Travellers to France made have ended up with a silvery 10 euro coin in their spare change. These aren't forgeries but new coins issued by the Mint of Paris in October 2012. Only 3 million of these 10€ coins were issued, and there was very little publicity about them, so that they may not always be readily accepted in the shops. A lot of people do not even know about their existence. To make things even more confusing this is a series of 27 different 10€ coins, representing each of France's 22 regions + its 5 overseas territories. Each features a famous person from the region. These new coins are available from French post offices.

These coins have full legal currency in France, but not in other Eurozone countries, where they are regarded as collector's items. That's why you can only come across them in France. You can view the new coins here.

This is not however a French peculiarity. All countries issue special coins for collectors every year, although they are usually made of real silver or gold, which means that their face value is far lower than their actual value, and consequently will never been seen in shops. France also released 10€ and 25€ coins in late 2009, 2010 and 2011. There has also been more limited editions of 250€ and 500€ coins.