Thanks to posts I read on this forum, I'm happy to say that the advice I followed has been working wonderfully in Paris:
1. Before leaving, open a Bank of America checking account. Put enough money in it to cover your cash needs in Paris, and still leave over $1000 in the account. That way BofA won't charge you any fees.
2. Get a Bank of America ATM card for the above account. I told them not to incorporate a Visa card into it...just a plain ATM card with a 4-digit pin.
3. Don't take any euros to Paris. When you get off the plane, go to a BNP ATM machine in the airport and withdraw money with your BofA ATM card. I think the upper limit is E200 a day. There are no fees for this transaction, and the exchange rate is a hair better than the one reported by Google.
4. Before leaving, also get a CapitalOne Visa card. It's been accepted everywhere I've tried it in Paris during the last couple of days. There are no transaction fees like the other credit cards I have (which charged 2-3%), and in fact you get 1% back on your Paris purchases. Also has a good exchange rate.
I plan on canceling both of the above accounts when I return to the USA (as I'm not planning any more trips abroad for a while), but the bother of opening and closing the accounts seemed worth it to me when I consider the convenience and cost-saving of using them.
Hope this helps!