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The franc (; ;
sign A sign is an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at ...
: F or Fr), also commonly distinguished as the (FF), was a
currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed t ...
of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...

France
. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1
livre tournois The ''livre tournois'' (), French language, French for the "Tours Pound (currency), pound", was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern Fr ...

livre tournois
and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money. It was reintroduced (in
decimal form A decimal separator is a symbol used to separate the integer An integer (from the Latin wikt:integer#Latin, ''integer'' meaning "whole") is colloquially defined as a number that can be written without a Fraction (mathematics), fractional ...
) in 1795. After two centuries of inflation, it was redenominated in 1960, with each (NF) being worth 100 old francs. The NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being simply the franc; some mostly older French residents continued to reference and value items in terms of the old franc (equivalent to the new
centime Centime (from la, centesimus) is French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country p ...
) until the introduction of the
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area ...

euro
(for coins and banknotes) in 2002. The French franc was a commonly held international
reserve currency A reserve currency (or anchor currency) is a foreign currency that is held in significant quantities by central bank A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages the currency and monetary policy of a Sta ...
of reference in the 19th and 20th centuries.


History

The French Franc traces its origins to the Carolingian monetary system of the 8th century AD, and more specifically to the
Livre Tournois The ''livre tournois'' (), French language, French for the "Tours Pound (currency), pound", was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern Fr ...

Livre Tournois
, an offshoot of the same system which emerged in the 13th century. Here is a table of changes to the value of the Livre Parisis & the Livre Tournois in terms of silver or gold until the French Franc was introduced in 1795.


Carolingian, 781

Emperor Charlemagne’s monetary system was introduced in 781 CE to the Frankish
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of ...
& spread over the centuries to much of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
, with a Livre (Pound) of silver divided into 20
Sols or Sous (Shillings)
Sols or Sous (Shillings)
and the Sol divided into 12 Deniers (Penny). Only the
denier Denier may refer to: * the French form of ''denarius'' (penny) ** French denier (penny), a type of medieval coin ** Denier (unit), a unit of linear mass density of fibers ** ''Denier'', also ''Denyer'', a French and English surname (probably a me ...
existed as a coin for the next 500 years, with the sou & livre functioning as accounting multiples of the denier. The first livre & denier weighed 407.92 g & 1.7 g, respectively, of the finest silver available.


Capetian, c 1000

Livres & deniers issued c 1000 under the
Capetian dynasty The Capetian dynasty (), also known as the House of France The term House of France refers to the branch of the Capetian dynasty which provided the Kings of France following the election of Hugh Capet. The House of France consists of a num ...
contained 305.94 g & 1.27475 g fine silver, respectively. The French Mark of 8 ounces was a unit of weight equal to 244.752 grams, and equal in weight to 192 deniers or 16 sols of this period. In subsequent centuries the French kings would struggle to implement fixed standards for the livre over a decentralized realm of Frankish feudal rulers, many of whom claimed the right to issue currency within their own domains, and often resorting to currency debasements in moments of stringency. While monetary values as proclaimed by French kings would eventually be identified as the
Livre Parisis The ''livre parisis'' (, ''Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2018, in an area of ...
, other regions almost always got by with currencies of lower standard. One such currency, the
Livre Tournois The ''livre tournois'' (), French language, French for the "Tours Pound (currency), pound", was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern Fr ...

Livre Tournois
, would eventually become the preferred accounting system under a more centralized French kingdom.


Louis IX, 1266

The emergence of the
Livre Tournois The ''livre tournois'' (), French language, French for the "Tours Pound (currency), pound", was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern Fr ...

Livre Tournois
as France’s preferred accounting system occurred during the reign of
King Louis IX
King Louis IX
with the issuance of the silver Gros tournois with 58 issued to a French Mark of silver of fineness (hence 4.044 g fine silver in a gros), and valued at 1 sol (12 deniers) in France’s Touraine region though valued less than 1 sol Parisis. The new coin’s reputation and handling convenience versus those of debased deniers assured the adoption of the gros tournois to the rest of Western Europe.


Late Capetian, 1317

Towards the reign of
King Philip IV le Bel
King Philip IV le Bel
came pressures to further debase the denier, which occurred in 1317 when the Gros Tournois was raised to 15 deniers ''Tournois'' or 12 deniers (1 sol) ''Parisis'', thus commencing the fixed parity of 4 ''deniers Parisis'' to 5 ''deniers Tournois''. While French kings would continue to prescribe coin values in multiples of 4 & 12 deniers Parisis until the end of the 15th century, the rest of France would gradually choose to recognize their increased values in multiples of 5 & 15 deniers Tournois.


Hundred Years' War, 1361

The start of the Hundred Years’ War against
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...

England
in 1337 would increase the pressure to further debase the French livre. An attempt in 1343 to reverse earlier depreciations of circulating deniers and reinstate the old 1317-era gros tournois (forte monnaie, or strong money) caused financial havoc especially with borrowers who received depreciated coins and who then had to repay debts in forte monnaie. Lower valuations for the livre had to be accepted subsequently as the war raged on. In 1361 the gros tournois of 15 deniers Tournois (1 sol Parisis) was minted at 84 to a French Mark of silver, 23/24 fine (hence, 2.79 g fine silver in a gros). At the same time gold flowing from
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern Subregion#Europe, region of Europe. Definitions of Southern Europe, also known as Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean Europe, may include countries and regions such as: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulga ...

