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a VirtualTourist member from Butterworth asked on Dec 15, 2010


Where to change 500 euro note into smaller ones?

My friends and I had no choice but accept a 500 euro from the moneychanger in our home country because he had run out of other smaller denominations. Now we are in Paris and find that it is almost impossible to get it change into smaller denominations for our spending. Can anyone advise where we can get it done? Thank you.

17 Answers

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Melbourne

Have you tried a bank?

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Vienna

A bank HAS TO change it and maybe you should also not accept any 200 eurobill from them back, because with that its not much better !

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Paignton

Even 100's can be a pain.

Tho' you of course hold onto it!! Empty your wallets/purses/pockets of evey other money you have between you and leave it all in your hotel room. Then go for breakfast/coffee every morning at a different cafe and when you call the bill proffer the note. When the waiter looks at you with dismay then what you do is empty your various pockets etc and apologetically indicate that that's the only money you have.

You could breakfast everyday for free!!

I have vague recollections of a guy in early 1930's Germany who lived for nothing on the basis of a Swiss 100 Franc note and then wrote a book/story about it.

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Sacramento

BNP Paribas bank should break the note. I would assume any Paris bank would break it into smaller denominations unless you have been given a counterfeit bill. In that case, no one will break it.

BTW, most banks require you to ring at the door and wait until they release the door so you can enter. If this is difficult for you, wait until someone enters with their card and simply follow them inside.

Enjoy your time in Paris.

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from London

Hey, So you're read about me! I was the one in Germany then!

On a serious note, if you go to a jeweller like Tiffany's they'll change it for you without hesitation. And no purchase necessary. Try the ones at: Galeries Lafayette, 40 Boulevard Haussmann or Printemps Boutique, 64 Boulevard Haussmann

Bon chance :-)

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Melbourne

johngayton that's funny.

Before our trip to Europe, I arranged for some Euros from my bank here in Australia. They offered me 500 Euro notes and I told them to "shove it." The girl at the bank asked why, so I explained that it would be like going into a 7/11 and getting a few things and offering aA800 note - then she got the message and got smaller notes.

In Hong Kong the taxis don't have to acceptHK 500 and 1000 notes and if one of these notes is offered at the clients expense, they have to go somewhere the note can be changed.

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Richmond

try the banks or a major chain hotel Cheers Tommy x

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Brisbane

If you haven't paid your hotel tariffs in advance, you could probably use it when you check out to fix up your bill, always assuming of course that your bill comes to a few hundred euros.

answered on 12/15/10 by
a VT member from Paignton

Marymieldas answer is also a good one - wherever I am I'll pay as much on my hotel bill in whatever currency I've still got and put the rest on the card - if your hotel bill is cheaper than 500 Euros then just take the change and have a mini-party at the airport before you fly - HIC! - but if you intend going back to Europe (proper Europe as opposed to the UK) then just hang on to those Euros.

answered on 12/16/10 by
a VT member from Butterworth

We are staying with a Couchsurfing friend so we have no hotel bill to pay. Hahaha, now I see the downside of no bill to pay! My Parisian friend told me it isn't possible to change it at the bank. But I will try anyway. Our other options are to try the Post Office or as suggested, one of the expensive departmental stores. We dined at a restaurant last night but the cashier told us most people pay by card and he told us he did not have the change for 500 euro. Of course, our bill was not much so maybe that's why he refused to change it for us.

answered on 12/16/10 by
a VT member from Evesham

An interesting problem this and one we've had trouble with in Paris. We tried to buy hop-on/hop-off bus tickets for 3 people with a 100 Euro note. The driver had to ring her office to confirm she could accept it!

So, I'd suggest if/when you get someone prepared to accept the note (wouldn't surprise me if they will want to see some id) you ask for nothing above a 50 Euro note.

This news item might help to explain part of the problem.

answered on 1/15/11 by
a VT member from Butterworth

It is possible to get notes of big denominations changed at the Post Office. You have to buy something there (in my case, Xmas cards) and the person in charge will change it for you without a blink.

answered on 6/15/11 by
a VT member

I realize this is an old thread but I have the same problem. I got my 500 note from an aunt as a gift and am planning to use it when I go to Paris next month. So I just have to buy something from any big post office in Paris? Although, if that doesn't work, I'll probably try to pay the hotel bill with it.

answered on 6/16/11 by
a VT member from Vienna

DONT count on your hotel to change such a bill !!!
at least 50% of the smaller hotels will not accept it, BUT any bank has to change it, otherwise I am sure it helps a lot when you tell them, "I will call the local newspaper and tell them, you XY-bank does not accept and change a 500 Euro-bill"
They know they would get into real trouble with the EU in such a case!

answered on 6/16/11 by
a VT member from Europe

500 and 200 notes are not very common, but you can see them, more then once it happened I tooked those notes of 500 when a customer gave to me for paying the bill.. should I have said no? I don't remember I had troubble to use them or take them to the bank.
Once I've seen change 500 euro to ARS$ at Buenos Aires...
how? I did it and I had no problem.

00... 2002-->2011 it's really hard to believe a bank in Paris would not change 500 EUR to smaller notes!! you were supposted to be in France! at Paris!! or in Buenos Aires, also called Paris of South America, are little ahead?
touché? OUI! So, being very polite, if you'll get a refuse, you have to "toucher" their "orgueil" beside all any bank in Europe MUST accept/change euros it does not matter which notes! you are not try to change something different, of course they'll want to see your passport, they will make a copy of it, they.. but they have to change.

answered on 6/17/11 by
a VT member from Butterworth

I got my 500 Euro changed at a small post office so you shouldn't have any problem either. :-)

answered on 6/21/11 by
a VT member

Thanks to all who replied! I was a little scared when I read about the "legend" of the 500 Euro note.

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