The Banque de France keeps a close watch on acceptance of cash as legal tender
When cases of cash payments being refused are reported, the Banque de France acts in conjunction with the French Ministry of Finance, and more specifically its Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF). It should be possible to pay in cash anywhere in France. Should a cash desk or counter refuse to accept payment in cash, another cash desk or counter at the same location will do so.
When a refusal is reported, the Banque de France first sends a warning letter to the establishment or retailer that was in breach of its obligations. If no progress is made, the DGCCRF may step in and issue an official complaint and hand out a fixed fine of €150. Numerous cases were reported during the Covid-19 pandemic when cash refusal signs were displayed. Upon receiving warning letters from the Banque de France, the signs were removed. Very few fines are currently handed out as the intervention of the Banque de France usually suffices.
The Eurosystem makes sure banknotes are safe
The Eurosystem makes sure that euro banknotes are safe to use by researching the potential impact of their production and circulation on public health. More specifically, analyses carried out since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic by leading European laboratories have confirmed that the use of cash presents no greater risk of contamination than any other everyday object, provided of course that the barrier measures recommended by the World Health Organization are applied (particularly regular hand washing and avoiding touching the face).