Where and How to Exchange Currencies in Paris
So you’ve arrived in Paris and can’t wait to start exploring this beautiful city. But first thing’s first – you need to know where and how to exchange your currency.
France is an E.U. member country, as well as a part of the designated “Eurozone”, meaning Euros are the official currency. There are a few different options for exchanging currency to Euros in Paris, and I’ve outlined the plus and minuses of each of them in this article.
While Paris has so many things to offer, unfortunately, an abundance of currency exchange bureaus is not one of them. But don’t worry! That’s why I’ve written this guide all about where and how to exchange currencies in Paris.
Why Exchange Your Currency in Paris?
While Paris is in a lot of ways, very modern and cosmopolitan, it still manages to hang onto its ancient roots, especially in terms of commerce.
Most large stores and supermarkets will accept the majority of foreign bank cards (though Amex is very rarely accepted in France). But the smaller shops, boutiques, farmer’s markets, restaurants and many bakeries are cash-only.
This also goes for street merchants, and most street food vendors.
Lots of smaller businesses also have a minimum purchase of €10-20 if you pay by card. Plus, most foreign banks will charge a foreign transaction fee when you use your card abroad. The amount is usually a percentage of the transaction, so be aware of this! It can add up quickly.
In my opinion, it’s just easier to have cash on hand when you come to Paris!
How to Exchange Currency Before Arriving
The best way to exchange your currency in Paris is actually to do so before getting on the plane. This is because you’ll save both time and money.
Many international banks provide the possibility of ordering Euros (or any other currency) in advance for a trip abroad. If you like to plan ahead, this is the option for you! Banks offer the most favorable exchange rates and don’t charge convenience fees on ordered currency.
Just be careful, there’s a limit on how much cash you can have on your person when entering France. If you choose this option, make sure to check out the guidelines carefully.
Where to Exchange Currency Upon Arrival: the Airport
The first place to change money upon arrival is a currency exchange booth (bureau de change) at the airport. Both of the main Paris airports, Orly and Charles de Gaulle offer multiple currency exchange services.
These offices provide currency exchange services, and usually a variety of other useful services like wire transfers, VAT refunds and even prepaid phone cards.
Although these places are extremely convenient, the downside is the higher cost. The currency exchanges at the airport offer less favorable exchange rates than most other places, and they’re likely to hit you with hidden fees. So if you can wait until you get into Paris, it’s best to do so.
Where to Exchange Currency in Paris: Exchange Office
There are a number of currency exchange options once you reach Paris. They tend to be dotted all around the most visited parts of the city center. If you’re walking the Champs-Elysées, in the Marais or near the Louvre, options abound.
It can be tough to navigate and weigh out which places offer the best rates. Generally, the rates should be displayed clearly at the entrance, and a good exchange rate is considered to be 5% difference between the buying and selling price.
My personal favorite is located right next to the Louvre and is called Change and Collection. This is the place I recommend to friends and family when they come to visit.
I’ve always had a great experience there. The rates are extremely favorable, (best I’ve found in Paris), the staff are helpful plus they speak excellent English!
In my eyes, this place is a win-win for currency exchange in Paris. And you can’t beat the location, both the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens are just steps away.
change and collection – 1 rue Rouget de lisle 75001
open monday through friday 8:30 – 18:00
saturday 9:30 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:30
Where to Exchange Currency in Paris: ATM
There are a few options available to change currencies in Paris, but using an ATM is by far the easiest and most practical choice. You can easily find an ATM in any Parisian neighborhood, whether you’re in the city center or a little further out.
In order to use your bank card at an ATM in Paris, you’ll have to let your bank know in advance. Usually you can set up these travel alerts online, which allow you to use your card in whatever countries you’ve selected. But of course, every bank is a little different, so be sure to check what your individual policies and daily limits are.
So why exchange currency at an ATM in Paris? Well, it’s mostly for convenience. You can easily get Euros anytime you need them from an ATM, but this convenience comes at a cost. In this case, your bank is basically acting as a middleman, and taking care of all of the exchange rates, fees and foreign currency adjustments. On top of that, there’s usually an ATM fee of €3-5 for each withdrawal.
I would recommend taking out larger amounts all at once to avoid the fees stacking up.
A Few Last Tips…
The biggest piece of advice I can give you regarding exchanging currencies in Paris is to do some research before arriving.
Find out what your bank’s policy is regarding foreign transaction fees, ATM fees, and make sure to alert your account manager about your upcoming travels. This will save you a lot of stress and hassle along the way.
So now you know all about how and where to exchange currencies in Paris. I hope this article has been helpful to you!
See you soon in Paris!