This suggestion came from Franck, who is currently struggling with a bit of jetlag and a lot of heavy duty digestive work from all of those delicious raclettes, choucroutes, etc. he has been enjoying.
He reminded me how handy it is to have about five euros in one euro, two euros, and fifty centimes coins in your pocket when you arrive in France.
First of all, so many things that are often free at home i.e. luggage carts require coins in France.
Also, and far more distressingly to new arrivals to the country, many of the public toilets in airports and train stations cost fifty centimes to one euro to use. This can be a nasty surprise when you really have to go.
It is always nice to have some coinage in your pocket to be ready for such eventualities, and if you have any left over you can treat yourself to a lovely espresso.
One generally can’t get coins from your local bank (they only deal in exchanging bills), but think about hitting up any friend or relative that has been travelling in Europe recently. I’ll bet they have a pile of euro coins in a dusty bowl in their bedroom.
Then you will have an exciting new world of French toilets at your feet!