Southern Europe
started to become an important medium of exchange in the North, so gold francs worth 1 livre Tournois (16 sols Parisis) were minted at 63 to a French Mark of fine gold (hence, 3.885 g in a franc). Gold as circulating currency would henceforth continue in the form of
Écu , in 1266. The term ''écu'' () or crown may refer to one of several France, French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''m ...
d’ors of varying gold content. The gold franc worth one livre tournois was introduced in 1360 to pay the
ransom of King John II of France The ransom of King John II of France was an event during the Hundred Years War, between Kingdom of France, France and Kingdom of England, England. Following the English capture of the French king during the Battle of Poitiers (1356), Battle of Poit ...
. This coin secured the king's freedom and showed him on a richly decorated horse earning it the name ''franc à cheval'' (meaning "free on horse" in French). The obverse legend, like other French coins, gives the king's title as ''Francorum Rex'' ("
King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and the Ems River, on the edge of the Roman Empire. L ...

King of the Franks
" in Latin) and provides another reason to call the coin a franc. John's son,
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...
, continued this type. It was copied exactly at
BrabantBrabant is a traditional geographical region (or regions) in the Low Countries of Europe. It may refer to: Place names in Europe Belgium * Province of Brabant, which in 1995 was split up into two provinces and an autonomous region: ** Flemish Braba ...

Brabant
and
Cambrai Cambrai (, ; pcd, Kimbré; nl, Kamerijk), formerly Cambray and historically in English Camerick or Camericke, is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often pro ...

Cambrai
and, with the arms on the horse cloth changed, at Flanders. Conquests led by
Joan of Arc Joan of Arc (french: link=no, Jeanne d’Arc, translit= an daʁk; 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (french: link=no, La Pucelle d'Orléans) or "Maid of Lorraine prophecies, Maid of Lorraine" (french: link=no, ...

Joan of Arc
allowed
Charles VII
Charles VII
to return to sound coinage and he revived the ''franc à cheval''.
John II
John II
, however, was not able to strike enough francs to pay his ransom and he voluntarily returned to English captivity. John II died as a prisoner in England and his son,
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...
was left to pick up the pieces. Charles V pursued a policy of reform, including stable coinage. An edict dated 20 April 1365 established the centerpiece of this policy, a gold coin officially called the ''denier d’or aux fleurs de lis'' which had a standing figure of the king on its obverse, pictured under a canopy. Its value in money of account was one livre tournois, just like the ''franc à cheval'', and this coin is universally known as a ''franc à pied''. In accordance with the theories of the mathematician, economist and royal advisor
Nicole Oresme Nicole Oresme (; c. 1320–1325 – July 11, 1382), also known as Nicolas Oresme, Nicholas Oresme, or Nicolas d'Oresme, was a significant philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the g ...
, Charles struck fewer coins of better gold than his ancestors. In the accompanying deflation both prices and wages fell, but wages fell faster and debtors had to settle up in better money than they had borrowed. The Mayor of Paris,
Étienne Marcel 250px, Statue of Étienne Marcel by Antonin Idrac next to the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, Hôtel de Ville of Paris Étienne Marcel (between 1302 and 131031 July 1358) was Prévôt, provost of the merchants of Paris under King John II of France, calle ...

Étienne Marcel
, exploited their discontent to lead the
Jacquerie The Jacquerie () was a popular revolt in late-medieval Europe, popular revolt by peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial agricultural laborer or a farmer with limited land-ownership, especially one living in the Middle Ages under feudali ...

Jacquerie
revolt which forced Charles V out of the city. The franc fared better. It became associated with money stable at one livre tournois.


Lancastrian War, 1425

A certain degree of peace achieved at the start of the 15th century helped settle the value of French currency. After 1422 the gros of 1 sol Parisis was minted at 96 to a French Mark, fine (hence 1.912 g per gros), while the
Écu , in 1266. The term ''écu'' () or crown may refer to one of several France, French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''m ...
of 20 sols Parisis was minted at 64 to a French Mark, 22 karats or fine (hence 3.585 g per écu). The gros and the écu compared favorably with England’s 2-pence coin of 1.8 g silver and 40-pence (th of a pound) half-noble coin of 3.48 g gold, resulting in an approximate exchange rate of 1
pound sterling The pound sterling (symbol: £; ISO code: GBP), known in some contexts simply as the pound or sterling, is the official currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the ...

pound sterling
to six Livres Parisis. Peace in the
Burgundian Netherlands In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands (french: Pays-Bas bourguignons, nl, Bourgondische Nederlanden, lb, Burgundeschen Nidderlanden, wa, Bas Payis borguignons) were a number of Holy Roman Empire, Imperial and France ...
after the 1420s also resulted in the 1434 realignment of the Flemish monetary system with the French livre. The new of 20
Stuiver The stuiver was a pre-decimal coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, w ...
(shilling) contained 32.6 g fine silver and was approximately par with the Livre Parisis of 20 sols (38.24 g). Such parities between the French livres to the Flemish & English currencies would persist up to the 1560s and would facilitate the issue of identical coin denominations across these countries.


