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France - Currency

France became one of the first nations to begin using the single European currency in 2002. The Euro is used by a number of member states across the continent including Greece, Spain, Belgium and Germany. These countries are known as the Eurozone and the currency is also used in a number of overseas territories governed by France. These include Martinique, Reunion and Guadeloupe. The symbol for the Euro is € and the banking code is EUR.

The Euro came into existence earlier than 2002 in 1999 when it was introduced onto the financial markets, but at that stage it was considered to be a non-cash monetary unit. The idea for the currency came out of the Maastricht Treaty in 1991. The currency is managed by the European Central Bank which is based in Frankfurt as well as the European System of Central Banks.

100 cents make up each Euro and these are sometimes referred to as Eurocents. Coins are available in denominations of €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c. Each country’s coins show where they originated even though they can be used in any of the Euro countries. The notes are available in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. The universal nature of the currency means that coins and notes which have been obtained in one of the Eurozone countries can be used in any of the other Eurozone countries.

The Euro has fluctuated in value in recent years and has been damaged by the economic downturn, although it is slowly recovering.

When you need to change currencies in France the best places to go are the Credit Mutuel or the Credit Agricole. You are unable to spend foreign currencies in France as it is against the law for shops and hotels to take currencies other than the Euro. Some hotels also have a bureau de change. Some people use travellers cheques but not all banks will take them.

Visitors can import and export different currencies as they choose, although if you are moving an amount which is more than €7622 must be declared to the authorities.

Prior to the Euro, the currency of France was the Franc. This was divided in much the same way as the Euro and dated back to the 14th century.

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