As I prepare for our little European Vacation : ), I am certain that my posts will be influenced by France. Considering this is probably not interesting to most people, I have decided to include the information (regardless) for my personal reference. It’s kind of like a public file system. By displaying my files publicly I am hoping to draw some direction, opinions, and advice from seasoned expats and travelers. So, if you find it a bore. Hang in there. Simply skip over it. – christy

 

 

Tips for Saving in a Bad Euro Exchange Rate

By Kelby Carr, About.com

Cheat the Euro Exchange Rate

With the euro building strength, especially against the dollar, it can make a trip to France and other European countries too expensive. There are lots of ways to cheat that bad euro exchange rate, just by simply making euro-saving decisions on where to go, when to go, where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Here are tips on saving euros in a bad exchange rate.

Where to Go to Save Euros

Forget Paris. It’s one of the world’s most expensive cities. Either avoid it entirely, or simply fly into Paris, stay overnight, spend a day enjoying the sights, and move on. Other pricier cities to avoid include Cannes and Nice.Besides, there are so many other wonderful destinations and regions in France. Inexpensive cities, all of which have an airport in or nearby the destination and are well worth a visit, include:

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When to Go to Save Euros

Paris in the Springtime? Think again. Spring and summer are the priciest times to visit, and they aren’t even necessarily the best times.If you really feel you must experience spring, go in late March and go to the South of France where it’s warmer. Want summertime? Well into October, the French Riviera is still balmy (you can probably even go in the water, but certainly can sunbathe).

Go during fall and winter, and you not only save euros but you will also avoid crowds, have a more authentic experience with fewer tourists and more locals, and you will get to enjoy how amazing France is during the off-season.

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Where to Stay to Save Euros

If you want to save on the nasty euro exchange rate, where you stay is one single method of saving hundreds of euros. Not only that, but if you use an alternative accommodation to hotels you will have a unique experience. You will probably meet more people, and get much more hands-on care from the proprietors.Fortunately, there are several fine budget choices for places to stay, from government-rated upscale campgrounds to bed-and-breakfast-like chambres d’hoteto foodie-favorite Logis de France inns.

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Where to Eat to Save Euros

Food is often a major reason people visit France. Even if you don’t have a lot of euros, you will be hard-pressed to eat something bad here. Use a little creativity, and you will find fabulous food and a fraction of the euros. Visiting Europe and not eating well is just, well, silly. In fact, a Venice restaurant is even offering discounts to Americans because of the nasty exchange rate.Instead of a fancy lunch at a cafe, visit the local market (and there’s always a local market in France) to put together a wonderful picnic of tomatoes, local farm goat cheese and a baguette to tuck it all into. Buy your wine at a local grocer, and you can find a decent bottle for under 5 euros.

Forego the accommodations breakfast (be sure to tell them you don’t want it when you book, as it is sometimes automatically included). Instead, hit a local bakery for an incredible breakfast.

That way, you can spend most of your money on a great dinner. Save a few euros there by ditching the dessert menu and hitting a local pastry shop for sweets.

Better yet, get a rental or self-catering gite with kitchen and you can hit local markets and grocers to create your own meals.

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What to Do to Save Euros

Sightseeing can be expensive or it can be cheap in France, and there isn’t a big difference in the quality of the experience. Avoid organized tours and attractions with expensive tickets.Instead, enjoy some of the cheap and free things to do in France, such as visiting gardens and cathedrals, or wandering the many pedestrian-friendly cities and villages. Take a local train ride for a quick and cheap daytrip to see the coutryside and another destination.

France is filled with mountains and seasides, and an endless mix of outdoor adventures. With something as simple as a pair of hiking boots, you can sightsee for free.

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