Frommer's lists exact prices in the local currency. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.oanda.com/convert/classic to check up-to-the-minute rates.
For decades Paris was known as one of the most expensive cities on earth. It still is a pricey destination, but London has not only caught up with Paris, it has surpassed it. Paris is not as expensive as Tokyo or Oslo, but it's increasingly difficult to find even an average hotel for less than 150€.
ATMs are widely available in Paris, but if you're venturing into rural France, it's always good to have cash in your pocket. Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) and daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Many banks impose a fee when you withdraw money abroad, and that fee can be higher for international transactions than for domestic ones. In addition, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. Currency exchange is available at Paris airports, train stations, and along most of the major boulevards -- just look out for a sign saying Bureau de Change. They charge a small commission.
Visa (known as Carte Bleue in French) is the most common credit card in France but most international credit cards are widely used. In an attempt to reduce credit card fraud, French credit cards are issued with an embedded chip and a PIN to authorize transactions. Non-French cards (which don't have a chip) do work but they print a slip that requires a signature. This does mean, however, that they cannot be used in automated machines, such as those in Métro stations. Check for hidden fees when using your card abroad -- some bank charges can be up to 3% of the purchase price. Use the following numbers in France to report your lost or stolen credit card: American Express (tel. 01-47-77-72-00; www212.americanexpress.com); MasterCard (tel. 08-00-90-13-87; www.mastercard.com); Visa tel. 08-00-90-11-79; www.visaeurope.com). It may be difficult to get a new card until you get home, so carrying two cards is better than one. There are still shops, restaurants and bars, often family-run, that don't accept credit or debit cards so it's always good to both check in advance and have cash on you. The minimum amount you have to spend to use a credit or debit card is slowly decreasing, but in some shops and bars, again often smaller businesses, it can be as high as 15€.
You can buy traveler's checks at most banks, and they are widely accepted in France, although frankly, merchants prefer cash. Because of difficulties with credit cards or ATMs that can reject your card for no apparent reason, travelers are once again buying traveler's checks for security in case something goes wrong with their plastic. They are offered in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and sometimes $1,000. Generally, you'll pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%. The most popular traveler's checks are offered by American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. You can change traveler's checks at most post offices. If you carry traveler's checks, keep a record of their serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost -- you'll get your refund faster.
For help with currency conversions, tip calculations, and more, download Frommer's convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile/ and click on the "Travel Tools" icon.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.