I've found myself repeatedly needing to ask vendors for change in certain ways, and I realized I have no idea what words are used for this.

So far I've been getting away with this:

Vous avez de la monnaie ? (I hold out a €5 bill) Je voudrais deux deux et un un.

Of course I'm trying to say that I'd like two €2 coins and one €1 coin. People usually understand but it's not very smooth. In English that's exactly how you would say it though-- "Could I get two fives and a ten?" And then for coins we specify quarters, dimes, nickels, etc.

How is this done in French, with the euro?

2 Answers 2


We would not say "deux deux" or "un un" but

J'aimerais deux pièces de deux (euros) et une pièce de un.


Vous auriez de la monnaie sur 5 euros en pièces de un ?

if you want only 1€ coins. The same applies to banknotes.

Vous auriez 2 billets de dix (euros) ? (while showing a 20€ note)

Edit after an interesting question:

In this particular case, "de un" is not contracted to "d'un". It can be contracted only if the noun "euro" follows:

Une pièce de un.

Une pièce de un euro.

Une pièce d'un euro.

NOT Une pièce d'un.

  • 1
    Why is it "de un" and not "d'un" ? It seems intuitively right but I couldn't put my finger on the grammatical rule at work here. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 0:23
  • Good question! I do not know if there is a formal rule. Here, the contraction of "de un" into "d'un" is only possible if there is "euro" after: "des pièces de un", "des pièces de un euro" or "des pièces d'un euro". I edited my answer accordingly.
    – SteffX
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 13:31
  • 1
    @Aerovistae Elision (d'un) is mandatory when un is an article and forbidden (de un) when un is a noun. While it can be either in une pièce d(e) un euro, un can't be but a noun when alone so there is no elision. See french.stackexchange.com/questions/9603/…
    – jlliagre
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 14:54
  • @jlliagre Thank you. It seems obvious now.
    – SteffX
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 15:54

I would like to add to SteffX's answer that in Québec, it is common to hear people say

deux deux et un un

and even

deux deux et un une.

"Une" comes from the other name given to "un dollar", which is "une piastre", sometimes written as "une piasse".

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