Getting Euros at Waterloo?

Mar 23rd, 2005, 03:40 PM
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That's the most intelligent post you've made yet.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 07:16 PM
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ok, please forgive this idiotic question from a girl who has had approximately 2 taxi rides in her whole life...

i got lovely, explicit directions from Robespierre as to where to go in the Gare du Nord after disembarking from the Eurostar if i want to take the Metro. If I (hypothetically) wanted to catch a taxi instead, could someone give me instructions on where/how to do that? oh, and where's the best place to exchange traveler's checks at the GDN?

thanks again!
abcgirl is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 07:27 PM
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The taxi queue is on the west side of the station--just follow the signs. I have always had a long wait for a taxi at the Gare du Nord.
Musicteacher is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 07:39 PM
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abcgirl. Did you strike out getting the apartment landlord to accept payment over several days so you can use ATMs? Many of us a) hate to see you and your husband pay usury rates for TC exchange and b) carry so much cash around, especially as you first arrive in a new town.
J62 is online now  
Mar 24th, 2005, 08:34 AM
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There's a Travelex on your left as you get to the west door. There is no charge to cash their brand cheques.
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:27 AM
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in case anyone had a burning curiousity as to how all of my questions on this thread panned out, here is my trip report on that one, most nerve-racking section of my trip:

we chose to take american express traveller's checks to cover the amount that we couldn't withdraw from the ATM. before we left, i did some research and found out that we could exchange them fee free at the BNP Paribas right across the street from Gare du Nord, so we did that. That part was a little stressful as I suddenly realized that I spoke pretty much no french which meant i couldn't read signs directing me to the correct line and when the tellers called out instructions, i wasn't sure if they applied to me. also, that whole thing about "most french people speak english" was pretty much shattered right there too. BUT, we survived the process and were charged no fees, despite the posted sign that i THINK said that all traveller's check conversions were subject to a 5 euro fee.

Then we chose to take a taxi. Interestingly enough, our taxi driver spoke only english. He was a new driver (recently moved to Paris from somewhere in Africa, I think), so he was constantly looking at his map as he navigated the extremely narrow streets (this was our only car experience in Paris--very exciting!). He dropped us off at a street intersection that was right in front of the apartment, but we turned the wrong way when we got out of the car and were headed away from the apartment, down the street. We corrected ourselves quickly and found the address, but realized that we didn't know which apartment to buzz to get the door unlocked. Luckily, an older Parisian woman was walking by and saw our dilemma and after some confusion on our part, she simply rang a random apartment and explained in french that a "nice young American couple" needed to get into the building and we were buzzed in.

we paid the taxi driver 10.90 (there was a .90 cent charge per bag, but he only charged us for one bag since he was new and maybe hadn't gotten us there as quickly as an experienced driver might have.) and considering that we almost got lost just being dropped right outside the door, i'm not sure that we would have found our way on the metro and a bus with all of our luggage and that cash that was making me nervous.

we DID take the metro back to the Gare du Nord for our return without incident, but by then we were much more familiar and comfortable with the city.

thanks again to everyone for your advice and recommendations!
abcgirl is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:37 AM
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Glad it worked out, abc.
ira is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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I'm really curious how those US traveler's checks worked. You mention no fee and then you suggest there may have been a 5 euro fee after all, but neither of those points is significant. The real question is what was the exchange rate itself. How many euros did you actually get for each $100 TC?
I'm always amazed when people proudly say "they didn't charge us any fee at all for exchanging our currency" without realizing they only got maybe 90% of the euros they should have gotten for their dollars.
Patrick is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 05:50 AM
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our exchange rate was 1.37. is this the point where you tell me i got schnookered out of nine dollars?
abcgirl is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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Nine dollars per $100? Nine percent?
Patrick is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Thanks for reporting back, abcgirl. Sounds like things worked out fine & you had a bit of an adventure, too. Hope you enjoyed Paris.
LAwoman is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Well, at least the bus and Métro drivers know where they're going

I didn't realize carrying the cash was going to be an issue for you. Next time, have your counterpart meet you at his bank and do your transaction there. Your money goes directly into his account.
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Robes: transfer money at the bank! now that's a suggestion that no one put forward before the trip. interesting thought. i'll file it away for future use.

Patrick: nine dollars was a number i pulled out of the air to make a point. when i did the math, i think the actual difference between the ATM and the traveler's checks was a grand total of about $15. (not $15 per 100, just $15.) take away the $2 ATM fee my bank charges for every "out of state" transaction and it's down to $13. Yeah, it may not have been the MOST cheap way to transport money to a different country, but it worked well for me. I wouldn't have bankrolled my whole vacation with traveller's checks, but for that one transaction, it was the least inconvenient method that I found (it was too late for me to open two bank accounts before the trip). I don't travel often and i have very small budgets whenever i do travel, so a few percentage points here and there don't bother me as much as they might some people.
abcgirl is offline  
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