Louis XI, 1475

The
Great Bullion FamineThe Great Bullion Famine was a shortage of precious metals that struck Europe in the 15th century, with the worst years of the Famine lasting from 1457 to 1464. During the Middle Ages, gold and silver coins saw widespread use as currency in Europe, a ...
of the mid-15th century resulted in yet another debasement during the reign of King
Louis XI Louis XI (3 July 1423 – 30 August 1483), called "Louis the Prudent" (french: le Prudent), was King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father, Charles VII of France, Charles VII. Louis entered into open rebellion against his father i ...

Louis XI
, with the ''Livre Parisis'' reduced to 1 French ounce (30.594 g) fine silver or 2.620 g fine gold. The silver gros was minted at 69 to the French Mark, fine (3.4 g fine silver) & was valued at th the Livre Parisis (or 2 sols). The gold écu au soleil was minted at 72 to the Mark, 23 karats fine (3.2754 g fine gold), & was valued at 25 Sols Parisis. The close of the 15th century saw the beginnings of a more centralized French currency system & the discontinuation of competing currency systems within France. The Livre Parisis of 1 French ounce approximately matched the silver content of th
pound sterling The pound sterling (symbol: £; ISO code: GBP), known in some contexts simply as the pound or sterling, is the official currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the ...
(1 troy ounce of sterling silver). It would be also be the model for Germany when it commenced issuing the 1-ounce silver
Guldengroschen The Guldengroschen was a large silver Silver is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived from the Proto-Indo-European wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/h₂erǵ-, ''h₂erǵ'': "shiny" or ...
divided into 21
GroschenGroschen (; from la, grossus "thick", via Old Czech The Czech language developed at the close of the 1st millennium from common West Slavic languages, West Slavic. Until the early 20th century, it was known as ''Bohemian''. Early West Slavic ...

Groschen
(gros, shillings) or 252
Pfennig : 1 pfennig 1852. The obverse reads: 360 ake upone thaler A thaler () is one of the large silver coins minted in the states and territories of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges R ...

Pfennig
e (pence).


Valois-Angoulême, 1549

A considerable acceleration in the debasement of the French, English & Dutch currencies occurred during the reign of the Valois-Angoulême kings in the 16th century amidst the huge influx of precious metals from the American continent arriving through the
Habsburg Netherlands Habsburg Netherlands ( nl, Habsburgse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas des Habsbourg), in Latin referred to as Belgica, is the collective name of Renaissance period fiefs in the Low Countries held by the Holy Roman Empire's House of Habsburg. T ...
. The loose enforcement of monetary standards in the Dutch provinces resulted in a significant rd reduction in the value of the French livre by 1549, with debasements continuing into the 17th century. The French ounce (30.594 g) of fine silver was raised in value from 1 to 1 Livre Parisis (or from 25 to 37 sols Tournois). The écu au soleil of 3.2754 g fine gold was raised in value from 25 to 37 sols Parisis (or 31 to approximately 47 sols Tournois). This 50% advance was also seen in England in 1551 when it raised its troy ounce of sterling silver from 40 to 60 pence, and in the 17th century when Germany raised its one-ounce silver
Thaler A thaler (; also taler, from german: Taler) is one of the large silver coins minted in the states and territories of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy during the Early Modern period. A ''thaler'' size silver coin has a diameter of a ...

Thaler
from 1 to 1 silver gulden. The 16th century saw the issuance of larger silver coins, first in testoons (9 g fine silver, valued at 11 sols Tournois in 1549), and later on in silver francs (12.3 g fine silver, valued at 1 Livre Tournois in 1577). These French coins, however, were much less popular than the 1-ounce silver coins coming out of Spain, the Netherlands & Germany, leading to the 1641 currency reform under King
Louis XIII Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de ...

Louis XIII
.
Henry IIIHenry III may refer to: * Henry III, Duke of Bavaria (940–989) * Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056) * Henry III, Count of Louvain (died 1095) * Henry III, Count of Luxembourg (died 1096) * Henry III, Duke of Carinthia (1050–1122) * Henr ...
exploited the association of the franc as sound money worth one livre tournois when he sought to stabilize French currency in 1577. By this time, inflows of gold and silver from
Spanish America Hispanic America ( Spanish: ''Hispanoamérica'' or ''América Hispana'') (also known as Spanish America ( es, América española)) is the portion of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising th ...

Spanish America
had caused
inflation In economics, inflation refers to a general progressive increase in prices of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation corresponds to a r ...

inflation
throughout the world economy and the kings of France, who weren't getting much of this wealth, only made things worse by manipulating the values assigned to their coins. The States General which met at Blois in 1577 added to the public pressure to stop currency manipulation. Henry III agreed to do this and he revived the franc, now as a silver coin valued at one livre tournois. This coin and its fractions circulated until 1641 when
Louis XIII of France Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de ...
replaced it with the silver
écu , in 1266. The term ''écu'' () or crown may refer to one of several France, French coins. The first ''écu'' was a gold coin (the ''écu d'or'') minted during the reign of Louis IX of France, in 1266. ''Écu'' (from Latin ''scutum'') means shield ...
. Nevertheless, the name "franc" continued in accounting as a synonym for the ''livre tournois''.


