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Money & Costs


Currency: euro (EUR), formerly French franc (FF)


Relative Costs:


  Budget: US$5-15

  Mid-range: US$15-30

  Top-end: US$30+


  Budget: US$25-35

  Mid-range: US$35-60

  Top-end: US$60+


The land of the US$5 café au lait is not exactly Europe's cheapest destination, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank to visit. Devoted scrimpers can get by on around US$40 per day, though it means a whole lot of brie-and-baguettings in the park. For a more well-rounded culinary experience and a comfy bed or two, a minimum of US$80 is in order. Of course, for the Dom Perignon crowd, those figures might not cover even the day's pourboires - count on dropping US$200 and up if you're really living large. Student and senior citizen discounts are common.

Traveller's cheques are the safest, most convenient way to carry funds in France and are almost universally accepted, especially in larger towns and tourist centres. Banks and exchange bureaux give better exchange rates for traveller's cheques than for cash; Banque de France offers the best rates in the country. Credit cards get a better exchange rate on purchases and cash advances; France's ATMs accept all the major internaitonal credit and bank cards. Leaving a pourboire (tipping) is done at your discretion - restaurants and accommodations add 10-15% to every bill, but most people leave a few coins if the service was satisfactory.