My wife lived in Paris during the 1960s, and we are going there on our upcoming trip in September. She told me that when she lived there, that you always got a better deal using Dollars instead of Francs. With the change in the world economy, and the switch to the Euro, we were both wondering if this is still true. Does anyone here have any experience using Dollars in France (and England) recently? I know that there are many stores in New York that now accept Euros, but wonder if shops and restaurants in London and Paris still accept Dollars, and what kind of exchange rate you can expect.
Why would you trust a local business person to give you a favorable exchange for your dollars, regardless of where you are? They have to exchange them, just like you, and they have to deal with fees, just like you.
"wonder if shops and restaurants in London and Paris still accept Dollars, and what kind of exchange rate you can expect." Very few, if any at all. Even if they do accept dollars, expect to get killed on the exchange rate.
Very few shops in England (outside the international airports) will take USD. Some very touristy places do accept USD, at an exchange rate that favours them, but you couldn't really get by with just dollars*.
*Not pertinent to this post but I wonder if it would be possible to construct a viable itinerary around Europe only going to places the will accept USD? Kind of like a yankee dollar version of this. Just for fun.
Jim, well into the 1970's in Europe there was a goodly amount of willingness to accept US$ because it was a much more stable currency. Kind of a country-by-country thing depending on whether or not they were experiencing rampant inflation at the time. Same as the situation in Mexico from time to time over the last few decades.
But currently, no...you will not get much if any play in Paris trying to offer US greenbacks instead of euros.
While it is true that many years ago dollars were accepted in many places in Europe, those days are gone forever. At the time, the dollar conversion rate was very good and many people were eager to accept dollars. The dollar was considered a very sound stable currency in those years.
The only place I have seen dollars accepted (well
the charge being in dollars on your credit card)
is in England at Heathrow and in Harrods. You may think this is a good deal because you are not getting an extra charge on your card but believe me the exchange rate they use is in THEIR favor and I
would never do this.
When I was in St. Petersburg about 5 years ago, the merchants in the markets accepted dollars but this may have changed with all that has been going on in
the financial world in the last year. I even paid for an ice cream at Catherine's Palace with dollars!!
"When I was in St. Petersburg about 5 years ago, the merchants in the markets accepted dollars but this may have changed with all that has been going on in the financial world in the last year." When the value of the ruble collapsed several years ago, I'm sure Russians were all to happy to get some hard currency, but as you implied, this has ended.
No, you can still use U.S. dollars in St. Petersburg, as of last month.
The OP says that he knows that "there are many stores in New York that now accept euros". Wow, first I heard of it. Could we know which stores these are, please? I have never found a store anywhere in the US of A that will accept Canadian dollars, so if one will countenance euros I am pleased to hear of it. (I am trying to imagine a young sales clerk in a NY store when first she or he is offered euros in payment. NO, the mind boggles!)
The French Franc was a weak currency until it got tied to the Deutschmark. But now we've all got the Euro, a currency much stronger and much more stabil than the dollar or the pound sterling. Hardly anybody accepts dollars in Europe at the moment and those who do, like McDonald's give you a horrible exchange rate for their own protection...
In general, it's countries with weak currencies and not much exchange fluctuation that will accept Dollars.
Nicaragua is a good example. Hotels and the more expensive restaurants will often give you the bill in Dollars. They are required by law to accept Cordobas (the Nicaraguan currency), but there is usually little difference or savings if you decide to pay in Cordobas. Even many bank ATMs offer you the option of withdrawing Dollars rather the Cordobas.
You can also easily exchange Dollars for Cordobas on the street, from licensed currency vendors. The rates are as good or better than you would get at a bank -- without the bureaucracy.
Quite different from the EU!
This article (see URL above) about stores in NYC accepting Euros dates from 2008. Things have changed since then. While the Dollar is now weakening again somewhat against the Euro, it's nothing like 2008, when the Euro was worth almost $1.60.
I do agree with the attitude of one shopkeeper quoted in the article -- rather than going to the bank to exchange Euros he has collected from foreign tourists for purchases, he just keeps them for his next trip to Europe! A good idea, especially since US banks tend to give you a very poor exchange rate when changing Euros to Dollars.
The only place I found that would accept US dollars was Morocco. What worked in 1960 has no bearing on today; things have progressed too far. In fact, I would bring very little US money with you. Use an ATM and withdraw Euro's; it gives you the best exchange rate and it is convenient. Forget about using US dollars while there and enjoy life.
It's not all about the exchange rate. Most tourists to NYC are from Europe. By putting a "Euros Accepted" sign in the window, merchants catering to tourists are hoping to increase overall store traffic. My last foray to NYC was last March and there were still lots of these signs in the touristy areas.
I've also noticed lots of touristy shops in Florida with "Canadian Dollars Accepted" signs.
"It's not all about the exchange rate. Most tourists to NYC are from Europe. By putting a "Euros Accepted" sign in the window, merchants catering to tourists are hoping to increase overall store traffic."
Interesting. I wonder how these shop calculate the exchange rate, and if it is favorable to the tourists, or the shop.
In Europe, I would be skeptical of doing business with any shop that will take Dollars instead of Euros. If I did pay in Dollars, I would be careful to make sure I was getting a good deal on the exchange rate.
last spring in Paris,I was short on Euros and a street vendor happily took my US dollars- i ended up buying several prints cheaper with the dollars than I would have using euros ( considering the exchange rate)
As I posted above; there are many shops and hotels in Europe that will take dollars especially in areas frequented by American tourists - they are just nowhere near ubiquitous enough to make a trip carrying only USD practical.
This has nothing to do with weak currency and everything to do with business opportunity. For whatever reason a lot of Americans want to travel and spend USD; businesses that accept dollars can tap into this customer base, increasing their turnover (they can also make a little extra profit by massaging the exchange rate.)