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.
Currency Converter: www.xe.com
Euro informations: www.banque-france.fr
Exchange and commissions
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.
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
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
Bank opening hours are from Monday to Friday from 9h to 16h30.
Some branches are open on Saturday from 9h to 12h (sometimes
Bureaux de change are open every day from 9h-18h in the tourist
You can withdraw cash with a Eurocard MasterCard or Visa international
from most automatic cash dispensers (24h a day).
150, avenue des Champs - Elysées
Tel.: 01 49 53 02 51
Open: every day 24h a day
52, avenue des Champs-Élysées
Tel.: 01 42 89 80 32
Open: every day 8h30-23h
Tax refund: 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).
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
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
In private theatres, there are often usherettes. As in the
cinema, the norm is about 5F per person.
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).
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.