France Currency Exchange Guide

France is an enchanting destination for travellers, offering everything from bustling cities to enchanting countryside villages. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the history and charm of Mont Saint-Michael, there’s something to captivate everyone. Plus, make sure to take advantage of the world-famous French cuisine. With the natural beauty surrounding you on every side and the great walks of life, France truly has something for everyone.

General France Currency Information

What is the currency of France?

The official currency of France is the Euro (EUR).

What do Euro notes & coins look like?

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Euro banknotes come in seven denominations that range from €5 to €500. Each denomination is coloured differently and has a distinct size; each features images of European architectural styles – windows or gateways on the obverse and bridges on the reverse – depicted in a stylised illustration. This illustrative variant helps establish euro banknotes as a currency in its own right, giving it a common identity that transcends borders.

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Meanwhile, the Eurozone coins come in denominations ranging from 1 cent to 2 Euros. Rich with symbolism, the unique designs bring together a variety of national images as a tribute to the cultural diversity of the participating European countries. A tree, a symbol of life and growth, is featured on the 1 and 2 Euro coins along with the Republican motto “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”. On the 10, 20 and 50 Euro cent coins, a classic image of a sower appears while Marianne, a representation of the French Republic, graces the pictures on the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins.

Economy

France’s highly developed economy boasts notable state participation in strategic sectors. In 2022, it was the world’s seventh-largest economy in terms of nominal figures and the tenth-largest by PPP, accounting for 3.3% of global GDP. The French economy is diversified, with services representing 78.8% of its GDP in 2017, alongside 19.5% industrial sector and 1.7% primary sector contributions.

Additionally, France was the largest Foreign Direct Investment recipient in Europe in 2020 and the second largest in research and development spending in the same year. It was also ranked among the 10 most innovative countries worldwide according to the 2020 Bloomberg Innovation Index. All this points to a healthy economic outlook for France going forward.

Brief currency history

The franc has served as the French currency for centuries, forming an integral part of French history. Originally introduced by King John II in 1360 and remaining strong until the Euro was adopted, the franc itself underwent major changes with regard to its value and symbolisation over its existence.

The original symbol of the French franc was ‘F’, but between 1641 and 1795, its usage ceased following its replacement with other coins. The advent of the French revolution sparked a revival of the franc as it became decimalised in 1795.

The Banque de France, the French national bank, was established in 1800 with the purpose of restoring confidence in the French banking system following financial turmoil during the Revolutionary period. Situated in Paris, the bank was initially exclusively allowed to issue bank notes within Paris for 15 years.

After that period, locations were deemed necessary due to business requirements, and discount offices were opened as needed. All of France was provided with this privilege in 1848 when nine former provincial banks with note-issuing powers joined Banque de France as branches. This tradition continued until the bank was nationalised in 1946, granting it an indefinite note-issue privilege.

Subsequent statutes approved in 1973 granted more power to the bank’s General Council and gave greater control to the French Minister of Finance over dividend payments and uses of profits. The gradual process leading up to the euro began in 1993 when Banque de France began its privatisation phase. Finally, it became a member of the European Central Bank in 1999 and joined France’s fellow countries as they converted to the use of a single currency: the Euro.

Taking Travel Money to France

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What currency should I take to France?

If you’re travelling to France, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollar (AUD) for Euro (EUR) before you leave. Get more information on how you can exchange AUD to EUR.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or France?

Travelling to France from Australia is an exciting experience, and converting currency should be a part of your preparation. For those embarking on this journey, it may be more practical to convert Australian dollars to Euros in Australia beforehand. This way, you can budget for spending before the vacation begins, ensuring no nasty surprises at your destination. 

How much cash can I take to France?

At French customs, sums of money, securities, and valuables in an amount greater than €10,000 must be declared. This includes cash or cheques as well as shares and bonds. Keeping this in mind will help ensure your travel is stress-free and that you don’t encounter any unwanted surprises at the border.

Where to convert currency?

If you’re looking for a reliable place to exchange money in Australia with a great exchange rate, Crown Currency Exchange is here to make your life easier. We offer competitive exchange rates for foreign currency and offer a quick, secure and reliable experience. So, if you’re looking to convert your money before you head off on your French adventure, you can trust the team at Crown Currency Exchange to make it hassle-free.

Is tipping customary in France? How much is expected?

If you’re travelling to France, you may have heard that tipping is not customary. But how much should you tip if the situation calls for it? Let’s cover all the basics of tipping in France, ranging from restaurants and cafes to spas and tour guides 

Restaurants and Cafes: In restaurants and cafes, a 15% service charge is usually included with the bill. It is generally accepted practice to leave a small amount of change on top of the bill if you were satisfied with your experience.

