Before you go – money

Money in France

Like most EU countries the Euro is the national currency.

If you have to go into a bank to withdraw money or cash travellers cheques, be careful not to run short of money on a Friday as the banks close from Saturday to Monday inclusive. Be especially careful around public holidays when they also close. We met someone in the Dordogne on a Friday afternoon when everything had shut for a national festival… they faced the prospect of making it through to the following Tuesday without any cash!

Using credit and/or debit cards

Check if your bank offers zero charges on using your credit card in France. If not, only use credit cards for cash in an emergency. It’s OK to use them for meals, hotel bills etc., although if you don’t have zero charges each time you use the card you will incur a usage fee, which can all add up.

The same applies to Debit cards.  You can use your UK debit card to withdraw money at most cash points, but again you may be charged a handling fee.

Here at France for Families we’ve found the best way to manage your money is to either use a zero fee credit card (Nationwide currently offers this) plus pre-load some money onto a Post Office Credit Card which also doesn’t charge you when you use it.

The we take larger sums of money out of a local cash point which will keep us going for a week or so (only then getting one fee for taking out money).

About travellers cheques: Consider taking some travellers cheques as they are generally safe and often insured. The only limitation is that you have to take time out to visit a bank or bureau de change to get them cashed and there is a trend for banks not to cash them – ATMs are the order of the day!

Where to buy your Euros You can buy Euros at most UK banks, travel companies, post offices etc.. Shop around for the best rate and commission.

Keeping your money safe on holiday.

There are several steps we suggest you consider to keep your money safe:

  1. Take part of your money as travellers cheques, especially if you are taking a lot of money, and keep these separate from identity documents such as passports, driving licences etc..
  2. Split your money amongst the adult members of your party, your car*, your accommodation etc.. That way, even if you have some money stolen, you will still be able to enjoy your holiday. *assuming your car has deadlocks and is alarmedRead more travel in France: