Subject: Euro transition in France
Hi all!

In France, as in the other countries Ziners have reported on, the euro transition has gone more smoothly than expected. Francs disappeared well before Feb. 17, when they were no longer legal currency.

I agree with others that the 2 and 1 cent (or centime in France) pieces are a nuisance. I try to get rid of them whenever possible, and I have a centime piggy bank on my desk as well.

A problem for me is I'm still not fully acquainted with the coins, and some of the coins look alike. And I think there are just too many euro coins. There are eight in all, compared with four in the U.S. (I don't count the 50 cent piece or Sacagawea dollar coin since they are rarely used.)

Most prices are still posted in francs as well as euros because many, perhaps most, French don't know the value of an object in euros. It's difficult to convert 1 euro into 6.55957 francs (the official exchange rate).

As an American I don't have that problem because the exchange rate of the euro is fairly close to the dollar. The euro has hovered around 88 U.S. cents, so I usually just knock off 10 percent of a price in euros to get the price in dollars (after more than a year in France I still think too much in dollars).

I've had no problems at ATM machines, although like others if you ask for 50 euros, you will likely get a 50 euro bill, which is often hard to break. I generally take out 40 euros instead, so I'll get either two 20s or one 20 and two 10s.

(BTW: I hate the 5 euro bill because it's so small. It looks like Monopoly money. And I find the bills generally boring. I miss the 50 franc note with its pictures of the Little Prince on it.)

Bons voyages!

Evan in Paris