If traveling to Paris is in your future, we recommend that you not get your euros here in the States beforehand. You will pay through the nose for the conversion and it takes some time and hassle to go through your bank. Here’s a proven, 9-year tested approach that works for Bernie and me.
Whether you are flying into Charles de Gaulle or into Orly, you will immediately see ATM’s in each airport after you exit Customs. Use your debit card or credit card with a secure PIN to extract whatever initial cash you need for lunch, your taxi, etc. Of course, before you left, you have notified your bank and other card providers of your travel dates, oui? There is nothing worse than having your card rejected.
I have much lower fees when using my debit card at ATM’s and much better rates on purchases using my Capital One credit card. Check this out before you go and find the best combination for your financial situation.
On the street at an ATM, have someone at your back to watch out. Though we’ve never had an ounce of trouble at an ATM, I know it can happen. Get just what you need and don’t display a wad of euros when shopping. I was politely reprimanded by a fruit-stand vendor once in Paris for pulling out a handful of euros when making a 10 euro purchase.
Do not even think about going inside a Paris bank as those have special codes for entrance by their customers only. Travelers’ checks are a thing of the past. And by the way, take very limited American dollars, just enough to function in the airport coming and going. American dollars are useless in Paris. Their value is also a thing of the past!
Yes, I know. You will hyperventilate when you leave America with no euros. But trust us, it will be just fine. There are ATM’s on every corner in Paris. Don’t do as I did once in Budapest and enter another language besides English!