Head for France – fast – if you still have old French francs!

Friday is the last day to change your aging French francs for euros

Old French francs: last day to exchange them for euros is 17 February 2011

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Exactly 10 years ago the French franc was put to rest as France’s currency, and today is the last day any of those old bills can be exchanged for euros at banks in France. The government has been calling on citizens to come in early, and not wait for the final day, but a spokesperson for the Bank of France told news agency AFP that they were nevertheless seeing a sudden rise in people bringing in old bills.

Le Point reports that at the end of 2010 some 50 million bills were still in circulation, with a value of euros 602 million.

TSR points out that it’s not all old French money, since the deadline is long past for turning in coins and a number of other bills. The ones you can still exchange, until the banks close today: Pierre and Marie Curie (500 francs), Gustave Eiffel (200 francs), Cézanne (100 francs), Saint-Exupéry (50 francs) and Debussy (20 francs).

If you’re heading for the bank be sure to take legal identification with you. You’ll find the exchange rate and the list of banks on the official site, Je change mes francs. The 20 franc note is worth euros 3.02, to give you an idea.