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ATM question...Just realized we need to have the whole B&B in euros CASH on arrival

I was just browsing our arrival for the end of May to Paris, and it shows that the host of our B&B through Alcoves and Agapes accepts cash/euros only on arrival (no credit cards, foreign currency etc).

Is it realistic to withdrawn 660 euros at an ATM at CdG airport and not attract attention as a target for robbery??

I'll check with our bank and make sure the amount won't trigger a daily limit on our debit card, but gosh that seems like a lot of cash to be pulling out at an airport. Thoughts? Should we try and find a bank with an inside ATM closer to our B&B? Assuming this is our first time in Paris, and we'll be arriving at 8:15 a.m. after an overnight flight... ugh. We're taking an uber to the B&B, but we'd have to arrive at the B&B and then drag our luggage to some unknown nearby bank and then still hike back to pay the lady.

I'd rather just get the euros here in the US before leaving.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Posted by
34 posts

Your bank may have a daily limit and once you convert the Euros to dollars - it's easy to exceed a cash withdrawal. We usually always buy Euros from our bank before we leave. The exchange rate is a bit higher (I paid 1.21 to 1 Euro recently at the bank, when on XEConverter the rate showed 1.14 per dollar. There are ATMs everywhere - so if you need to withdraw more during your trip - it's very easy to do.

Posted by
3493 posts

You will not be the only ones withdrawing cash at an ATM at the airport. You will not be out of place or draw attention to yourself, unless you react like you hit the jackpot in Vegas when you actually get all the money out you want. :-)

Might be better to have a travel companion get half the money and you get the other half if each of has a debit card for a separate account. It also provides coverage for the what if situation when one card or the other doesn't work. You will need to tell your bank what limit you want, because most US banks place a $300 per day limit. Also, check what fees they charge for foreign withdrawals : percentages, flat fees, or whatever. And make sure to provide a travel notice of when and where you will be traveling so they don't cut you off even if you are just getting daily spending money.

Yes, you could (probably) easily get the Euro from your bank before you leave. They will charge around 10% which is usually buried in the exchange rate. There can be additional fees like delivery charges as well. It would be best to look into this option now as it takes them time and they may not have what you need on hand. Not all banks do foreign exchange anymore anyway. You can also get foreign currency from some AAA locations and American Express sells it online. None of these options is low cost.

Posted by
2927 posts

If I were you, I would bring the euro with me. It's just less hassle and after an overnight flight. ATM's can be finicky when it comes to spitting out amounts and you don't want to delay your entry into the B&B, because you can't get all the money out. I usually get money from AAA, if I need it before hand. Our AAA is not very expensive at all, exchange rate is good, and free for me anyway. I'll pay for ease of transition anyway.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks Jeanette!

I think I'll play it safe and just get the euros here. Having never been to Europe, anything to minimize my out-of-my-element-farm-chick-in-the-city mood that day will be one less thing, haha.

Posted by
1787 posts

Not only your bank, but the ATM's bank may limit the amount you can withdraw. You might end up having to go to two or more ATMs to get the amount you need. I would definitely get the euros in the US. The peace of mind will be well worth the small extra expense.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for all the quick replies! You guys are awesome.

I'll probably definitely get the euros here, to make our morning go more smoothly once we land. Just one less thing to worry about...

Posted by
384 posts

I think you will hit the ATM's cash limit trying to tale 600 euros. (this will go for any ATM) What you will probably have to do is go to a bank and get them to release the cash from the ATM.

French banks usually don't have tellers, but the person at the enquiries desk should be able to use their card to override the machine's limit. Just make sure your card limit will allow it.

Posted by
6950 posts

We carry two ATM cards and two credit cards when traveling. We always check with our bank and credit union to verify the maximum withdrawals per day. If we max out one, we draw on the other.
Note that obtaining Euros ahead of time in the U.S. is a very expensive proposition--on service charges. And even using a Wells Fargo ATM card comes with 5% and $5.00 per transaction charges--too expensive.
We have never had any problems withdrawing cash overseas. We charge everything possible and fill in with ATM cash.