Louis XIII 1641

In the 17th century
King Louis XIII Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was List of French monarchs, King of France from 1610 to 1643 and List of Navarrese monarchs, King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navar ...
abolished its unpopular coinage of francs & ecus in favor of Spanish-modelled coins. It also abolished the Livre Parisis system in favor of exclusively using the Livre Tournois. The
Spanish dollar The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight ( es, Real de a ocho, , , or ), is a silver Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical el ...
was the model for the Louis d’Argent – 9 to a French Mark (244.752 g) of silver, fine (hence 24.93 g fine silver), and valued at 3 livres tournois. The Spanish
doubloon The doubloon (from Spanish language, Spanish ''doblón'', or "double", i.e. ''double escudo'') was a two-''Spanish escudo, escudo'' gold coin worth approximately $4 (four Spanish dollars) or 32 ''Spanish real, reales'', and weighing 6.766 grams (0 ...

doubloon
or two-escudo coin was the model for the
Louis d'Or The Louis d'or () is any number of French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a mate ...
– 36 to a French Mark of gold, fine (hence 6.189 g fine gold), and valued at 10 livres.


Louis XV, 1726

France entered another turbulent period during the
War of the Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain Charles II of Spain (6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700), also known as The ...
from 1701-1714, resulting in another debasement of the livre tournois. Under
King Louis XV Louis XV (15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774), known as Louis the Beloved (french: le Bien-Aimé), was King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached ...

King Louis XV
's reign in 1726 the silver
Écu , in 1266. The term ''écu'' () or crown may refer to one of several France, French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''m ...
d'Argent was issued at 8.3 to a Mark of silver, 11/12 fine (hence 27.03 g fine silver), and valued at 6 livres. A new gold
Louis d'Or The Louis d'or () is any number of French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a mate ...
was also issued at 30 to a Mark of gold, 11/12 fine (hence 7.4785 g fine gold), and valued at 24 livres.


Louis XVI, 1785

The rise in the value of gold at the onset of England’s
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can also be ...
as well as
King Louis XVI Louis XVI (Louis-Auguste; ; 23 August 175421 January 1793) was the last king of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) wa ...

King Louis XVI
's reign led to the rise in the Gold-Silver Ratio to 15.5, resulting in the reduction in the gold content of the 24-livre
Louis d'Or The Louis d'or () is any number of French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a mate ...
from 1/30th to 1/32nd of a Mark, 11/12 fine. While the silver standard remained unchanged, assays of the period indicate that coins contained approximately 1.5% less bullion than officially specified. The 1795 swapping of livres to francs at the rate of 1.0125 livres = 1 franc suggest that the 6-livre ecu contained 26.67 g fine silver while the reduced 24-livre Louis contained 6.88 g fine gold. The livre tournois was swapped in 1795 for the French Franc (or franc germinal), worth 4.5 g silver or g = 0.29032 g gold (ratio 15.5), at a rate of 1 franc = 1 livres or 1 livre, 3 deniers.


French Revolution

The decimal "franc" was established as the national currency by the
National Convention The National Convention (french: link=no, Convention nationale) was a parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (poli ...
of
Revolutionary France The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...
in 1795 as a decimal unit (1 franc = 10 décimes = 100 centimes) of 4.5 g of fine
silver Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

silver
. This was slightly less than the
livre LIVRE (), previously known as LIVRE/Tempo de Avançar (, L/TDA), is an eco-socialist political party in Portugal founded in 2014. Its founding principles are ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, ...
of 4.505 g, but the franc was set in 1796 at 1.0125 livres (1 livre, 3 deniers), reflecting in part the past minting of sub-standard coins. Silver coins now had their denomination clearly marked as "5 FRANCS" and it was made obligatory to quote prices in francs. This ended the ancien régime's practice of striking coins with no stated denomination, such as the
Louis d'or The Louis d'or () is any number of French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a mate ...
, and periodically issuing royal edicts to manipulate their value in terms of money of account, i.e. the
Livre tournois The ''livre tournois'' (), French language, French for the "Tours Pound (currency), pound", was one of numerous currencies used in France in the Middle Ages, and a unit of account (i.e., a monetary unit used in accounting) used in Early Modern Fr ...

Livre tournois
. The franc became the official currency of France in 1799. Coinage with explicit denominations in decimal fractions of the franc also began in 1795. Decimalization of the franc was mandated by an act of 7 April 1795, which also dealt with the
decimalization Decimalisation (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engli ...
of
weights and measures A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude of a quantity, defined and adopted by convention or by law, that is used as a standard for measurement of the same kind of quantity. Any other quantity of that kind can be expressed as a multi ...
. France led the world in adopting the
metric system The metric system is a system of measurement A system of measurement is a collection of units of measurement and rules relating them to each other. Systems of measurement have historically been important, regulated and defined for the purposes ...

