The previous French national currency, the franc, expired on February 17, 2002. On January 1, 2002 euro was introduced in France and in twelve other European countries. The French gradually became familiarized with the new currency. Banks provided chequebooks in euro as early as the spring of 2001 and accounts were made in euro by the autumn of 2001. All the sectors of economy were actively involved: credit institutions, businesses, public authorities and naturally the citizens of France. Now a 58.5 million people in France use the euro as a single currency. At the time of the introduction of the euro one euro was exchanged for 6.55957 French Francs.
Euro Banknotes and Coins in France
France is surrounded by countries that participate in the Euro zone: Italy, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. The national side of the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins from France features Young Marianne, standing for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It was designed by the engraver of the Paris Mint Fabienne Courtiade. On the 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, France has a picture of the Sower, the traditional French coin theme. On the 1 and 2 euro coins there is a tree symbolizing life, growth and continuity. Thus the French euro coins feature three different designs for three series of coins. All the designs share the 12 stars of the EU and the year imprint as well as the letters RF standing for the Republic of France.
Each denomination in the series of the euro banknotes has a dominant colour, which enables it to be easily differentiated from the other denominations. The spectrum of colours is similar to that of the rainbow but not identical since the indigo colour was replaced by gray to avoid any confusion with the blue colour. Primary colours as green, red and blue have been selected for the widely used banknotes, because they are the most easily distinguishable. Gray was selected for the 5 euro banknote, which is the most widely used. The twelve stars of the European flag appear on the front of the banknotes. The whole flag features on the reverse side.
The French Franc
The French Franc was the national currency of France before the introduction of the euro. The franc was also minted for many former French colonies such as Morocco, Algeria, and others. The franc as a currency was introduced by King John II in 1360. Francs were later minted under Henri III, Henry IV, Charles V. Later, the French Franc was introduced as a national currency in 1795 by the French Revolutionary Convention as a decimal currency. One franc was equal to 10 decimes, which were equal to 100 centimes. In January 1960, the French revalued the franc as 100 existing francs. The French franc remained the national currency of France until the introduction of the euro.
Design of Euro Coins and Banknotes
Euro is the single currency used in the countries of the European Union. The euro has 7 denominations of banknotes and 8 denominations of coins. The banknotes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, while the coins are 1, 2 euros and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents. The design of the euro banknotes was created by Robert Calina, nominated by the central Bank of Austira. The common design contains a lot of symbols connected with the European architectural heritage. On the front side of the banknotes dominate the images of windows, gates and arches as a symbol of the openness and the desire for cooperation. On the reverse side there are bridges of different periods – a symbol of communication between the European countries.