France is familiar to many people living in England as it is easy enough to hop across the English Channel to Calais or Dunkirk to spend a day in the country. Of course this is a big country and it is well worth considering a longer holiday there if you can. It has a lot to offer, as you will see when you read further.
France once used the French franc but now it uses the euro, in common with many other European countries.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
You will see a couple of euro coins available on your travels throughout France. These are the one and two euro coins. You may know the euro is comprised of one hundred cents, officially called euro cents but more commonly referred to simply as cents. There are several coins in the cent denomination, namely the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins.
There are also several banknotes available, ranging from the €5 note to the €500 note. Try to stick to notes of €50 and below, including the €10 and €20 notes as these are easier to exchange. You will rarely see the €100 and €200 notes and try to steer clear of them as they can be difficult to pay with, especially in small shops, cafes and restaurants.
From past to present – the history of the French euro
France has been a member of the Eurozone from the earliest stage in 1999. It was one of the first countries to introduce the euro, replacing the French franc as it did so.
How to get hold of French euros
As you might expect it is very easy to get hold of euros to spend on holiday in France. The euro is a major world currency now and while the French version of the coin looks a little different on one side to the national sides on other euro coins, it is still the same currency.
You can get your euros in advance from a bureau de change if you wish, or exchange your own currency for euros in France once you get there. Aim to visit a post office if you can, or a proper bureau de change. Banks will happily exchange your currency for the euro but they will charge you a huge amount for doing it as well.
It is always good to keep some cash with you at all times while you are in France. However you can of course use credit and debit cards as well. Regardless of where you might be in France, it is wise to ensure the venue, restaurant or shop you are in will accept your chosen card prior to trying to pay with it.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the French euro
Again if you’ve ever done this before it is easy enough to work out for the euro. Find your favourite currency converter, enter the amount you want to convert and choose your own currency first and then the euro to convert it into.
If you are considering taking a holiday in France you can find out a bit more from the official website for the Embassy of France in London. Visit it now at http://www.ambafrance-uk.org.
Travelling safely with French euros
France is a very popular country to visit for many people across Europe. It is wise to be alert to minimise any chance of being a victim of petty crime. There are plenty of pickpockets around, especially in popular areas such as the capital, Paris. There are many techniques that are used to try and grab bags, money and other valuables, so make sure you do everything you can to stay safe. One example is the distraction technique, which is commonly used in busy locations and whenever someone uses a cashpoint. One person will get your attention while another grabs your money or dips into your bag.
Always keep bags closed and wallets and purses secure in a zipped pocket if you possibly can. It is also wise to split up your money so you don’t carry all of it in the same place. Most of this is really common sense and would apply in many different countries. However you should be particularly alert in popular tourist locations and venues.
Where to spend your euros in France – and what to spend them on
Where shall we begin? France has a lot to offer and the experience you have there could be very different depending on where you go and what you decide to do.
Let’s start with the capital, Paris. This can be found to the north of the country and has many iconic sights worth seeing. One of the most famous is the Eiffel Tower, which offers spectacular views over the city. A trip up here helps you to orient yourself before you explore the remainder of the city in more detail. You can look down on the Seine, the river that runs through the city, as well as many other iconic sights.
You could also enjoy a walk along the Seine itself if the weather is good. Elsewhere there is the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (home to the Mona Lisa) and many other amazing sights. In addition to this you can take just a short trip out of the city to find the Disneyland Paris amusement park.
But is this all there is to look forward to when visiting France? Absolutely not – the capital is only the beginning of what you have to look forward to. Other popular areas to visit include Toulouse, Lyon and Bordeaux. Toulouse is in the south of the country and boasts a stunning cathedral and a botanical garden among other sights. Bordeaux isn’t too far away to the west, and this is of course the region that is home to the wine of the same name. There are many other reasons to visit this part of France though, including the opportunity to visit many historical sights and destinations. One must-see sight is the Place des Quinconces, which is known as the biggest square in the whole of Europe. Lyon, meanwhile, is slightly further north and to the east. It is proud to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and this alone should give you good reason to visit. Among the sights here are the Roman ruins that include the Ancient Theatre of Fourviere. Indeed Lyon has ruins and buildings that date back from many periods in history, making it something of a living history book.
Of course for many people the ideal destination in France is the French Riviera, otherwise known as the Cote d’Azur. Saint-Tropez is perhaps the most famous place in this part of France, and it is known for being sunny, warm and an attractive destination for the rich and famous. It doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t pay it a visit though!
During the winter months certain parts of France are also very popular among skiers. Its proximity to Germany, Spain and the UK means it has the benefit of offering lots of potential for skiing without having to travel great distances to reach the ski centres. Among the best areas that are well known for skiing in France are Courchevel, Meribel and Chamonix.
There is also the possibility to enjoy countryside based holidays in France should this be more your kind of thing. Some of the countryside here is quite stunning, and many walkers and hikers go on holiday here every year. Provence is perhaps the best known area for many people, but most areas in France have lots of smaller towns and villages settled somewhere into the countryside.
In a sense, there are as many different types of holidays in France and as many ways to spend those euros as you can possibly imagine. From major cities to small villages you could almost miss as you drive through them, France certainly has a lot to offer.
Where would you go if you booked a holiday in France? We all have different ideas to be sure, and it is worth noting that whatever you want to do you will find a place that is just perfect for your needs.
The good thing about using the euro is that most people are now familiar with it. Even if you don’t use the euro in your home country you will know about it and what it looks like. You may even have a few spare euros sitting around if you live in England and you’ve popped over on the Channel Tunnel for a day or so.
Whatever the case may be, there are many reasons why you should think about getting hold of some Euros so you can enjoy a nice trip into France. Whether you want a skiing holiday, a city break or a countryside jaunt, France can offer you the best of all worlds whenever you want to visit.