metric system
and it was the second country to convert from a non-decimal to a decimal currency, following
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...
's conversion in 1704, and the third country to adopt a decimal coinage, also following the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
in 1787. France's first decimal coinage used allegorical figures symbolizing revolutionary principles, like the coinage designs the United States had adopted in 1793. The circulation of this metallic currency declined during the Republic: the old gold and silver coins were taken out of circulation and exchanged for printed
assignat An assignat () was a monetary instrument, an order to pay, used during the time of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Brumaire, November ...
s, initially issued as bonds backed by the value of the confiscated goods of churches, but later declared as legal tender currency. The withdrawn gold and silver coins were used to finance the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gre ...
and to import food, which was in short supply. As during the "
Mississippi Bubble The Mississippi Company (french: Compagnie du Mississippi; founded 1684, named the Company of the West from 1717, and the Company of the Indies from 1719) was a corporation holding a business monopoly A monopoly (from Greek el, μόνος, m ...
" in 1715–1720, too many assignats were put in circulation, exceeding the value of the "national properties", and the coins, due also to military requisitioning and hoarding, rarefied to pay foreign suppliers. With national government debt remaining unpaid, and a shortage of silver and brass to mint coins, confidence in the new currency declined, leading to
hyperinflation 400px, Hyperinflation in Venezuela represented by the time it would take for money to lose 90% of its value (301-day rolling average, inverted logarithmic scale). In economics, hyperinflation is very high and typically accelerating inflation. ...

hyperinflation
, more
food riots Food riots may occur when there is a shortage and/or unequal food distribution, distribution of food. Causes can be food price rises, harvest failures, incompetent food storage, transport problems, food speculation, hoarding, poisoning of food, or ...
, severe political instability and termination of the
First French Republic In the history of France, the First Republic (French: ''Première République''), officially the French Republic (''République française''), was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refe ...
and the political fall of the
French Convention The National Convention (french: link=no, Convention nationale) was a parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Rep ...
. Then followed the economic failure of the
Directoire The Directory (also called Directorate, ) was the governing five-member committee A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons that is subordinate to a deliberative assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee ...
: coins were still very rare. After a ''
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state"), often shortened to coup in English, (also known as an overthrow) is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a politica ...
'' that led to the
Consulate A consulate is the office of a consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around ...
, the
First Consul The Consulate (French: ''Le Consulat'') was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the French Directory, Directory in the 18 Brumaire, coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the First French Empire, Napoleonic Empi ...
progressively acquired sole legislative power at the expense of the other unstable and discredited consultative and legislative institutions.


French Empire and Restoration

In 1800 the
Banque de France The Bank of France ( French: ''Banque de France''), headquartered in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,17 ...

Banque de France
, a federal establishment with a private board of executives, was created and commissioned to produce the national currency. In 1803, the ''Franc germinal'' (named after the month Germinal in the revolutionary calendar) was established, creating a gold franc containing 290.034 mg of fine gold. From this point, gold and silver-based units circulated interchangeably on the basis of a 1:15.5 ratio between the values of the two metals (
bimetallism Bimetallism is a monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent to certain quantities of two metals, typically gold and silver, creating a fixed rate of exchange between them. For scholarly purposes, "proper" bim ...
) until 1864, when all silver coins except the 5-franc piece were debased from 90% to 83.5% silver without the weights changing. This coinage included the first modern gold coins with denominations in francs. It abandoned the revolutionary symbols of the coinage 1795, now showing
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
in the manner of
Roman emperors The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rom ...
, first described as "Bonaparte Premier Consul" and with the country named as "République Française". After his coronation in 1804 coins changed the obverse legend to "Napoleon Empereur", dropping his family name in the manner of
regnal name A regnal name, or regnant name or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the ...
s. In 1807, the reverse legend changed to name France as " Empire Français". In analogy with the old
Louis d'or The Louis d'or () is any number of French coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a mate ...
these coins were called Gold Napoleons. Economically, this sound money was a great success and Napoleon's fall did not change that. Succeeding governments maintained Napoleon's weight standard, with changes in design which traced the political history of France. In particular, this currency system was retained during the
Bourbon RestorationBourbon Restoration may refer to: * Bourbon Restoration in France The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the ...
and perpetuated until 1914.


Latin Monetary Union

France was a founding member of the
Latin Monetary Union The Latin Monetary Union (LMU) was a 19th-century system that unified several Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict cr ...
(LMU), a single currency employed primarily by the
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...

Romance
-speaking and other
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands aroun ...
states between 1865 and the First World War. The common currency was based on the franc germinal, with the name franc already being used in
Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_t ...

Switzerland
and
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. G ...

Belgium
, whilst other countries minted local denominations, redeemable across the bloc with 1-to-1 parity, though with local names: e.g., the peseta. In 1873, the LMU went over to a purely gold standard of 1 franc = 0.290322581 grams of gold.


World War I

File:FrancEuro1907-1959.png, The value of the old French franc, in 2007
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area ...

euro
s. Years shaded in gold indicate fixing to the gold standard. The outbreak of World War I caused France to leave the gold standard of the LMU. The war severely undermined the franc's strength: war expenditure, inflation and postwar reconstruction, financed partly by printing ever more money, reduced the franc's purchasing power by 70% between 1915 and 1920. After a brief appreciation of the franc during the Depression of 1920–1921, it depreciated a further 43% between 1922 and a Balanced budget, balancing of the budget in 1926. This devaluation was aggravated by the insistence of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government and World War Foreign Debts Commission Act, World War Foreign Debts Commission that France's war debts be repaid within 25 years at a minimal 4.25 percent interest per year. The currency devaluation contributed to French demands for high World War I reparations, reparations payments from Weimar Republic, Germany. After a brief return to the gold standard between 1928 and 1936, the currency was allowed to resume its slide, until in 1959 it was worth less than 2.5% of its 1934 value.


