Monetary System


Circulating Coins
1 Franc = 100 centimes

No mintmark on circulating coins

Centime(s): 1, 5, 10, 20 / Franc(s): 1/2, 1, 2, 5, 10, 100
On January 1, 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro a s a common currency to be used by the financial institutions of member countries; Three years later, on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions with the member countries

Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of a common exchange currency, the euro, in January 1999. At present, France is at the forefront of efforts to develop the EU's military capabilities to supplement progress toward an EU foreign policy.

Borders Andorra 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, France 623 km, Switzerland 573 km
Economy Population: 60,424,213 (July 2004 est.)
GDP per capita: $ 27488.98

In the years following the second world war, France was at the heart of the intellectual push for a unified Europe, thanks to people such as Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann, who are considered the architects of the European project. In the 1980s, under President Francois Mitterrand, France further strengthened its place at the forefront of the European Union, leading the debate in Brussels and benefiting from Jacques Delors' influential years at the helm of the European Commission. However, France's contribution to the creation of the euro has not been without hiccups. The French only joined European Monetary Union after a hard-fought referendum campaign in 1992, in which just 51 per cent voted in favour of the single currency project.

Monnaie de Paris

Monnaie de Paris is one of Europe's top money-issuing authorities. The French Mint, as the agency is also called, is attached to France's Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry, and is responsible for the production and issuing of the country's supply of euros. Monnaie de Paris manufactures coins and bills at two facilities--one in Paris and the other in Pessac, in the Gironde region near Bordeaux. The latter facility is a fully integrated site, with operations spanning metal production to packaging. Between 1998 and 2002, that facility produced more than nine billion coins for the launch of the euro. The state-run agency also manufactures foreign currency coins and bills. Through the Direction of Coins and Medals (DCM), Monnaie de Paris produces a wide range of commemorative coins (not just for the French government but also for the private and business sectors) and has extended its range to include art bronzes and even jewelry. In support of these activities, Monnaie de Paris began to hold thematic design compositions in 2003. The DCM is also responsible for the production of civil and military medals and related honor decorations for the French and other governments.

  • 864: Charles the Bald asserts the French monarchy's control of production of currency
  • 1360 John the Good, after being ransomed from British captivity, introduces the first franc coin
  • 1795 The franc is adopted as France's official currency
  • 1803 A full-scale currency system based on the franc is developed; this action includes the creation of what will become the Monnaie de Paris
  • 1879 The French government passes legislation placing minting activities under the government's exclusive control
  • 1958 The French government, under Charles de Gaulle, announces creation of a "new" franc to replace the devalued old franc
  • 1973 The Monnaie de Paris builds a fully integrated coin production site in Pessac, near Bordeaux
  • 1979 The European Monetary System, a first step toward a common European currency, is adopted
  • 1998 Monnaie de Paris ends its production of the franc and launches full-scale production of euro coins, producing nine billion coins over four years
  • 1999 The euro becomes the officially monetary unit of the European Union
  • 2002 The euro begins circulation; Monnaie de Paris launches a restructuring program

For further information, contact La Monnaie de Paris, 11, quai de Conti 75270 Paris Cedex 06, Standard : 01 40 46 56 66, Telecopie : 01 40 46 57 00, Email:, Internet: