Euros in Paris

Jun 4th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Euros in Paris

I really need expert advice. I will be travelling to Paris in Sept. The last time I was there was in 2000 when the money was still in francs & the credit card companies did not tack on the conversion fees & transactions fees. Now I am bewildered about the best way to pay for things in Paris. Do I get American Express Travelers checks in Euros here in the U.S. before I leave? Do I purchase Euros in cash at home? Do I still just use my credit card & pay all those extra fees? Is it easy to cash the Euro travelers checks in most places in Paris?

Any advice &/or opinion would be greatly appreciated.
KBinFL is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Get at least 200 Euros from your bank at home. Yes use the CC as much as you can. Then only use ATMs in Europe for cash. Do not get travelers checks. Too many places do not accept travelers checks anymore and trying to cash them is not easy.

I would suggest getting a card that doesn't charge a lot of fees for charging in Europe.
Ann1 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Use your credit card. Find out the fees for each card you have and use the one with the lowest.

Use ATM for cash.

If you must carry traveler's checks, get them in USD. If you get them in euro, you lose in conversion both ways for the amount you don't use up.

Many merchants don't take travelers' checks, whether they're in euro or USD.

Do not get euros here.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:52 PM
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This topic gets discussed several times a day on Fodors. Many agree with Ann about getting Euros in the US before travelling. Others, myself included, feel it is not necessary to do that. I withdraw Euro from an ATM in my arrival airport and use my credit card to make major purchases (hotels, rental car, etc).

Even with the fees using cc and ATM card is a far, far better deal than exchanging cash (either in US or in Europe), or using TC's.
J62 is online now  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Just got back from Paris last week. We purchased 200 Euro at our home airport before the flight. I used my ATM card and used cash most frequently there. It was a lot easier than using my credit card for everything. Many places did not accept credit cards. Even some cafes. Plus I needed exact coins for the RER and some other things.
JameJamerz is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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Oops forgot to mention. When we arrived in Paris we used those 200 Euros for our taxi to the hotel and just for emergency purposes to have Euros on hand. We didn't want to enter a foreign country with no money (of that country) in our pockets.
JameJamerz is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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We use credit cards wherever possible, which is just about everywhere in France, so as to get frequent-flier miles and not have to carry much cash. The cash we do have comes from ATM machines. This year we're going to take a $100 traveler's check as a back-up; if we don't need it I can spend it back home.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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I always arrive with no local and a few hundred USD to change in case Plans A and B fail or something hits the fan:

Plan A: use debit card to get to town
Plan B: get local currency from ATM
Plan C: change a few $ at a bureau de change

I've never got past A.
Robespierre is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Well I actually got to plan C just this March. But it still wasn't a problem - - - -

One ATM card wouldn't work (but it did later on -- apparently that Credit Union's system was down at the time) and I needed a LOT of cash to pay for flat so other ATM card wasn't enough. AND then- RER was stopped due to a security alert so needed even more cash to pay for cab into town. Exchanged my secret stash of US$ to make up the difference and went on my merry way.

No need for travelers checks (almost EVER). Use your ATM card to get cash, use credit cards whenever it makes sense - and have some US$ on hand just in case. Any fees you'll pay via ATM/Credit cards are MUCH less than you will have w/ travelers checks or exchanging currency.
janisj is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 05:27 PM
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I agree with Robespierre's ABCs. Bring crisp new $20 bills and a few $10 and $5 bills.
hopscotch is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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I think you're a little confused. Even in 2000 you were being charged above the interbank rate by CCs etc - they have to in order to make money. It's just transparent now.

And the rates you pay them are still way less than the rates you pay for changing either cash or Trav Check (if you can find anyone to take them) - which would be 8 to 10%. Worst is buying euros in the US. If you're nervous change $50 in the US airport - but basically you can just use your ATM card once you arrive.

Just make sure that your card is linked to at least one of the popular networks (some from obscure credit unions are not)- and your checking account rather than your savings account.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 10:02 PM
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In Paris, make sure you arrive with 200 euro or the equivalent in your own currency, and then use a credit card to pay for everything over a dozen euro or so, and cash from an ATM for everything else. Everyone accepts Visa and MC, and ATMs are available every 50 metres or so in the city, so there's no reason to bring traveller's cheques or huge amounts of cash. Make sure your cards will work in France for cash withdrawals and purchases before you leave.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 11:12 PM
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Alot of the credit card companies suggest that you call them to let them know that you are using your card overseas (and in what countries) so you don't have any problems with acceptance overseas.
dutyfree is offline  
Jun 5th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Definitely call your credit card companies and let them know where and when (the dates of your trip) you'll be using your cards.

I never change money before I arrive. I hit the ATM in the airport on arrival, but do have some dollars just in case I need to exchange, but have never had to use them.
If the exchange rate is good I also get a couple of hundred euro for the next trip.
Luisah is offline  
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