ATM in France

I made a withdrawal of 200€ at an ATM in Paris on a Thursday. One 50€ note has a 1/8 inch wide , 2 inch long strip missing on the bottom. Three times it has been turned down as legal tender. The Bank where I got it says there is nothing they can do and sent me to Bank of France who sends me to some far off branch in Paris but it is not open until Tuesday (Monday is a holiday). I leave Sunday so I guess I am out the €50. Has anything like this happened to anyone else? These so called banks say they don't keep any money on site. I received the note in good faith from the ATM. Help!

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

When you say you made the withdrawal "on a Thursday" do you mean yesterday or last week? Even if yesterday you would have had time today to go to the Bank of France at Place de la Bastille, which is not a far off branch in Paris but easily reached by bus or metro. I took some old French currency there once to exchange for euros. Anyway, too late now ... just keep the banknote and exchange it when you go to France again. Or maybe a friend will do it for you sometime.

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

Yeah...there are entire blogs, plus untold numbers of blog entries, dedicated to the Banks of France :-( If you plan on returning to Europe, hang onto it and try again (?)...so sorry.

Posted by Elvie
Victoria, B.C., Canada
2 posts

Thanks everyone. Just an experience I guess!
It was the Bank of France at the Bastille though, and they no longer have cash there. ( difficult concept for me!)

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

Elvie I sent you a pm , you should ask on tripadvisor.com paris forums, there are locals and expats on that forum that know the banks better then any tourist would..

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

My guess is that without an account at a local bank, they are going to be very reluctant to help you. Banks in France are finnicky that way. One last-ditch effort to get some of your money back might be to go to one of the money exchanges and see if they'll exchange it into $$. You'll definitely lose some money, but it would be better than being out the full 50€.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
912 posts

Direct contact with the bank operator of the ATM is your only hope and a pretty slim one, particularly if you are not fluent in French. The Bastille Bank of France wasn't handling currency a few years ago when I tried for a different reason.
I once got a bum 50-euro note at an ATM in Charles de Gaulle, and the rip meant I was dead meat. Everyone looked at it like it was toxic.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

This raises an interesting question. In the U.S. I can go either to an ATM machine located outside my bank (or at some branches inside a protected foyer or whatever), or I can go inside the bank to a teller and swipe my ATM card at the little terminal by the teller's window and be handed my cash by a human. If I go inside a European bank, do the tellers similarly have such little terminals and can I get cash from a human - if I wanted to wait in line? I never even thought about going inside till I read this thread. I realize it would be a time waster, but it's a trade-off I might choose if it could save me possibly getting a bad €50 bill out of a machine with little or no recourse to recover a loss. I know, I know, the odds of getting a bad bill are slim, but in some situations there could be additional benefits to going inside the bank.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

If you aren't returning to Paris soon, maybe you could just leave it as a very generous tip after a nice dinner? That way you would only be out 25 or so euro instead of 50. And since the server is a French=speaking local, they probably know how to get the bill replaced with better currency and have a relationship with a bank who will help them resolve the problem.

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

Why would a local person have any better chance of exchanging a damaged bill than a non-local? If I brought a bad U.S. tender bill into a U.S. bank, I don't think they would ask me where I live.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Actually as long as you have 51% of a damaged piece of US currency, the bank is supposed to accept it as legal currency and replace it.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

Rose I think because the local may have a relationship with a bank,, at the very least they may be able to pass it along.

Posted by Roy
Auburn, AL
804 posts

Look on the bright side. Now you have an excuse to go back to Paris. :)