The French capital is weighing whether to issue its own unique currency. But can I buy a baguette with that?
PARIS — The Seine is not only the river that runs through Paris. It could soon become the name of a future local currency used in the French capital. The association "Une Monnaie pour Paris" (A Currency for Paris) has been launched to convince city officials that it needs a unique currency to complement the euro.
The aim is to have the new local currency circulating in the city of Paris proper by late 2017, accepted by participating businesses that promote local production and services. Municipal employees might also be able to receive a part of their salaries wih the local cash.
It is estimated that there are more than 5,000 local currencies around the whole world. Among the best known is the WIR, first issued in Switzerland in 1934, in the middle of the global depression, and still used today alongside the Swiss franc, in electronic form to avoid credit drying up for local businesses.
The Paris effort is driven more by a desire to encourage local production and distribution, Le Figaro reports, comparing the initiative to online crowdfunding. But more than 30 other towns and cities in France have already experimented with a local currency, sometimes with rather limited success. The city of Montreuil, just to the east of the capital, launched its La Pêche currency in 2014, but it has not been widely adopted. "There aren't enough store owners who participate, so it doesn't occur to people to pay with La Pêche," one Montreuil city official told Le Figaro.