Facts About French Money

France currently uses the euro as its currency of choice, shown by this 10-euro bill.

French money has an interesting history with ties to royalty, war and politics. Many iterations of currency existed in the country before the franc became standard in the 14th century. Most recently, France joined the European Union and traded the franc for the euro, a powerful contemporary currency.

1 Early History of French Money

French society began to use coins at the start of the 5th century B.C. The Romans established a currency system around 118 B.C. Later, the money was based on a relationship between three different currencies. One livre was equal to twenty sous or 240 deniers. The Louis d'Or was introduced in 1720 and accompanied with several other currencies including the ecu, the livre tournois, the sol tournois and the liard. In the 1860s, France entered a currency agreement with Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. That relationship concluded in 1927 but was a a precursor to French currency before the euro.

2 14th Century France Currency Facts

The first coin to be called a franc appeared in 1360, during the Hundred Years' War. The conflict culminated in the release of King John from ransom and with the royal creating an ordinance which resulted in the franc d'or à cheval. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte helped to standardize the franc's coinage throughout the French empire. After the First World War the franc's value greatly diminished. In 1960, general Charles de Gaulle moved to significantly augment the currency's worth by issuing the "nouveau franc," which was worth 100 of the previous coins.

3 Currency Used After the Euro

France, alongside ten other European countries, formally transitioned into the euro as the primary French money on New Year's Day, 1999. This economic solidarity was meant to grant each individual country greater financial strength. By adopting the euro, countries become part of the European Union, an economy entity with a wealth matches that of the United States. Bills with the system vary in size with denominations available in units of five to 500 euros. Coins worth one or two euros are also minted.

4 Vocabulary For French Money Exchanges

Understanding rudimentary French words about currency and finance can support your endeavors when traveling there. Money is known as "l'argent" in French. "Billets" describe paper money, whereas French coins are called "des pièces." Checks are "chèques." Check the value of the euro compared to that of the dollar when regularly exchanging the currencies. Often, one euro is worth more than one dollar but less than one Great British pound.

Jeffrey Norman has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has been published in such journals as the "Leland Quarterly" and on the blog, An Apple A Day. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from Stanford University.