, you can leave some small change. Here are a few places where it is usual to leave a tip:

Restaurants
In restaurants, service (15%) is included in the price on the bill. Leaving a tip is, however, fairly common if the service was satisfactory. It is usual to leave between 5% and 10% of the bill.

Cafés
In cafés as in restaurants, service is included on the bill. A small tip is still appreciated, however. It is generally 5% to 10% of the bill.

Taxis
In taxis, it is customary (but not at all compulsory) to leave a small tip for the driver. From 50 cents to 2 euros, depending on the journey.

Theatre and cinema usherettes
Tips are still left to usherettes of small cinemas, as you wish.
In private theatres, there are often usherettes. As in the cinema, the norm is about 5F per person.

Hairdressers
At the hairdresser, it is usual to leave the hairdresser, and possibly the junior, a tip. The amount of this tip depends a lot on the price of the service, ranging from 1 to 5 or 10 euros depending on whether it is a small local salon or a very big hairdressing salon (in which case in view of the bill, you won't be worried about 5 euros).

Petrol stations
There are still some petrol stations where you are served. The days have gone when they checked your oil, washed your windscreen and checked your tyre pressure, but it is still considered to be correct to leave a little something.


   



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