Posted by
33 posts

I just made a quick call to our little local bank, (where I know everyone), and they're fine with me getting that large a quantity of euros here, about 2 weeks prior to our departure. So, whew one less thing.

Posted by
3713 posts

At 1.14 EUR per 1.00 USD, that's about $752, IF you got the cash at an ATM in Paris. One of my credit union debit cards limits me to $400 per day. The other is $1500. Neither has any fees. Some European cash machines have limits because they don't have that much cash in them. What really matters is what your ATM cash limit is in dollars.

Do the math on the day you get your cash locally to see what the exchange rate is so you can actually see how much your bank is charging for you to get it in the US. I never do that largely because I don't need to and because there's no place here in Tucson to do so. AAA only does it online with some kind of delivery to your home. There's a delivery charge, along with potential cash advance costs if you use a credit card to pay for the cash. When you know how much it's costing you to buy those EUR, you will know whether or not it's worth the extra charges. Depending on the nature of your trip, it may be a drop in the bucket compared to your total trip cost.

Keep in mind that money for your rent is not the only money you will need. There are lots of banks in Paris where you can step inside to withdraw cash and feel safe about it. In fact, it seems to me that in some areas of Paris, there's one on every corner. There are definitely more good places to withdraw cash than there are to use a toilet.

For lots more money info and in case you haven't already read about it, go to this Money section of the Travel Tips on this RS website.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have gone to Europe 16 or the last 18 years and have never purchased foreign currency before arriving there. I have stayed in many B&Bs that ask for the total fee in cash upon arrival. In every case I have contacted the B&B folks and asked to provide half the the fee upon arrival and then the other half when I am able to use an ATM the next day. I have never been turned down in that request. If I was ever turned down I would simply stay elsewhere where they are agreeable to that arrangement. I alway get local currency at my arrival airport using a debit card at an ATM that is not owned by a currency exchange company or the like. Later ATM withdrawals I like to make at machines connected to financial offices / banks that are open just in case that there is any problems. You should read the "Cash & Currency" items shown in a list in the lower right hand corner elsewhere on this web site if you have not already done so.

Posted by
1102 posts

Normally I would say to use 2 different cards to get the cash out on arrival, but with that amount it would probably be worth it to get the euros ahead of time from your bank here in the US.

Posted by
6782 posts

You might be able to request large bills (100€) from your bank to minimize the wad of cash.

Posted by
4589 posts

And I would recommend wearing a money belt with that cash, so you can fully enjoy the beginning of your trip with no issues.

Posted by
21844 posts

Expect to pay 10% premium for purchasing euro in the US.

Posted by
6721 posts

Absolutely have a money belt that you wear under your clothes whether you carry the money from home or get it there. Go into the rest room at the airport if you pick up the money there and stow the money before you get on the train or get the cab. I have traveled with thousands of dollars or Euros and it just gives peace of mind to know that it is well stowed and out of sight.

With that amount I would get it from ATMs there. Use two cards and if necessary two ATMs.

Posted by
21292 posts

Don't forget that you cannot wear a money belt going through airport security. I do use one on days when I'm in transit. Though I don't carry much money, I like to protect my back-up credit cards and ATM card. I shove the money belt way down in my purse or zippered tote bag before I leave my apartment. After clearing security, I stop in the nearest restroom and put it on.

Posted by
749 posts

Good point about airport security...As an added precaution consider splitting the 660 euros between the two of you and keep an extra 100 euros in your regular wallet to pay for the Uber and incidentals before you go to a Paris ATM.

Posted by
2055 posts

The riskiest and costliest approach would be to carry cash.

Most US banks limit ATM withdrawals to $500 or less per 24 hour period. Major French banks such as LCL, BNP, or HSBC will allow you to withdraw up to 500€. Smaller banks such as Crédit Mutuel or Crédit Agricole limit ATM withdrawals to 300€ per 24 hour period. One of the safest locations for ATM withdrawals might be inside the local post office as in France, the post office or la Poste is also a bank and almost all post offices have ATMs.

