ROME – One week later, the photo shop on Paris's swank Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore had a sign in its window begging customers to use checks and credit cards because it had run out of euros.
So eager were Parisians to get their hands on the new currency that the Photo Service became a de facto currency exchange and couldn't keep enough of the new currency in stock.
``We try every morning to go to the banks ourselves to get more change but there is always a wait,'' said branch manager Victor Madelaine. ``I simply don't have the time.''
Indeed, the biggest problem one week after the euro's historic New Year's debut - glitches, bank lines and one dismissed foreign minister aside - was that there weren't enough of them to go around.
European Union officials acknowledged the problems but declared the rollout a success. They announced Tuesday that almost three-quarters of all cash transactions in the 12 countries were being conducted using euros - even though old currencies will be valid in many countries for weeks.
Retailers and banks were reporting that their businesses were returning to normal, even with post-Christmas sales starting in many countries, the EU's executive Commission reported.
Also, nearly all automated teller machines had been converted for dispensing euros, lowering the volume of cash withdrawals back to normal levels.
There still were snafus, of course.
Italian bank workers upset that they had been overworked during the chaotic first days of the changeover staged another strike Monday, snarling the country's already lagging conversion process. At Vienna's Criminal Law Court, a prosecutor was seen kicking the vending machine because it didn't accept five-cent coins required for a cup of tea.
But for the most part, over the course of just a few days, euro-phoric Europeans were embracing the crisp pastel notes and shiny coins and some even admitted by week's end they were embarrassed to pay in old cash anymore.
``After nearly a week it really is time,'' to switch to the euro, Berlin's Tagesspiegel wrote in an editorial. ``Waving a 100-mark ($46) bill under the nose of a cashier when you only want to buy a newspaper isn't just embarrassing. It's outrageous.''
Getting ahold of euros, though, was easier said than done - in cities and towns alike.
``There are no problems except there aren't enough euros,'' said Arturo Contreras, owner of the El Patas hostel on the edge of the Spanish farming and commuter village of Corral de Almaguer, an hour southeast of Madrid.
``The government probably thought there would be resistance or fear, but people want them.''
According to pre-launch surveys, Italians wanted euros more than many other Europeans, but the transition was most problematic in Italy. Lines wound around banks and post offices as pensioners struggled to count their monthly payouts in unfamiliar denominations.
In addition, Italy provided the first euro victim, Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero, who quit on Saturday after denouncing the government's lackluster welcome of the new currency.
Italian political analyst Sergio Romano said he wasn't surprised Italy had some trouble with the euro and said that considering the ``cultural hurdles'' facing Italians, Week 1 didn't go so badly after all.
Italians tend to keep a lot of cash at home and rarely use credit cards, he said. As a result, more transactions were carried out last week in cash, which complicated the changeover, he said.
Italian consumer groups also accused retailers of rounding up prices, although EU officials denied any euro-related inflation. A consortium of advocacy groups on Monday published an A-to-Z list of goods and services that had higher prices compared to a week ago, including a 16-percent hike in the cost of a gelato and a similar increase in what prostitutes were charging.
The arrival of the euro also brought a minor flood of old notes into circulation as people dumped stockpiles of ``mattress money'' they had kept hidden from the taxman for years.
``We've had currency come in that's as old as the state,'' said Terry Kennedy, manager of an Ulster Bank branch in suburban Dublin, Ireland. ``We don't ask why they held onto their money so long, we're just glad finally to get it into coffers.''
Churches were also welcoming a windfall of old coins as parishioners offloaded their soon-to-be extinct currencies into collection plates during the first post-euro Sunday Masses.
``People have dropped plastic bags holding dozens of 100 and 200-lire coins (4.6 and 9.3 cents) into the collection baskets,'' said the Rev. Cesare Zandona, friar superior at the church of San Leopoldo in the northern Italian city of Padua.
Irish bishops weren't sure they'd be so lucky. They instructed priests to point out at Mass that since one euro is less than an Irish pound, a two-euro coin would be a good offering.
The Irish church set up a euro education campaign to guard against any drop in donations.
``The church in Ireland can be confident that its finances won't be shortchanged - praise be to God,'' said the head of the campaign, Bishop Brendan Comiskey.