World War II

During the German military administration in occupied France during World War II, Nazi occupation of France (1940–44), the franc was a satellite currency of the German reichsmark, German Reichsmark. The exchange rate was 20 francs for 1 RM. The coins were changed, with the words ''Travail, famille, patrie'' (Work, Family, Fatherland) replacing the Republican triad ''Liberté, égalité, fraternité'' (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity), with the emblem of the Vichy regime added. After the Liberation of France, Liberation, the US attempted to impose the use of the US occupation franc, which was averted by Charles de Gaulle, General De Gaulle.


Post-War period

After World War II, France devalued its currency within the Bretton Woods system on several occasions. Beginning in 1945 at a rate of 480 francs to the Pound sterling, British Pound (119.1 to the United States dollar, U.S. dollar), by 1949 the rate was 980 to the Pound (350 to the Dollar). This was reduced further in 1957 and 1958, reaching 1382.3 to the Pound (493.7 to the Dollar, equivalent to 1 franc = 1.8 milligram, mg pure gold).


New franc

In January 1960 the French franc was revalued, with 100 existing francs making one ''nouveau franc''. The abbreviation "NF" was used on the 1958 design banknotes until 1963. Old one- and two-franc coins continued to circulate as new centimes (no new centimes were minted for the first two years). The one-centime coin never circulated widely. Inflation continued to erode the franc's value: between 1950 and 1960, price levels increased 72 per cent (5.7% per year on average); between 1960 and 1970, it increased 51 per cent (4.2%). Only one further major devaluation occurred (11% in August 1969) before the Bretton Woods system was replaced by free-floating exchange rates. When the Euro replaced the franc on 1 January 1999, the franc was worth less than an eighth of its original 1960 purchasing power. After revaluation and the introduction of the new franc, many French people continued to use old francs (''anciens francs''), to describe large sums (throughout the 1980s and well in to the 1990s and virtually until the introduction of the euro, many people, old and young – even those who had never used the old franc – were still referring to the old franc, confusing people). For example, lottery prizes were most often advertised in amounts of centimes, equivalent to the old franc, to inflate the Value (marketing), perceived value of the prizes at stake. Multiples of 10NF were occasionally referred to as "mille francs" (thousand francs) or "mille balles" ("balle" being a slang word for franc) in contexts where it was clear that the speaker did not mean 1,000 new francs. The expression "heavy franc" (''franc lourd'') was also commonly used to designate the new franc. All franc coins and banknotes ceased to be legal tender in January 2002, upon the official adoption of the Euro.


Economic and Monetary Union

From 1 January 1999, the value exchange rate of the French franc against the Euro was set at a fixed parity of €1 = 6.55957 F. Euro coins and notes replaced the franc entirely between 1 January and 17 February 2002.


Coins


Before World War I

In August 1795, the Monetary Law replaced the ''livres tournois, livre'' ("pound") with the ''franc'', which was divided into 10 ''décimes'' ("tenths") and 100 ''centimes'' ("hundredths"). Copper coins were issued in the denominations of 1 centime, 5 centimes, 1 décime, and 2 décimes, designed by Augustin Dupré. After 1801, French copper coins became rare. The 5-centime copper coin was called a ''sou (coin), sou'', referring to "sole" (fr. Latin: ''solidus''), until the 1920s. An First French Empire, Imperial 10-décime coin was produced in billon (alloy), billon from 1807 to 1810. During the French Consulate, Consulship period (1799–1804) silver francs were struck in decimal coinage. A five-franc coin was first introduced in 1801–02 (French Republican Calendar#Converting from the Gregorian Calendar, L’AN 10), half-franc, one-franc, and gold 40-franc coins were introduced in 1802–03 (L’AN 11), and quarter-franc and two-franc coins in 1803–04 (L’AN 12). The 5-franc silver coin was called an ''
écu , in 1266. The term ''écu'' () or crown may refer to one of several France, French coins. The first ''écu'' was a gold coin (the ''écu d'or'') minted during the reign of Louis IX of France, in 1266. ''Écu'' (from Latin ''scutum'') means shield ...
'', after the six-livre silver coin of the ''ancien regime'', until the 1880s. Copper coins were rarely issued between 1801 and 1848, so the quarter franc was the lowest current denomination in circulation. But during this period, copper coins from earlier periods circulated. A Napoleon 5-centime coin (in bell metal) and Napoleon and Restoration 1-décime coins were minted. A new bronze coinage was introduced from 1848. The French Second Republic, Second Republic Monetary Authority minted a 1-centime copper coin with a 1795 design. 2, 5 and 10-centime coins were issued from 1853. The quarter franc was discontinued, with silver 20-centime coins issued between 1849 and 1868 as the smallest silver coin produced in France. The gold coinage also changed. 40-franc coins were last struck in 1839 (with just 23 coins minted). Several new denomination were introduced as gold coinage: 5 gold francs (1856), 10 gold francs (1850), 50 gold francs (1855), and 100 gold francs (1855). A second design for the 100 gold franc coin was released in 1878 depicting standing genius writing the constitution. The pictured example (1889) was issued as a proof and only 100 coins were struck. The last gold 5-franc pieces were minted in 1869, and silver 5-franc coins were last minted in 1878. After 1815, the 20-franc gold coin was called a "Napoléon (coin), napoléon" (royalists still called this coin a "Louis d'or, louis"), and so that is the colloquial term for this coin until the present. During the Belle Époque, the 100-franc gold coin was called a "monaco", referring to the flourishing casino business in Monte Carlo. Nickel 25-centime coins were introduced in 1903.


