“Paris a la pêche!” says the headlines in all the French newspapers. That means both “Paris is feeling great” (from the expression “avoir la pêche,” meaning “to feel peachy”) and “Paris has the pêche,” referring to the introduction of a new local currency.
Supporters of the pêche claim that it encourages a “real” local economy, reduces our environmental impact, and fights speculation and fiscal paradises. Money flows directly from buyer to seller, with no banks and no involvement of the international economy.
The pêche can be used to buy goods or services from businesses that accept it; so far, there are only five in Paris (click here for the list). One pêche equals one euro. When euros are changed into pêches, 3 percent is deducted and donated to the association of your choice from a list of approved organizations (political and religious outfits are excluded).
France already has 65 local currencies, and some 80 more are being developed.
“Legally,” says the association La Pêche, Monnaie Locale, “local currency has the same status as a restaurant coupon; it’s a voucher that circulates among a network of people and businesses that accept it.”
To use the pêche, you must first join La Pêche, Monnaie Locale, with a minimum contribution of €1. The form can be found here. In Paris, you can exchange euros for pêches at La REcyclerie, (83, boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris), a very cool café/restaurant devoted to all things ecological.