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The Euro

Published on November 13, 2007

As of February 18, 2002, French franc coins and notes are no longer legal tender in France.All transactions in France will be conducted in euro currency only.

What is the euro?

On January 1, 1999, the European Central Bank (ECB) introduced a common currency called the euro throughout participating European Union (EU) member states, effectively binding together a multilingual continent of distinct cultures, economies and governments with a common tender. The euro has become the national currency of 17 countries and is used daily by 500 million people — giving it the highest combined value of cash on the world market. The euro is a symbolic and tangible daily reminder of a political and economic cohesion forged over 50 years ago with the Treaty of Rome.

The graphic euro symbol is €. (hold down the ALT key and type 0128 on the numeric keypad part of your keyboard.)

The official abbreviation is EUR.

What does the euro look like ?

There are seven denominations of euro bills: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. The bills’ designs are common throughout the Euro zone, both front and back, and incorporate illustrations of bridges, gateways and windows.

Coins are issued in eight denominations: 1 and 2 euros, and in euro cents in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins. Each denomination has a common face throughout the euro zone. The other face, however, is decorated uniquely by issuing countries. The full range of notes and coins are shown on the European Central Bank website (see below). All are valid throughout participating countries regardless of the issuing state or the particular design.

Tips for the American Traveler

Traveler’s checks

Euro traveler’s checks are already available and usable in the Euro zone. Note that travelers checks in French francs will no longer be accepted as of January 1, 2002. Send unused checks back to the issuing establishment for a refund.

Will my credit and ATM cards work?

At most major businesses, U.S. credit and ATM cards should work. Smaller businesses and points of sale may require cash.

For American travelers, credit and debit cards will be debited by the dollar equivalent of the euro on their transaction slip.

For further information

- European Central Bank

- European Union Delegation to the USA

- France’s Central Bank

- France’s Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry

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