World War I

World War I and the aftermath brought substantial changes to the coinage. Gold coinage was suspended and the franc was debased. Smaller, Coinage shapes#Holed, holed 5, 10, and 25-centime coins minted in nickel or cupro-nickel were introduced in 1914, finally replacing copper in 1921. In 1920, 1 and 2-centime coins were discontinued and production of silver coinage ceased, with aluminium-bronze 50-centime, 1-franc, and 2-franc coins introduced. Until 1929, these coins were issued by the Chamber of commerce, chambers of commerce, bearing the phrase ''bon pour'' on it (meaning: "good for"). At the beginning of the 1920s, chambers of commerce also issued small change coins in aluminium. In 1929, the original ''franc germinal'' of 1795 was replaced by the ''franc Raymond Poincaré, Poincaré'', which was valued at 20% of the 1803 gold standard. In 1929, silver coins were reintroduced in 10-franc and 20-franc denominations. A very rare gold 100-franc coin was minted between 1929 and 1936. In 1933, a nickel 5-franc coin was minted, but was soon replaced by a large aluminium-bronze 5-franc coin.


From World War II to the currency reform

The events of the World War II, Second World War also affected the coinage substantially. In 1941, aluminium replaced aluminium-bronze in the 50 centimes, and 1, 2, and 5 francs as copper and nickel were diverted into the War Effort. In 1942, following German occupation of France, German occupation and the installation of the Vichy France, French Vichy State, a new, short lived series of coins was released which included holed 10 and 20 centimes in zinc. 50 centimes, and 1 and 2 francs were aluminium. In 1944 this series was discontinued and withdrawn and the previous issue was resumed. Following the war, rapid
inflation In economics, inflation refers to a general progressive increase in prices of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation corresponds to a r ...

inflation
caused denominations below 1 franc to be withdrawn from circulation while 10 francs in copper nickel were introduced, followed by reduced size 10-franc coins in aluminium-bronze in 1950, along with 20 and 50-franc coins of the same composition. In 1954, copper-nickel 100 francs were introduced. In the 1960s, 1 and 2 (old) franc aluminium coins were still circulating, used as "centimes".


New franc

In 1960, the new franc (') was introduced, worth 100 old francs. Stainless steel 1 and 5 centimes, aluminium-bronze 10, 20, and 50 centimes, nickel 1 franc and silver 5 francs were introduced. Silver 10-franc coins were introduced in 1965, followed by a new, smaller aluminium-bronze 5-centime and a smaller nickel -franc coin in 1966. A first attempt to introduce a nickel 2-franc coin in 1960 failed. Nickel-clad copper-nickel 5-franc and nickel-brass 10-franc coins replaced their silver counterparts in 1970 and 1974, respectively. Nickel 2 francs were finally introduced in 1979, followed by bimetallic 10 francs in 1988 and trimetallic 20 francs in 1992. The 20-franc coin was composed of two rings and a centre plug. A nickel 10-franc piece was issued in 1986, but was quickly withdrawn and demonetized due to confusion with the half-franc and an unpopular design. This led to the conception of the later bimetallic model. The aluminium-bronze pieces continued to circulate until the bimetallic pieces were developed and additional aluminium-bronze coins were minted to replace those initially withdrawn. Once the bimetallic coins were circulating and produced in necessary quantities, the aluminium-bronze pieces were gradually withdrawn and demonetized. A .900 silver 50-franc piece was issued from 1974–1980, known as the largest silver coin ever minted in France, (due to its face value in accordance to its size) but was withdrawn and demonetized after the price of silver spiked in 1980. Then, in 1982, a 100-franc piece, also in .900 silver, was issued, and circulated to a small extent, until the introduction of the euro. All French franc coins were demonetized in 2005 and are no longer redeemable at the . At the time of the complete changeover to the euro on 1 January 2002, coins in circulation (some produced as recently as 2000) were: * 1 centime (~ 0.15 euro cents) stainless steel, rarely circulated (last production stopped first in 1982, then in 1987 due to high production cost, and lack of demand due to its very low value). * 5 centimes (~ 0.76 cents) aluminium-bronze * 10 centimes (~ 1.52 cents) aluminium-bronze * 20 centimes (~ 3.05 cents) aluminium-bronze * franc (~ 7.6 cents) nickel * 1 franc (~ 15.2 cents) nickel * 2 francs (~ 30.5 cents) nickel * 5 francs (~ 76 cents) nickel-clad copper-nickel * 10 francs (~ €1.52) bimetallic * 20 francs (~ €3.05) trimetallic, rarer (produced for a short period before the euro, the banknote equivalent was much more frequently used) * 100 francs (~ €15.24) silver, rarely circulated (most often bought and offered as personal gifts, but rare in commercial transactions, now worth more than its face value).