If you must pay for accommodations in cash upon arrival for an amount in excess of 500€, you either need to carry euros with you or to be able to draw cash from two different US bank accounts.

You can ask for assistance from any French bank employee but unless you have an account with the bank, expect to be turned away.

Posted by
28093 posts

8:15 in the morning is a little early to check in to most B&Bs. Will they be ready for you? You should have plenty of time as you walk around to accumulate that much cash. As said, don't just stuff it in your purse or pocket. No pocket is guaranteed safe. Get it into something under your clothes and do that in private.

Posted by
528 posts

Per Visa's exchange converter 660€ = $743.09. Even if you get your Euros in the USA, it is worth knowing your daily ATM limit for withdrawals overseas.

Posted by
1842 posts

We rented our B&B through Alcoves and Agapes and couldn't have been more pleased! Our host family was wonderful, it was a joy to stay with them. They went way above and beyond. We still correspond with them frequently.

The last night we were there, as a small repayment to all their kindness, we treated them to dinner at their favorite neighborhood restaurant. I had escargot for the first time and it was exquisite!

We took the cash to pay for the room with us and had no problems taking the money through security. As Alcoves and Agapes recommend, be sure to pay your host as soon as convenient once you arrive. Some find the business portion uncomfortable and hate to have to ask to be paid.

Have a wonderful trip! If all works out, we'll be in Paris mid May. We'll be joining our grandson who will be finishing up his freshman year in college. He has spent it living and studying in Paris.

Posted by
4370 posts

I've had to do this a few times with small inns and BnBs. Your answer depends on your comfort level. How comfortable are you relying on ATMs in Europe vs. comfort of traveling with that much money in which you'd have no recourse in the case of loss or theft. In my experience, U.S. banks will give you a pretty bad exchange rate. Mine (Wells Fargo, just for travel) doesn't charge me a fee to acquire foreign currency but they certainly make money off the exchange given the rate they use. I have stopped acquiring euros prior to my trip because of this. I've had no issues with ATMs in Europe.

Posted by
33 posts

Lordie so much input! Thanks everyone.

We'll decide as we get closer, which way we want to go. Already have a plan for money belts, spending money, chip/pin credit cards, and splitting up our cash between us both, etc.

Glad to hear you've had good luck with Alcoves and Agapes - we're so excited to stay at ours (with a view of the tower from the bedroom!). The host has been super nice already to deal with.

Thanks again to all who jumped in; I only expected one or two answers, lol

Bonne journée tout le monde!

Posted by
1023 posts

Money belt. Fill it with the cash before you leave. Put the money belt in your bag before you go through airport security. Put the money belt on after you clear airport security and don't access it until you are at the B&B. Avoid the stress of HAVING to get 600 euros immediately after arrival. I have done this at least a half dozen times in the past before ATMs were ubiquitous.

Posted by
3493 posts

The withdrawal limits are two different things when referring to how much an ATM will allow you to get and how much your bank will allow you to get.

The ATM limit is per transaction. The ATM should not remember your card from transaction to transaction as long as you complete your withdrawal and retrieve your card and receipt from the machine. You can then do another transaction, and so on and so on, until you get the cash you need. If you do find one that will not allow you to do multiple separate withdrawals, simply move to a different machine and/or a different bank to continue your withdrawals.

Your daily limit from your cars will be the more important limit. This is etched in stone. You must get this set to the amount your expect to withdraw before your trip. And remember the time zone differences between where you are and where your bank is. You might get your €300 before bed and then attempt to get another €300 when you wake up, but if it has not changed to the next day yet where your bank is, you are hitting the daily limit and will have to wait for when they reset to the next day.

Posted by
12970 posts

I agree with your being overly concerned.

Who is going to know whether I have 50-60 Euro on me as opposed to 600 Euro?

There have been times when paying the final bill in the Berlin Pension I took out 600 Euo, 400 Euro to pay the bill, cash only, for a 10 consecutive night stay, leaving me with 200 Euro as pocket reserve. I've not done this sort of transaction in an airport but rather in a train station.