ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
ATMs at the airport, the train station and on every second street corner. Visa, MasterCard and Amex widely accepted.
You always get a better exchange rate in-country but it is a good idea to arrive in Bordeaux with enough euros to take a taxi to a hotel if you have to.
- Commercial banks charge up to €5 per foreign-currency transaction – if they even bother to offer exchange services any more.
- Bureaux de change (exchange bureaus) are faster and easier, open longer hours and often give better rates than banks.
- Some post-office branches exchange travellers cheques and banknotes in a variety of currencies but charge a commission for cash; most won't take US$100 bills.
- Credit and debit cards, accepted almost everywhere in Bordeaux, are convenient, relatively secure and usually offer a better exchange rate than travellers cheques or cash exchanges.
- Credit cards issued in France have embedded chips – you have to type in a PIN to make a purchase.
- Visa, MasterCard and Amex can be used in shops and supermarkets and for train travel, car hire and motorway tolls.
- Don't assume that you can pay for a meal or a budget hotel with a credit card – enquire first.
- Cash advances are a supremely convenient way to stay stocked up with euros, but getting cash with a credit card involves both fees (sometimes US$10 or more) and interest – ask your credit-card issuer for details. Debit-card fees are usually much less.
By law, restaurant and bar prices are service compris (ie they include a 15% service charge), so there is no need to leave a pourboire (tip). If you were extremely satisfied with the service, however, you can – as many locals do – show your appreciation by leaving a small 'extra' tip for your waiter or waitress.
- Bars No tips for drinks served at bar; round to nearest euro for drinks served at table should service be exceptional.
- Cafes Leave 5% to 10% for outstanding service, but absolutely no obligation.
- Hotels Give porters €1 to €2 per bag.
- Restaurants Leave 10% or a few euro coins on the table after paying the bill.
- Tour guides Give €1 to €2 per person.