Exchanging money in French: vocabulary and expressions

You're ready: you've got your tickets, hotel reservations, suitcases packed and your pass in hand! Parfait! Now you just need to know what currency you'll need once you're there. Unfortunately, the Euro is not valid everywhere and you need to prepare a little in advance to know how to exchange your money in French. Although you can do it in advance, sometimes you will also need to change your money on the spot and for that, you will have to communicate. With this fact sheet, you will learn the basic vocabulary and phrases that will help you exchange money all the while speaking French.

The essential vocabulary to change your currency in French


  • Changer de l’argent en euros/dollars/livres : to change money into euros/dollars/pounds
  • Payer en espèces : to pay in cash
  • Retirer de l’argent : to withdraw (money)
  • Échanger de l’argent : to exchange money

The currencies in French

  • Euro : Euro
  • Livre sterling : Pound (British pound or pound sterling)
  • Dollar américain : Dollar (US dollar)
  • Yen : yen
  • Franc suisse : Swiss Franc
  • Australian dollar : Australian Dollar
  • Dollar canadian : Canadian Dollar
  • Rupie : Rupee
  • Yuan : Yuan

The staff

  • Un banquier : a banker
  • Un directeur de banque : a bank manager
  • Un caissier, une caissière : a bank cashier
  • Un employé de banque : bank clerk

The places

  • Un bureau de change : a currency exchange office
  • Un distributeur automatique : An Automated Teller Machine (ATM) (US) / cash dispenser (UK)
  • Une banque : a bank

Means of payment

  • Du liquide : cash
  • Carte de crédit internationale : international credit card
  • Chèque de voyage : traveller's checks (US) / cheque (UK)
  • La monnaie, l’argent : money

Useful terms for changing your currency

  • La monnaie : the change
  • Le taux de change : an exchange rate
  • Le taux, le tarif : the rate
  • La commission : Fee
  • Une devise étrangère : foreign currency / a foreign exchange
  • Une devise, une monnanie : a currency
  • Frais bancaire : bank charges
  • La devise locale : local currency
  • Devise exotique : exotic currency

Changing your currency into French

There are many ways to change your Euros into another currency. You can do it before or after your departure. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and it is better to be well prepared to avoid scams.

Changing currency once in the destination country

Sometimes changing currency before departure is too tedious because of the delays and it is easier to change currency directly on the spot in an exchange office. You can usually find them near travel agencies, airports or banks. Be careful though, the exchange office often charges a fee and each exchange office has different exchange rates that are not always advantageous (especially at airports!). It is, therefore, necessary to know a few phrases in order to avoid any disappointment when you get your money back.

Finding a currency exchange office

  • Bonjour, excusez-moi, pourriez-vous me dire où se trouve le bureau de change le plus proche ? → Hi, excuse me, could you tell me where the closest currency exchange office is?
  • Bonjour, y a-t-il un bureau de change à proximité ? → Hello, is there any currency exchange office nearby?
  • Savez-vous où je peux échanger ma devise ? → Do you know where I can exchange my currency?

At the exchange office

  • Quelle est la marge sur votre taux de change ? → What’s the margin on your exchange rate?
  • J'aimerais changer mes euros en livres/dollars, est-ce possible ? → I would like to convert euros into pounds/dollars, is it possible?
  • J'ai besoin de changer 200 euros en dollars australiens. → I need to change 200 euros into Australian dollars.
  • Combien coûte la commission ? → How much is the commission?
  • À combien s'élèvent les frais de transaction ? → How much are the transaction fees?
  • Quel est le taux de change actuel? → What is the current exchange rate?

In a bank

You can exchange currency at a bank or ask for traverler's checks (UK cheques). These traveler's checks can be exchanged for cash and are accepted by most merchants. Please note that you will need to present an identity document.

  • Bonjour, je souhaite obtenir des chèques de voyage, que dois-je fournir ? Hello, I would like to get traveler's checks/cheques, what should I provide?
  • De quels documents avez-vous besoin pour obtenir des chèques de commerçant ? → What document do you need in order to get traveler's checks/cheques?

Withdraw from the ATM

  • Bonjour, savez-vous où se trouve le distributeur de billets le plus proche ? → Hello Hi, do you know where the closest ATM/ cash dispenser is?
  • Bonjour, pouvez-vous me dire où je peux retirer de l'argent ? → Hello, could you tell me where I can withdraw?

Other ways to exchange currency

You can always order your currency online with Western Union and collect the money from one of their offices by presenting your ID card or from your bank in your home country. For the latter, it will take a few days to receive the desired currency. Now you know the basics of how to exchange your money in French! Grab your tickets, jump on the plane and leave your luggage at the hotel! Have an amazing time!

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