autriche belgique finlande france allemagne
grèce The the Euro symbol-zone. irlande
italy luxembourg Hollande / Pays-bas portugal espagne

Since january the first 2002, most European people have the same money : the Euro.
All same coins and banknotes all over Europe.
Except rainy GB grande-bretagne, needless to say, plus cold Sweden suède and frozen Danmark Danemark...
 
This page is designed to show you those new coins and banknotes.
 
Symbol for the Euro is the Euro symbol.
It looks like an "E" but with two lines in the middle instead of one.
Those two lines are the symbol of stability.


European computer keyboards now have a new key for this symbol : on the right bottom corner of the E key (access with AltGr). Another symbol that US people will have to handle (along with the famous french "accents" é, ê, ô... and Nordic weird letters Ø, Ð, Ã...).
 
the new Euro symbol key on European computer keyboards

One Euro is somewhat equal to one US Dollar, with some advantage to US Dollar or to Euro depending on... err.. on a lot of erratic parameters no one can tell you about how that mess works !
For change rate, you can check online conversion websites, such as xe.com
 
the scale of prices in Euros for goods from a stamp to a house  

The banknotes

They range from 5 to 500 through 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200.
 
There's no 1 Euro banknote, sorry

(but may be there will be one in the future...)

Banknotes have all different size and color : the smallest dimension is the smallest value. On one face, they are showing bridges (a symbol for "communication") and on the other face they are showing doors or windows (a symbol for "opened", in the meaning "opened mind" but you can understand "store opened" and come in Europe spend your dollars).
 
5 euros banknote 10 euros banknote 20 euros banknote 50 euros banknote 100 euros banknote 200 euros banknote 500 euros banknote
Those banknotes include numerous safeties to make perfect reproduction almost impossible : holographic stripe, value printed half (match by transparency), metallic stripe included inside the paper, thick ink on some parts, invisible ink printing etc... etc...
 
Here are the 5, 10 and 20 Euros banknotes side by side with the 5, 10 and 20 dollars banknotes for scale. You can see three of the safeties : holographic stripe (right), value printed half (top left) and thin lines printing creating the "moiré" (watered) artefact effect from the scanning process.
 
5 euros banknote 10 euros banknote 20 euros banknote
5 dollars banknote 10 dollars banknote 20 dollars banknote

The coins

They range from 1 cent (or centime) to 50 cents through 2, 5, 10 and 20 plus there are the 1 Euro and 2 Euros coins.

There is no 25 cents nore any Quarter Euro coin, sorry.

Here are the Euros coins (enlarged) side by side with the US 25 cents coin for scale.

1 Euro cent 2 Euro cents 5 Euro cents
10 Euro cents 20 Euro cents 50 Euro cents the 25 US cents coin (for scale)
1 Euro 2 euros

To ease identification, in addition with the different sizes and colors, edges are all different for each group with a clear modification for the edge of the central coin of each group, so that you can identify any coin at glance.

In my opinion there was a tremendous lack of explanations about how to use the edges for identification at a glance. I've seen too much people waisting their time (and the one of those queuing behind them...) carefully and slowly turning the coins to read the value side, instead of simply looking to the color + size + edge.

The "number" face is the same for all European countries. The "national symbol" face is typical to each country member of the "Euro zone".

You can use ANY Euro coin in ANY Euro zone country

The game there is to have one set of Euros from each Euro zone countries (good luck...).
Note that Monaco and Vatican do belong to the Euro zone and do stamp Euro coins too, although they are "monarchies" (ruled by Prince Rainier in Monaco and pope Jean Paul II in Vatican). Of course they stamp the Euro in very small quantity. If you're a fan of pope Jean Paul II or Prince Rainier (husband of r.i.p. Grace Kelly), there's is very little chance you'll have the happy surprise to find a Vatican Euro or Monaco Euro in your change, except if you go to the Vatican souvenir shop or Monaco Casino.
An even rarer Euro is the Euro from the "République de Saint Marin". One can say this Euro is some kind of numismatic Bigfoot : numerous pictures and highly sought after but nobody never caught it !

For France, the national symbols are the tree (roots and lasting), Marianne (the republic) and the "Semeuse" (the sower, allways that symbol on Franc coins since... long ago)

To see what those France symbols exactly look like, you can either :

If you're looking for euro coins for sale from all countries of the euro zone, you can have a look to my collection.

If the adaptation from the Franc to the Euro is easy for an American tourist (1 Euro = about 1 Dollar), that same adaptation is not so much easy for French people as 1 Euro = 6.55957 Francs...
For one year, different systems was developped to help people to train to convert from the old Franc scale to the new Euro scale, such as this one, a set of handy cardboard information distributed by the supermarkets Carrefour :

a set of handy cardboard information distributed by the supermarkets Carrefour

Numerous electronic calculators integrating an Euro/Franc conversion key was also developped, either with two displays or simply with a big EURO/FRANC conversion key.
 
Euro converter with two displays Euro converter with one display only but a big Euro/Franc conversion key

But the converter that I found really wyse is the simplest one (some kind of 2CV design !). It was distributed by the supermarkets Auchan and its a simple plastic card, similar to a credit card but soft and having a lenticular side : when you tilt the card, either you can see a table with the new Euros money or that same table but reading the Euro table converted to the old Franc :
 
The Auchan lenticular card showing the new Euro money table The Auchan lenticular card, tilting the card The Auchan lenticular card showing the Euro money table converted to the old Franc money

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