Good Samaritan hands out francs

Benefactor helps charities in run-up to final day for exchanging old money into Euros

FRIDAY is the final day for exchanging franc notes for euros and it has meant a welcome surprise for some charity groups in an Alsace village.

For several weeks now, an anonymous benefactor in Hoerdt has been sending envelopes with 200 and 500 franc notes inside to parents groups, church choirs and others.

The Banque de France has confirmed that the Good Samaritan's notes are genuine - with the Pierre et Marie Curie 500FF note being worth €76.22 and the Gustave Eiffel 200FF €30.49.

In the Indre town of Le Blanc shops have been accepting franc notes as currency for the past five years as a publicity stunt and an organiser said they had exchanged more than 2.5 million francs in all.

They stopped the operation last week to avoid the last-minute rush at the Banque de France and lodged the final sum raised of 360,000FF and got €55,000 in return.

February 17 is the final day date butoir for exchanging the old money and after that the franc notes will be worth only what a collector will pay. There are thought to be €400 million worth still in circulation. Francs can only be exchanged at one of the 64 branches of the Banque de France.

A website has been set up to get more information at