Hair Salons and Spas: When visiting a hair salon or spa, it is customary to leave at least 10% of the total cost as a tip for good service. However, this may be different depending on where you go; always ask ahead of time if there are any additional fees associated with your visit so that you can budget accordingly.

Tour Guides: If you hire a tour guide while visiting France, it is polite to give them a tip at the end of the tour. Generally speaking, 10-15% of the cost is considered fair and appropriate for good service.

Taxi Drivers: When taking a taxi in France, it is customary to round up the fare to the nearest euro or leave up to 5%. This is considered a polite gesture and will be appreciated by your driver. However, if you are satisfied with the service provided, feel free to tip more generously.

Hotel Staff: Tipping hotel staff in France is not required but can be a nice gesture of appreciation for good service. It’s customary to give them a few euros depending on how long you stayed and how helpful they were during your stay.

Can you bargain in France?

Price haggling is not as common in France as it is in many other parts of the world. Bargaining may be acceptable at French markets, but it is generally not practised in stores such as boutiques, department stores or pharmacies. It’s important to note that even in markets, bargaining for goods should always be done politely and with respect for the vendor.

What is ATM access like in France?

Nothing is more convenient than finding an ATM in France. In prominent cities such as Paris, Nantes, and Lyon, they are practically ubiquitous, with one located around every corner. Even if you go to smaller cities and towns, it won’t take you very long to locate an ATM where you can withdraw cash. Simply seek out the closest train station, mall or city centre, and you can be sure there will be one available.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

When travelling on a tight budget, it is important to plan your daily expenditure carefully. It is possible to enjoy many wonderful experiences while keeping to an affordable per-day budget of €60-80 (AUD $95-127). By working with this suggested budget, you can find affordable porting solutions such as hostel dorms, cook your own meals often, and take advantage of public transportation for getting around. 

Moderate

On a moderate budget of around €150-170 (AUD $237-269) per day, you have ample choices in enjoyable activities and accommodation. A private Airbnb could provide you with comfortable lodging for the duration of your stay, as well as experiences like wine tours and visits to nearby attractions, such as Versailles. You can also choose to indulge in meals outside your accommodation each day, enjoy a few complimentary drinks, and utilise the efficient transportation options to get around other cities during your travels. 

Luxury

If you are looking for a more luxurious daily budget, you may consider setting aside at least €300 (AUD $475) or more. This allows for more lavish experiences such as staying in hotels, indulging in nice meals, renting a car to travel around, and participating in activities of your choice. With this type of budget, the sky is the limit, and you will be able to experience the many luxuries that life has to offer!

Currency details

Currency:

Euro

Currency code:

EUR

Currency symbol:

Central bank:

Banque de France

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Cent = 1/100

Bank notes:

€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500

Coins:

1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2

Must-do's while you are in France

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1. Eat at a French Restaurant 

No trip to France would be complete without indulging in some authentic French cuisine. From cheese platters to delicious pastries, no matter what your taste buds desire, there is something for everyone. There are plenty of restaurants in Paris that serve traditional French dishes such as steak frites, ratatouille, and more. Whether you want an upscale dining experience or just a casual café meal, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of options available in France. 

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2. See the Eiffel Tower 

The iconic Eiffel Tower is a must-see for anyone visiting France. With its spectacular views of Paris and its iconic design, this structure is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower and enjoy breathtaking views of the city below them or simply admire it from afar. There are also plenty of souvenir shops nearby where visitors can purchase unique items that remind them of their time spent admiring this magnificent monument. 

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3. Climb to the Top of Notre Dame Cathedral 

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most stunning cathedrals in Europe and climbing to the top offers stunning views overlooking Paris as well as access to some fascinating history of this landmark building. Climb up hundreds of steps and enjoy breathtaking views over Paris before descending back down into one of Europe’s most picturesque cities.

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4. Take a Cooking Class in France 

France has long been known for its exquisite culinary delights, and what better way to learn about French cuisine than by taking part in a cooking class? Learn how to make classic dishes such as coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon from experienced chefs who are passionate about teaching others their craft. You’ll leave with more than just recipes – you’ll gain an understanding and appreciation for French cuisine that will last forever! 

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5. Stroll Through The Gardens at Versailles Palace 

Take a day trip out of Paris and visit one of Europe’s most impressive palaces — Versailles Palace. Aside from exploring its lavish interiors and grandiose architecture, make sure you also find time to stroll through its opulent gardens; they are absolutely breathtaking!

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