Money and Costs
Budget: Less than €100
- Dorm bed: €25–50
- Espresso/glass of wine/demi (half-pint of beer)/cocktail: from €2/3.50/3.50/9
- Metro ticket: €1.90
- Baguette sandwich: €4.50–6.50
- Frequent free concerts and events
- Double room: €130–250
- Two-course meal: €20–40
- Admission to museums: free to around €15
- Admission to clubs: free to around €20
Top end: More than €250
- Double room at historic luxury hotel: from €250
- Gastronomic-restaurant menu: from €40
- Private two-hour city tour: from €150
- Premium ticket to opera/ballet performance: from €160
ATMs widely available. Visa and MasterCard accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants; fewer accept American Express.
ATMs (distributeur automatique de billets in French) are widespread. Unless you have particularly high transaction fees, ATMs are usually the best and easiest way to deal with currency exchange. French banks don’t generally charge fees to use their ATMs, but check with your own bank before you travel to know if/how much they charge for international cash withdrawals.
- Cash is not a good way to carry money; it can be stolen and in France you often won't get the best exchange rates.
- In Paris, bureaux de change are usually more efficient, are open longer hours and give better rates than banks – many banks don’t even offer exchange services.
Visa/Carte Bleue is the most widely accepted credit card in Paris, followed by MasterCard (Eurocard). Amex cards are only accepted at more upmarket establishments.
Note that France uses a smartcard with an embedded microchip and PIN – few places accept swipe-and-signature. Some foreign chip-and-PIN-enabled cards require a signature – ask your bank before you leave. Chipless cards (and even some chip-embedded foreign cards) can't be used at automated machines (such as at a metro station or museum).
France uses the euro (€), which is divided into 100 centimes. Denominations are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 notes, and €0.01, €0.02, €0.05, €0.10, €0.20, €0.50, €1 and €2 coins.
French vendors rarely accept bills larger than €50.
Check the latest exchange rates on websites such as www.xe.com.
- Taxis Taxi drivers expect small tips of around 5% of the fare, though the usual procedure is to round up to the nearest €1 regardless of the fare.
- Restaurants French law requires that restaurant, cafe and hotel bills include a service charge (usually 15%). Many people leave a few extra euros for good service.
- Bars and cafes Not necessary at the bar. If drinks are brought to your table, tip as you would in a restaurant.
- Hotels Bellhops usually expect €1 to €2 per bag; it’s rarely necessary to tip the concierge, cleaners or front-desk staff.