Euro exchange

Coins were freely exchangeable until 17 February 2005 at
Banque de France The Bank of France ( French: ''Banque de France''), headquartered in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,17 ...

Banque de France
only (commercial banks were not required to accept the old coins after the transition period in 2002, but some did), by converting their total value in francs to euros (rounded to the nearest cent) at the fixed rate of 6.55957 francs for 1 euro. Banknotes remained convertible up until 17 February 2012. By that date, franc notes worth some €550 million remained unexchanged, allowing the French state to register the corresponding sum as revenue.


Banknotes

The first franc paper money issues were made in 1795. They were
assignat An assignat () was a monetary instrument, an order to pay, used during the time of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Brumaire, November ...
s in denominations between 100 and 10,000 francs. These followed in 1796 by "territorial mandate promises" for 25 up to 500 francs. The treasury also issued notes that year for 25 up to 1000 francs. In 1800, the Bank of France began issuing notes, first in denominations of 500 and 1000 francs. In the late 1840s, 100 and 200-franc notes were added, while 5, 20 and 50 francs were added in the 1860s and 70s, although the 200-franc note was discontinued. The First World War saw the introduction of 10 and 1000-franc notes. The chambers of commerce's notgeld ("money of necessity"), from 1918 to 1926, produced 25c, 50c, 1 F, 2 F, 5 F, and 10 F notes. Despite base-metal 5, 10 & 20 F coins being introduced between 1929 and 1933, the banknotes were not removed. In 1938, first 5000-franc notes were added. In 1944, the US occupation franc, liberating Allies introduced dollar-like paper money in denominations between 2 and 1000 francs, as well as a brass 2-franc coin. After the Second World War, while 5, 10 and 20-franc notes were replaced by coins in 1950, as were the 50- and 100-franc notes in the mid-1950s. In 1954, the 10,000-franc notes were introduced. In 1959, banknotes in circulation when the old franc was replaced by the new franc were: *500 francs: Victor Hugo *1000 francs: Cardinal de Richelieu *5000 francs: Henri IV *10,000 francs: Napoleon, Bonaparte 1st consul The first issue of the new franc consisted of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000-franc notes overprinted with their new denominations of 5, 10, 50 and 100 new francs. This issue was followed by notes of the same design but with only the new denomination shown. A 500-new franc note was also introduced in 1960 representing Molière, replaced in 1969 by the yellow Blaise Pascal, Pascal type (colloquially called a ''pascal''). A 5-franc note was issued until 1970 and a 10-franc note (showing Hector Berlioz) was issued until 1979. Banknotes in circulation when the franc was replaced were: * 20 francs (€3.05): Claude Achille Debussy-brown-purple (introduced 1983) * 50 francs (€7.62): Antoine de Saint-Exupéry—blue (introduced 20 October 1993, replacing Maurice Quentin de la Tour) * 100 francs (€15.24): Paul Cézanne—orange (introduced 15 December 1997, replacing Eugène Delacroix) * 200 francs (€30.49): Gustave Eiffel—red (introduced 29 October 1996, replacing Montesquieu) * 500 francs (€76.22): Pierre Curie, Pierre and Marie Curie—green (introduced 22 March 1995, replacing Blaise Pascal) Banknotes of the current series as of euro changeover could be exchanged with the French central bank or with other services until 17 February 2012. Most older series were exchangeable for 10 years from date of withdrawal. As the last banknote from the previous series had been withdrawn on 31 March 1998 (200 francs, Montesquieu), the deadline for the exchange was 31 March 2008. File:10 Francos franceses 1978 (anverso).jpg, 10-franc banknote (1976) (front) Hector Berlioz File:10 Francos franceses 1978 (reverso).jpg, 10-franc banknote (1976) (back) Hector Berlioz File:Twenty franc banknote claude debussy.JPG, 20-franc banknote (1983) (front) Claude-Achille Debussy File:Twenty franc banknote claude debussy-back.jpg, 20-franc banknote (1983) (back) Claude-Achille Debussy File:Hundred_franc_note_delacroix_1993.jpg, 100 francs Eugène Delacroix File:50francstexupery.jpg, 50 francs Antoine de Saint-Exupéry File:FRA-100f-anv.jpg, 100 francs Paul Cézanne File:FRA-200f-anv.jpg, 200 francs Gustave Eiffel File:FRA-500f-anv.jpg, 500 francs Marie Curie and Pierre Curie


''De facto'' currency

Along with the Spanish peseta, the French franc was also a de facto currency, ''de facto'' currency used in Andorra (which had no national currency with legal tender). It circulated alongside the Monegasque franc in Monaco, with which it had equal value. These currencies were all replaced by the euro in 2002.


See also

*French euro coins *Economy of France *Napoleon (coin)


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

*


External links


Overview of French franc from the BBCBanknotes of FranceFrench franc (1951–1999) and euro (1999–ongoing) inflation calculators and chartsBanknotes of France: Detailed Catalog of French Francs
{{DEFAULTSORT:French Franc Economic history of France Modern obsolete currencies Medieval currencies Currencies replaced by the euro Currencies of Europe Currencies of Andorra 1860 establishments in France 2001 disestablishments in France Currencies of Monaco Currencies of France Currency symbols