Money in France

Like most EU countries the Euro is the national currency. 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!

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! We were charged £1.75 when we made a withdrawal with our Maestro card which seemed reasonable and the exchange rate was fair.

Using credit and/or debit cards Only use credit cards for cash in an emergency. It’s OK to use them for meals, hotel bills etc.. Debit cards can often be used – HSBC debit (switch) cards will work in any ATM showing the “Maestro” sign. You need to know your pin.  Your account will be debited immediately and you will be charged a handling fee and possibly a commission.

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 alarmed!


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